Why Should I Buy my ISP's Gateway?

GreyFox47

New Around Here
I currently rent a Technicolor Telephony (Docsis 3.1 gigabit) from Comcast, which supports internet (modem and router) and VOIP telephone service. My d/l to desktop via ethernet speeds are usually between 940-980 mb/s. Uploads vary but usually 40+ mb/s. Throughout the house, speeds are consistently higher than 450 mb/s over wireless. The house is a ranch of about 2500 sq ft. The basement, about 1000 sq ft is supported by an extender so speeds are about 1/2 of those being served by the telephony. In the garage, which is separated from the telephone by 4 walls, I see see 250-275 mb/s. The Comcast Telephony gateway rental is $14/mon. I used to own my own gateway, Docsis 3.0, which worked fine but only supported 12 (?) simultaneous connections. It's back in its box in a closet. When I bought the old gateway, it was about $200 so it paid for itself in less than 2 years considering Comcast's rental fee. Obviously, no one likes to pay rental fee for any box you can buy, but given the cost of a Docsis 3.1 modem that supports VOIP is $240 and add onto that a minimum mesh system supporting those speeds like a eero 6 3 pack at $280, the payout will be $560 including tax. Divide that by $14/mon and payback won't occur for approx 40 months and who knows what will be the going standard after that. The simple question after that dragged out introduction is, "why should I do the purchase?" I don't like paying the rent but I'd hate to be penny wise and pound foolish. I'd appreciate some advice and would I see the same speeds with the eero 6 that I see with my current Comcast configuration? Perhaps, there's something better that wouldn't break the bank.
 

hyelton

Senior Member
Do you live in an area that has data caps? If so keep the gateway.. Its cheaper to rent to get unlimated data than paying for unlimated data. If that matters to you.
 

GreyFox47

New Around Here
Our data cap is 1229GB. It's only my wife and I are the only users other than occasional guests. We have never topped 450GB in any month. How does it make any difference since the only cost variable I'm wrestling with is the $14/m to rent versus buying and spreading the cost over a period of time until the modem and router is paid off?
 

Piggie

Regular Contributor
I currently rent a Technicolor Telephony (Docsis 3.1 gigabit) from Comcast, which supports internet (modem and router) and VOIP telephone service. My d/l to desktop via ethernet speeds are usually between 940-980 mb/s. Uploads vary but usually 40+ mb/s. Throughout the house, speeds are consistently higher than 450 mb/s over wireless. The house is a ranch of about 2500 sq ft. The basement, about 1000 sq ft is supported by an extender so speeds are about 1/2 of those being served by the telephony. In the garage, which is separated from the telephone by 4 walls, I see see 250-275 mb/s. The Comcast Telephony gateway rental is $14/mon. I used to own my own gateway, Docsis 3.0, which worked fine but only supported 12 (?) simultaneous connections. It's back in its box in a closet. When I bought the old gateway, it was about $200 so it paid for itself in less than 2 years considering Comcast's rental fee. Obviously, no one likes to pay rental fee for any box you can buy, but given the cost of a Docsis 3.1 modem that supports VOIP is $240 and add onto that a minimum mesh system supporting those speeds like a eero 6 3 pack at $280, the payout will be $560 including tax. Divide that by $14/mon and payback won't occur for approx 40 months and who knows what will be the going standard after that. The simple question after that dragged out introduction is, "why should I do the purchase?" I don't like paying the rent but I'd hate to be penny wise and pound foolish. I'd appreciate some advice and would I see the same speeds with the eero 6 that I see with my current Comcast configuration? Perhaps, there's something better that wouldn't break the bank.

I'd say wait at least 6 months and see what's new. WiFi6e routers are just starting to roll out. Since they are just starting to roll out, I'd expect that standard will be around for a few years. I also would expect many WiFi6e routers will be tri-band routers.

But once WiFi 6e becomes readily available, it may be worth ditching Comcast's gateway. A few months ago, I tried the Xfinity's XB7 ( Xfinity's WiFi 6 gateway) to get Comcast's unlimited data. It was cheaper using the XB7 than purchasing a stand alone unlimited plan. ($25 for renting XB7 with unlimited data versus $30 just for unlimited data). I read many good things about the XB7 but after trying it for one month, I ended up returning it and using my own gear.

The primary decision for switching back to my own gear was stability. I've used various ASUS routers paired with cable modems for more than 10 years and haven't had any significant issues with them -- (Except for an occasional firmware upgrade that didn't quite work correctly) During peak hours, I can have more than 70 clients connected to my system. With the XB7, some clients had problems accessing some websites, and Zoom/Team calls for some clients would occasionally cut out. The XB7's wireless range also was not as good as my Asus router. I would need to have one XB7 and at least one Xpod (Xfinity range mesh system), to cover the same area as one AX92u. Comcast charges an additional $120 for each Xpod. XB7 also didn't have the same functions as my Asus router -- such as OpenVPN, traffic analyzer, Let's Encrypt, etc. In terms of wired speeds, the XB7 was comparable to my ASUS router. However, wireless speeds were much more stable and stronger on my ASUS router.

I believe you're looking at the right price range for a good modem/voice and router -- you're looking at $550 price range. (There are some modem/router/voice combos but it sounds like you want the flexibility of a separate modem and router combo -- so for the purposes of this comparison, I will go with a separate good modem and router.) To reduce the costs, there also are other alternatives. For instance, both Ooma and Obi offer very inexpensive VOIP alternatives. I use Obi and google voice, I don't have a monthly fee. It was a one time $35 cost to purchase Obi. Obi uses an ethernet connection - and the phone connects to Obi with a regular phone line. Since I use Obi, I don't need a modem that has voice jack. So rather than spending $240 for a modem with a phone jack, I use a regular docsis 3.1 cable modem for less than $140 (Netgear CM1100). Using your figures above, that would save you an additional $100. Also, by removing voice from Comcast package, you would save around $25 each month. So if you ditch the voice from your Comcast package and you ditch the gateway, you're saving $39 each month ($14 for rental and $25 for phone service). You've also reduced your upfront cost for the modem by $100 -- but you need to spend $35 for VOIP adapter such as Obi -- so the net is $65.

So purchasing a good modem, router, VOIP adapter would run around $485 and you'd be saving $39 each month ($14 for gateway and $25 for dropping phone). So now the payout is around a year.
 

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