For those of us who use Cable Internet, there’s a little known fact that many people should know. You can supply your own cable modem and it’ll end up saving you money in the long run. For one thing, carriers charge you $5.00 per month for the cable modem “rental”, but it doesn’t stop there. That $5.00 is taxed as well. They usually supply an inferior product comparatively to what you can get yourself.
Many of us don’t really want the cable modem to serve as a NAT router for us. This can cause us problems if we’re running our own firewall or voip services. You don’t want to “double-nat” for one and trying to get the cable-co to change the modem to a bridged configuration is usually something they’re unwilling to do.
The only thing is there are a few modems out there to buy. The good thing is that as long as you buy a DOCSIS 3.0 modem you’re not going to be left in the dust. The reality is you want to choose a modem that will allow you to expand your speed as the cable-cos give you more speed. You want your IP address on you WAN interface of your firewall (like pfSense) directly rather than another NATTED address. You’ll also get much faster throughput and be able to do things like QoS that won’t be lost in translation if your ISP supports it.
Another advantage is privacy. You don’t know what kind of information your carrier is collecting considering they control the modem (and thus have the ability to see the inside of your network as well. Buying and supplying your own modem prevents this.
There are two modems I recommend wholeheartedly:
For the power-user that wants to be completely future proof, the Motorola SB6120. This modem is capable of 300 Mbps. Not a bad little device, huh? Take it with you when you move and you’ll pretty much have this for the rest of your days. As internet speeds increase, you won’t be capped out. While the 6120 isn’t a cheap buy, for the power-user, it’s an amazing device.
For those of us who don’t have that kind of budget, consider the Motorola SB6121. It tops out at 100 Mbps, but it will still outperform anything your provider will give you and help you to avoid the double-nat problem.
Once you receive it, just call the Internet Service Provider and tell them you’d like to switch your modem out. Read them your MAC address on the new modem and you’re up and running within 5 minutes.
If you do the math, you’ll realize the modem pays for itself in 1-2 years. You’ll also notice your Internet speed go up just a bit while latency goes down.