Cable Modem and Router Questions

MichiganPC

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My thought was to purchase my own cable modem instead of the monthly rental from Xfinity/Comcast. I'm looking for reasonable ROI. I don't need wifi built in as I already have an AP I can use. However eliminating wi-fi from the modem/router doesn't seem to really save much, supply and demand perhaps.

What would you suggest for a modem & router or combo unit? Something with a good firewall to protect and manage my home network.
 

Gavv

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I am in the camp of buy your own separate units.

For modems Motorola has served me well. However see what’s available to use on the approved modem list from your provider. Read some reviews. Know some are going to be bogus in that people mark down for shipping (as an example) when it has nothing to do with the modem.

Is your access point a router set to an access point? I have no preference on this as currently I want to start over on my network. I don’t have a pfsense box or a good switch / router solution. I am still using an Asus 66u. As it serves a purpose it will get an upgrade at some point.
 

GotNoRice

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Pick up an Arris SB8200. DOCSIS 3.1 and built like a brick.

For modems Motorola has served me well.

Just keep in mind that the Motorola brand name has been passed around like a $2 whore. Arris (and General Instrument before Arris bought them) is the company that made the awesome Motorola Surfboard modems. This was done with a licensing agreement to use the Motorola name. That expired, and the Motorola brand was sold off to Zoom. The new Zoom modems are mediocre at best, and have ZERO shared lineage with the older Motorola Surfboard Modems most people have had good experiences with. Arris sells modems under their own name now.
 

Gavv

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Thanks didn’t know this, mainly because my surfboard works so well I never think of it.
 

MichiganPC

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I am in the camp of buy your own separate units.

For modems Motorola has served me well. However see what’s available to use on the approved modem list from your provider. Read some reviews. Know some are going to be bogus in that people mark down for shipping (as an example) when it has nothing to do with the modem.

Is your access point a router set to an access point? I have no preference on this as currently I want to start over on my network. I don’t have a pfsense box or a good switch / router solution. I am still using an Asus 66u. As it serves a purpose it will get an upgrade at some point.
Yes ironically my AP is an AC66U running in AP mode.

The 66U is fine as an AP. What would you use for a router/firewall. I'm thinking something better suited more upto date for managing my network.
 
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Gavv

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Yes ironically my AP is an AC66U running in AP mode.

The 66U is fine as an AP. What would you use for a router/firewall. I'm thinking something better suited more upto date for managing my network.

I was thinking of building a pfsense box to start. I was looking at ubiquity until I started reading this subforum a week or so ago. The cloud stuff bothers me and so does how they treat their base.

Right now I am researching everything. Part of me says screw it and do what I have always done, just by a consumer router as it’s never been an issue. The other part want to learn and play a bit.

So for now I am in research mode. So no recommendations from me at this point but will definitely research any that are given.
 

Grebuloner

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If you don't have any special needs or don't want/need to do anything extra fancy with your network, a consumer router is going to work just fine, even your existing one in router mode.

I've been using pfsense on a homebuilt system for several years. I like to manage everything, have a better firewall, high performance VPN and adblocking in my router. pfsense runs great on old hardware so you don't have to break the bank (use Intel NICs, VPNs require CPUs with AES-NI), or you can buy hardware direct from Netgate. It is an adventure to set up (walkthrough guides are available, but it still takes time) and get to your liking, but once it's going, it's very reliable and low maintenance, even has autobackups. A separate switch is also needed as the first device on the network.
 

Smoblikat

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PFsense is alright, but very clunky compared to an actual routing appliance. Take a peek on ebay for Fortigate 60D or Fortiwifi 60D. I bought a fortiwifi off a member here for a good price (been using it ever since), and my roommate just picked up a fortigate for about $50 shipped on ebay. You woukld just need to provide your own modem (same as pfsense).
 

vegeta535

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Always buy your own. Also make sure they actually remove the rental fee after returning it.
 

pek

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Have my own SBG-8300 w/comcast. Just keep you eyes out for them disabling your modem in the middle of the night without warning, and enabling your old modem. Lucky I had my old modem (went from DOCSIS 3.0 to 3.1, so had my old one handy) so I wasn't down for a week waiting for the tech to come out and tell me that my old modem was enabled instead of my new one that I'd had on-line for over 6 months by that time. I do have 460-470 Mbits/sec with the new one.
 

Eulogy

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1) Buy this: https://www.pcengines.ch/apu2.htm
2) Buy this: https://www.pcengines.ch/msata16g.htm
3) Buy this: https://www.pcengines.ch/case1d2bluu.htm

Put it all together (I power mine off PoE from one of my switches, you can do that or a normal power adapter).

Connect serial console for OS install (stupid easy to do). Connect network cables to network infra.

Install + Configure pFsense. Then go through and config it. Ta daa, all done.

Only draw back to this is the PCEngines boxes won't do line rate for 1Gbps. Best I've gotten mine up to is ~700Mbps down.
 

SamirD

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I've got 4 different sites I have to manage and deal with 3 different isps with comcast being one of them. With comcast, it really depends on the plan you have. We're still using the sb6190 that we started with even though it's now no longer supported for 1Gbps service even though it was in the past (planned obsolescence at its finest). Ours still works with the 600/15 plan that it is on. (We also have a second sb6190 with WOW 500/50 at the other end of an IPsec vpn tunnel nailed up between the comcast and wow connection--amazingly stable modems despite all the fake news about their supposed bugs.)

Depending on your plan, pick an older modem that is supported and buy it used from an individual as it will be 1/2 the price, and usually it will be in great condition as someone is typically moving and won't need it at their new location since they can't use it with their new isp. Our wow sb6190 is a used one that we got for 1/2 the cost of the comcast sb6190 which was bought new.

As far as router, if you've been happy with consumer, I'd just stick with that. But if you want to dive into the real stuff, getting a fortigate 60D will be more than intriguing and if you ever want to do more like ipsec vpn tunnels, utm, etc, you've got a real piece of hardware that is made to do it. I've also seen brand new fortigates in the cdw outlet for ridiculously cheap prices in the past:
https://www.cdw.com/search/Networki...WOutlet-_-Search-_-Search+All&SortBy=PriceAsc

You'll also see some watchguard stuff in there at great prices and that's how we ended up with ours. The watchguards are pretty easy to configure and are just as powerful. Ours handles 2 isps, a couple of IPsec vpn tunnels and doesn't even use any cpu or memory doing so. The watchguards and fortigates continue to work without support (I believe the fortigates do), but any features that are key based will stop working once support for that feature has expired (just as expected). Even without support in the barest stock form, both are a serious router. Even if all you do is end up using them the same way as a consumer one, because the configuration is a little more complex even for simple stuff, you are forced to learn a lot more about routing and the capabilities of these are infinite compared to a consumer router with limits (even the ugly expensive spider MFs). You will need a separate wifi ap, but that's the way it should be anyways imo.
 

Grebuloner

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We're still using the sb6190 that we started with even though it's now no longer supported for 1Gbps service even though it was in the past (planned obsolescence at its finest). Ours still works with the 600/15 plan that it is on. (We also have a second sb6190 with WOW 500/50 at the other end of an IPsec vpn tunnel nailed up between the comcast and wow connection--amazingly stable modems despite all the fake news about their supposed bugs.)
The 6190's failure reputation was well earned early on, but they did manage to correct the problem and they have been a solid choice in Docsis 3.0 for some time, now. I have a dusty one that didn't even hiccup at 95F ambient temps. (Though it is time to age it out and upgrade to a 3.1-supporting modem).
The watchguards and fortigates continue to work without support (I believe the fortigates do), but any features that are key based will stop working once support for that feature has expired (just as expected).
This is what I like about pfSense. It's open source, perpetual, and always free. There are even free tier licenses (3rd parties) for many of the security addons that in most cases are just a little behind the expensive paid subscriptions. The only stuff that is removed has been deprecated for good reason and has a replacement option available.
 

SamirD

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The 6190's failure reputation was well earned early on, but they did manage to correct the problem and they have been a solid choice in Docsis 3.0 for some time, now. I have a dusty one that didn't even hiccup at 95F ambient temps. (Though it is time to age it out and upgrade to a 3.1-supporting modem).

This is what I like about pfSense. It's open source, perpetual, and always free. There are even free tier licenses (3rd parties) for many of the security addons that in most cases are just a little behind the expensive paid subscriptions. The only stuff that is removed has been deprecated for good reason and has a replacement option available.
Yep, and even early on it wasn't an issue ime as our comcast one was brand new and just around the time the 8200 was released. I got it from best buy and then after setting it up decided to look at reviews, issues, etc even though ours was working perfect and was shocked to see all the carnage online. I ran the dslreports puma test and the modem failed--omg, full terror. Then I put the xfinity modem back in place and it failed too. :ROFLMAO: It seems the test was hyper sensitive to ANY traffic on the link. Once I paired it down to just the xfinity modem or the sb6190 and one system direct into it, the test passed with flying colors. Plus, I've been using these to rdp across an ipsec vpn tunnel so if there's any lag, I would feel it instantly as I type >60wpm (usually spiking to 140), but the only times I've ever had an issue is when there was an isp issue. People were dumping the sb6190 because of the bad mouthing on the net and I picked up a second one for 1/2 new that was basically open box new since the buyer was just scared to use it and bought it and then shelved it after just trying it. That one was purchased for a higher speed line we got installed from WOW that allowed your own modem. And ironically, it is this sb6190 that tunnels to the other sb6190 across thousands of miles. And no hiccups even when the WOW one was in >100F with high humidity for over 2 years when an ac unit failed. I hate how the sb6190 got such a bad rep for nothing and try to defend them when the 'puma people' come out of the woodwork. They end up being a bargain because of their capability and the puma scare. If comcast wasn't depreciating them, I'd still be recommending them, especially since ours is still supported on all plans except gig at comcast and I believe it is still supported for gig on wow (we need the upload bandwidth and it's the same with gig, so we just got the slower plan).

I considered pfsense when I was originally building out the network from literally scraps of hardware, but it was too demanding and didn't support ipsec vpn tunnels at the time. Today, with the netgate implementations of it and various forks out there, it's a solid bit of kit if you want to dive into it. The other one that's free and pretty neat is sophos which also allows you to 'roll your own' for home usage.
 

TheSlySyl

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I also had a 6190 that worked amazing until we upgraded to 1gbps and they wouldn't let us keep it. So we're now on an SB8200 and our 1GB has been rock solid.

Combination of fear and stability problems in the past due to stupid high ambient temps has led me to keeping my 6190/8200 like this:
1627545974796.png

Unnecessary? Maybe. Has it caused any problems? Not at all.

I also keep my silly spider router with one too:
1627546046704.png


Usb to fan adapters. The low voltage keeps the fans at a really low RPM but anything is better than ambient. (It did make a noticeable difference with the AC-5300. I have a lot going on with my network...)

I stick to Asus routers these days because AImesh is just so easy to use and so convenient, with my next upgrade i'm gonna be putting this as just another node and hopefully it'll cover my whole yard. Also I'm quite the fan of Merlin-WRT.
 
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Zepher

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I also had a 6190 that worked amazing until we upgraded to 1gbps and they wouldn't let us keep it. So we're now on an SB8200 and our 1GB has been rock solid.

Combination of fear and stability problems in the past due to stupid high ambient temps has led me to keeping my 6190/8200 like this:
View attachment 379483
Unnecessary? Maybe. Has it caused any problems? Not at all.

I also keep my silly spider modem with one too:
View attachment 379484

Usb to fan adapters. The low voltage keeps the fans at a really low RPM but anything is better than ambient. (It did make a noticeable difference with the AT-5300. I have a lot going on with my network...)

I stick to Asus routers these days because AImesh is just so easy to use and so convenient, with my next upgrade i'm gonna be putting this as just another node and hopefully it'll cover my whole yard. Also I'm quite the fan of Merlin-WRT.
How high is your ambient temp?
My gear is in my bedroom with an ambient temp of 82* right now, ranges from 79-90, so it's quite toasty sometimes.
I am using the Cox Panarama Gigabit modem/router hooked to a Qnap 2.5GbE and Linksys Gigabit switches with no issues with WiFi or ethernet speeds.
 

TheSlySyl

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We don't have whole house AC and the networking closet, being a closet in the hallway, isn't located anywhere near a room with a personal unit.

Having some airflow in there is a hell of a lot better than it was, as things previously just kept on cooking with no airflow.

I do a lot on my network, 40+ devices active, tons of full 1gbps transfers going on, etc. The switches are fine, (I have every room hardwired to Ethernet by a switch also in this closet.) it's the WiFi router that seems to start by burning up. I think its either a design flaw of the router, or maybe the custom firmware allows it to clock higher than it normally would.
 

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SamirD

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I also had a 6190 that worked amazing until we upgraded to 1gbps and they wouldn't let us keep it. So we're now on an SB8200 and our 1GB has been rock solid.

Combination of fear and stability problems in the past due to stupid high ambient temps has led me to keeping my 6190/8200 like this:
View attachment 379483
Unnecessary? Maybe. Has it caused any problems? Not at all.

I also keep my silly spider modem with one too:
View attachment 379484

Usb to fan adapters. The low voltage keeps the fans at a really low RPM but anything is better than ambient. (It did make a noticeable difference with the AT-5300. I have a lot going on with my network...)

I stick to Asus routers these days because AImesh is just so easy to use and so convenient, with my next upgrade i'm gonna be putting this as just another node and hopefully it'll cover my whole yard. Also I'm quite the fan of Merlin-WRT.
I too recently added a fan for the wow sb6190 since it is in brutal conditions all the time, but I did it the old fashioned way--table fan pointing at it. :D
 

GotNoRice

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Combination of fear and stability problems in the past due to stupid high ambient temps has led me to keeping my 6190/8200 like this:

I can't speak for the reliability of the SB6190, which uses the infamous and somewhat problematic Intel Puma chipset, but the SB6183 and the SB8200 both use a Broadcom chipset and have no issues with high ambient temperatures.

I'm in a somewhat unique situation where I am on a large property and the house is pretty far from the road (very long driveway). When we subscribed to Cable internet, they weren't willing to run Coax Cable all the way from the street to the house. As a compromise, we have a small shack that is much closer to the street. We got them to run Coax to the shack, and now the modem lives in there. I run my own Cat6 the extra ~100 yards from the shack to the house. So this modem sits all day and night in this stuffy little shack. During the summer it cooks in there big time. During this heat-wave ambient temperatures inside the shack have exceeded 140F. Conversely, during the winter it often has to deal with temperatures below freezing. The SB8200 has been trucking along in these conditions for years now, and my SB6183 before that also lasted for years before it got taken out by a lightning strike. So if you are worried about the kind of warm ambient temperatures you might encounter in a normal house, you shouldn't be.
 
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SamirD

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I can't speak for the reliability of the SB6190, which uses the infamous and somewhat problematic Intel Puma chipset, but the SB6183 and the SB8200 both use a Broadcom chipset and have no issues with high ambient temperatures.

I'm in a somewhat unique situation where I am on a large property and the house is pretty far from the road (very long driveway). When we subscribed to Cable internet, they weren't willing to run Coax Cable all the way from the street to the house. As a compromise, we have a small shack that is much closer to the street. We got them to run Coax to the shack, and now the modem lives in there. I run my own Cat6 the extra 300yards from the shack to the house. So this modem sits all day and night in this stuffy little shack. During the summer it cooks in there big time. During this heat-wave ambient temperatures inside the shack have exceeded 140F. Conversely, during the winter it often has to deal with temperatures below freezing. The SB8200 has been trucking along in these conditions for years now, and my SB6183 before that also lasted for years before it got taken out by a lightning strike. So if you are worried about the kind of warm ambient temperatures you might encounter in a normal house, you shouldn't be.
And that first statement is fake news--while the sb6190 does use the Intel Puma chipset, the problems are far overstated. All of the sb6xxx series are rock solid performers in general.

That's some solid temps! I think you did better testing than Arris even did! :eek: What's the humidity in that environment? That also plays a factor and I would be curious as my sb6190 is basically in 50% humidity or greater when >100F.
 

GotNoRice

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That's some solid temps! I think you did better testing than Arris even did! :eek: What's the humidity in that environment? That also plays a factor and I would be curious as my sb6190 is basically in 50% humidity or greater when >100F.

We are usually between 20-30% humidity during the summer, so not desert dry, but pretty dry.
 

philb2

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Dumb question, maybe. I have a Netgear Nighthhawk. How do I measure the temp inside the router?
 

GotNoRice

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Dumb question, maybe. I have a Netgear Nighthhawk. How do I measure the temp inside the router?

Well what is the goal of your measurement? What are you trying to measure exactly? Some routers will show you the CPU temperature on the status page. Otherwise you could simply take a regular thermometer and leave it right underneath or above the router for a while. But whatever you measure is not going to be very helpful without context.
 

Ranulfo

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Modem wise I'd look at the Arris SB8200 or the Netgear CM1100 (or its voip model as well). Costco usually has the 1100 in store and their website.

And you'd have to pay me to use an Intel cable modem these days. 6190 or the newer Puma chipset that supposedly works fine.
 

TheSlySyl

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Dumb question, maybe. I have a Netgear Nighthhawk. How do I measure the temp inside the router?
My Asus AT-5300 router has a temperature tab in its GUI. Not sure how it works for the nighthawk.
1627825544968.png

Note: This is the temp at 7 AM when its cold and probably a mostly "idle" router, also it only graphs temps when you're actively looking at this page.
 

SamirD

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Modem wise I'd look at the Arris SB8200 or the Netgear CM1100 (or its voip model as well). Costco usually has the 1100 in store and their website.

And you'd have to pay me to use an Intel cable modem these days. 6190 or the newer Puma chipset that supposedly works fine.
Funny as I've read a lot of problems with Netgear cable modems and our 6190s keep working perfectly fine...
 

pek

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Have my own SBG-8300 w/comcast. Just keep you eyes out for them disabling your modem in the middle of the night without warning, and enabling your old modem. Lucky I had my old modem (went from DOCSIS 3.0 to 3.1, so had my old one handy) so I wasn't down for a week waiting for the tech to come out and tell me that my old modem was enabled instead of my new one that I'd had on-line for over 6 months by that time. I do have 460-470 Mbits/sec with the new one.
This, for the SB8200. And, I get my modem disabled about once/month, trying to get this escalated so it doesn't keep happening and forcing my call. At least I can short-circuit they use when I tell them it's 99.9% most likely disabled by their system.
 
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