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CuriousJ's avatar

Wi-Fi Modem vs. modem + router

I seem to recall hearing that the combo wi-fi modems were not as good as having two boxes: a modem and a router. Can anyone comment on this? I'm going to buy new equipment and want to get it right. Cox currently rents a combo Ubee box. Should I buy one of those? Thanks!

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  • AllenP's avatar
    Valued Contributor

    I always recommend a separate modem and router.  The gateways Cox sells/rents are dumbed down for ease of support.  As has been said here, gateways are for customers who want to plug in a device and have Cox support everything, including their WiFi connection.  If you are not at all technical, the gateway may be a good option.  The pros for separate units are:
    - Some more advanced functions available with a router are disabled in a gateway.
    - You can update the firmware for a separate router when released by the manufacturer.  With a gateway, Cox updates the firmware after they approve it, which means you may never get firmware updates released by the manufacturer.
    - Can be more difficult to isolate problems since with a gateway you can't separate the modem function from the router.
    - If you want to upgrade, you can upgrade just the modem or just the router.  No need to replace both.

    A good choice is the Arris SB6183 (16x4) or SB6190 (32x8) modem, both Cox approved up to Ultimate paired with a Netgear Night or Asus "ac" router.

  • grymwulf's avatar
    Contributor II

    I prefer separate, that way if one fails, I only need to replace the one. Plus it allows me more customization for my network, I'm not tied into a particular vendor and/or setup. The corresponding offset to this is that Cox won't be able to support/troubleshoot any wifi issues unless you rent your gateway (combo modem & router) from them.

    The other thing is, is that having a separate router allows you to place the router for better reception.  Overall I recommend separate devices, but your mileage may vary.