Spectrum Router Options Explained

Should I rent a wireless router, modem, or gateway from Spectrum… or buy it myself?

Wireless Router: Renting vs. Buying

If you recently signed up for new internet with Charter Spectrum, you might have read about different pieces of technology like the wireless router, modem, or gateway and now you’re wondering whether you should buy it yourself. 

We take a deep dive into whether or not this is worth it.

I’m signed up for Charter Spectrum service, what equipment do I need for internet?

Charter Spectrum requires a pre-configured WiFi router and modem which they supply to all new customers. (Unfortunately this doesn’t mean it’s free! See below)

What’s the difference between a router and a modem? Do I need both? What is a wireless gateway?

The modem and router are separate technologies, although many people are unaware of this seeing as internet providers typically give a single combo device to customers. The modem is what connects your home network to the outside world of the internet and the router is what lets devices on your home network talk to one another. A gateway (also a “combo”) is a newer term used for when the modem and router are combined. 

Can I rent a router/modem from Charter Spectrum?

Whether you are signing up for a new service or you are simply changing your plan, your internet provider will typically send you a router and modem from the company which you then rent on a monthly basis from them.

How much does it (typically) cost to rent a router/modem from Charter Spectrum?

Charter Spectrum only charges $5 per month for their equipment. 

Is it a good deal to rent a router/modem from Charter Spectrum?

This depends entirely on how long you will use the company for your internet, and your level of comfort when it comes to handling Tech issues on your own. Charter values their equipment at $200, based on the cost if you fail to return the equipment when you cancel. Based on this valuation, this means that if you use Charter Spectrum for 40 months, you will have paid the amount in monthly rental fees as the equipment costs to own.

What other options do I have? 

If you don’t want to use their equipment, you can always buy your own router and modem.

What should I know about buying a modem?


You need to make sure firstly that the modem you buy is compatible with Charter Spectrum. They have a resource page to check compatibility online. If you purchase a device that is incompatible, you won’t be able to use it with your internet connection and you will have to purchase a new device. 

Tech service

If you buy your own modem, you won’t be able to rely on Charter Spectrum customer service or tech support for any issues down the line. You will have to handle all of these technological problems on your own.

Voice service

You can’t get Charter Spectrum voice service if you use your own router and modem. 

Where can I find out about which modem to buy?

Remember that you can buy your own modem and router at any time. So even if you have spent over two years under contract with your internet provider paying a rental fee, you can work with them to find a row modem and router or combo that you can purchase yourself and use as a replacement. It’s important that you do some research and not just in your area but in terms of compatibility. There are plenty of good review sites that you can use. 

I’m having issues with Spectrum equipment return, what should I do?

Don’t let big companies push you around. You have every right to invest in your own modem and router and if you choose to do so, you might face bogus equipment return fees or other problems when trying to get the rented equipment back in the hands of your internet provider. 

If that’s happening to you, we want to know…

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