It is easy to get confused even about the basic terms when you are setting up your home network. It is one thing to be familiar with the names of common pieces of hardware used to get connected to the Internet. But it is an entirely different thing to be familiar with their features. Knowing about the latter can help us in deciding which one to buy.
So, let’s explore these terms in detail.
What Is a Modem?
A modem is basically a modulator and a demodulator. It is an electrical signal that employs a broadband connection to connect your device to the Internet. It receives analog signals from an Internet service provider and converts them to digital signals before sending them to your device. As it has only one port, it can connect to only one device at a time.
What Is a Router?
A router’s main responsibility is to transmit the Internet signals provided by the modem to all the required devices like a computer, a TV or Spectrum Mobile Phone. It does so by directly connecting the modem to all the devices with the same network. Routers can get connected to the modems both wirelessly and with wires.
Can a Modem Be Enough on Its Own?
Yes, a modem is enough for you if you want to connect only one device to the Internet. But if you have multiple devices to be connected, a Spectrum modem or router would not be enough on its own.
What Is a Gateway?
It is a piece of hardware that has both the technologies of modem and router. It is also called a gateway modem or gateway router. It is easy to set up and requires very little space. You can either buy or rent it directly from your Internet service provider.
Buying vs Renting
Your Internet service provider can give you the option of buying or renting equipment when you subscribe to a service.
Benefits of Renting
- You can return the device any time you want
- You can easily contact your ISP if there’s a problem
Benefits of Buying
- It is a cheaper option than renting
- No problem with configurations
- Reliable devices
- More features
So, it is clear that the benefits of buying outweigh those of renting. So, it is better to purchase your own equipment.
Benefits of Gateway
Gateway incorporates the features of two devices in a single piece of hardware. Below are some of the most attractive benefits of using a gateway.
Affordable and Convenient
If you get a separate modem and router for your Spectrum home WiFi, it is going to be much more expensive than a gateway option. So, it is better to opt for a single device at a cheaper cost.
Easy to Set up
If you haven’t opted for advanced router settings, then it can be very easy for you to set up a gateway. You can easily connect a few wires by following instructions even if you are a layman.
Takes Less Space
As you have to set up only a single device, it is very convenient to do so with a few cables. It also takes much lesser space than a separate modem and router.
Updates Are Company-Controlled
By giving up control to your ISP, you can rely on them to install the latest software rather than worrying about it yourself. You can then contact Spectrum Customer Support to give feedback so that the company can push firmware for your device.
Easy to Access Customer Support
Because your ISP has provided you the gateway, it also takes the responsibility of providing you timely customer support.
Depending on your ISP, you can also get additional features on your device.
It can be very difficult to upgrade the software since it is under the control of your ISP.
If it gets broken, you’ll have to pay more than paying for a separate router or modem, to get a new one.
Limited Security Features
Since it is provided by your ISP, it is not necessarily the best option in terms of security features.
Benefits of Separate Modem and Router
Easy Upgrade Option
Since a router can get advanced really fast, it is better to opt for a standalone router and modem. You’ll be able to easily upgrade the router without having to discard the modem.
Better Placement Option
If you have a separate modem and router, you can easily place the router at the desired place. These two don’t have to be close to each other. In this way, you can get better Internet signals within your home.
More Control in Your Hand
You don’t have to depend on your ISP for help or software updates. So, you can easily update the router any way you want.
Easier to Replace
It is much more affordable to replace a separate modem or a router than a gateway.
Messy Set up
Two devices can take up a lot of space and installing them one by one can get messy with a lot of wires hanging around.
It is a difficult process to install both of your devices. You may have to hire a technician to do this.
Separate Modem and Router vs Gateway
Overall, the advantages of the separate option outweigh the advantages of the gateway one. This s because a separate modem and router offer you more flexibility and convenience. But if it is more convenient for you to get the gateway from your ISP, then you can opt for this option as well.