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"modem tree" or "modem tier" and reactivating old gateway

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"modem tree" or "modem tier" and reactivating old gateway

"modem tree" or "modem tier"

Scenario: Received new gateway which was activated by the rep at the Xfinity retail store. By activating a new gateway (modem/router) I'm presuming the old gateway will lose its internet connection but as a router will still broadcast it's SSID if still powered on.

Anyway, I then go about accidentally disconnecting and replacing a video box (X1Gv4) with the new gateway (disconnecting the coax cable from the "in" on the X1GV4 and connecting that coax to the "in" of the xFi gateway XB7 (aka CGM4331COM.) I feel stupid, but mind you I wasn't working on a familiar setup, I'd never seen the X1Gv4, I was dark, and my phone was dead (so no flashlight and no resources to confirm model numbers)--so I gambled that I was replacing the modem, not a TV box. I didn't get a chance to test it that night. Anyway, the next day with sufficient lighting, I realized my mistake and reconnected the coax into the X1Gv4 and set the XB7 aside (powered on, persisting to broadcast it's SSID) since I was unable to find the modem to be replaced. (This is in a humongous house with various boxes scattered everywhere--from range extenders and several wired switches/hubs/routers to security system components to a circus of audio/video boxes.) I suggested to the owner (my step-father) that he reactivate his old modem with Xfinity for the internet until I could locate it in the house. He refused to reactivate the old modem which I believed would restore services to the rest of his devices around the house. A bit disgruntled with me, my step-father told me to keep my hands off of the equipment and called in the heavies...his ordained "IT" guy.

Within hours, all the systems once again were operational after the new modem was installed. I asked my stepfather what the tech did and replied, "By Xfinity activating the new modem, it took top tier over the old modem and all signals were being sent through the new modem (powered on but not connected via coax for internet)--if we reactivated the old modem (who's coax internet was never disconnected) it would not have worked and still was second tier in the "tree" to the new modem."

Does this make sense?

"Top tier?"

Wouldn't reactivating the old modem restore internet access since neither the power nor coax was unplugged? Wouldn't most of his other components resume operation if the old modem was reactivated?

"Second tier in the tree to the new modem?" What could that mean?