The 10 Best Modems For Time Warner & Spectrum
The Pros and Cons of Owning Your Own Cable Modem
As with owning a car, you are responsible for finding a mechanic and you are responsible for footing the bill.
However, if setup properly, a new modem that meets your cable provider's requirements should last at least a good three years before showing any signs of wear and tear.
With Time Warner Cable charging $8 per month and Comcast charging $10 per month to rent a TWC- or Comcast-approved modem, it comes as no surprise that owning your own modem can save you hundreds of dollars by the end of its third year of use, making everything you save after that just icing on the cake.
That said, there is much more to owning your own cable modem than just saving money. As with owning your own house or car or computer, there are advantages as well as disadvantages.
When you purchase a new modem, you know how old it is. This is rarely the case when you rent from your cable provider. When you rent a modem, there is no way of knowing how many other customers used and abused it before canceling service and sending it back. Indeed, there is a pretty good chance that whatever modem your cable provider sends you is more than just a few years old. It may have even been punched or kicked a few times by angry or frustrated customers when it wasn't working properly.
On the downside, you no longer have the option of asking your service provider to send over technical support to help you with your network settings or to diagnose any problems you might be having. As with owning a car, you are responsible for finding a mechanic and you are responsible for footing the bill.
However, if setup properly, a new modem that meets your cable provider's requirements should last at least a good three years before showing any signs of wear and tear. And after three years, you will have saved enough money avoiding rental fees to purchase up to three additional modems.
It may seem a bit difficult at first figuring out how to setup your wireless network and password, but in the end everything pays for itself.
Choosing the Right Cable Modem for You
The key to choosing a cable modem is making sure that it supports whatever download speed your particular plan provides. Time Warner Cable, for example, currently offers internet plans with download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 50Mbps. What this means is that while there are indeed modems capable of supporting download speeds of well over 600Mbps, not even Time Warner Cable's fastest internet plan is going to allow you to use such modems to their fullest potential.
This is due to many factors, not the least of which includes other electronic appliances and devices, such as a pair of Bluetooth headphones or a 2.4GHz radio control car.
Some of those modems do, however, have built-in routers that will, of course, allow multiple computers on a local area network to send data back and forth at breakneck speeds, but if you're like me and all you own is a single computer and all your data comes directly from the internet as opposed to other computers within your vicinity, then owning such a modem is what you might call overkill.
However, considering most people today prefer to avoid Ethernet in favor of WiFi, it is important to keep in mind that your new modem's built-in router may only be half or a third as fast as you think it is. This is due to many factors, not the least of which includes other electronic appliances and devices, such as a pair of Bluetooth headphones or a 2.4GHz radio control car.
In other words, if you plan to go wireless with an internet plan that has a maximum download speed of 50Mbps, you don't want to buy a 60Mbps cable modem because the best you are going to get out of it, if you are lucky, is about 30Mbps, leaving you paying for download speeds you will never get to experience. So while a 600Mbps modem may seem like overkill, a 300Mbps modem will ensure that you will always get the 50Mbps download speeds you are paying for regardless of how many friends are playing with their smartphones while hanging out at your place watching movies stream on Netflix.
The First Step to Ensuring Your New Modem Works
Before doing anything else, contact your internet service provider for a full list of compatible modems. Not all modems work with all types of service. For example, if you are using Time Warner Cable, you will want to steer clear of DSL modems regardless of whether or not they best fit your personal budget.
All of the modems featured in our list are compatible with Time Warner Cable.
Most modems connect directly to your computer's Ethernet card, in which case the only driver you need to worry about is the driver for that card.
Next, you will want to make sure that your modem of choice is also compatible with your computer's operating system. Most modems connect directly to your computer's Ethernet card, in which case the only driver you need to worry about is the driver for that card. However, some modems connect via WiFi or USB, in which case you will need to install the driver included with your new modem.
Regardless of whether or not you need to install new drivers for your new modem, it is always good practice to check your computer for any old drivers that you no longer require, and which may be incompatible with any new drivers that you install, and promptly remove them. Once you've done that, you're free to install your new modem.
Thus, the first step to ensuring your new modem works is not only to make sure you purchase one that is compatible with your internet service, but to remove any and all signs of your old modem from every device you intend to connect to the new one.