Should I rent a wireless router, modem, or gateway from Xfinity… or buy it myself?
Comcast Xfinity explains that you will need a moden and router, or a combination, and possibly a wifi adaptor depending on your needs.
Yes, you need both. When you get equipment from Comcast Xfinity, you usually get what is called a combo or wireless gateway, which just means that single, tall device is both a router and a modem. However, the router is what enables all of your devices to speak to one another, regardless of internet connection, and the modem is what connects your home network to the internet.
It is assumed when you sign up with Comcast Infinity that you will in fact rent a router and modem from them. They automatically send this to you and they make it part of your monthly plan. The estimated total monthly cost includes a rental fee for this equipment (though it may not be included in the advertised price of a promo — be careful!)
If you’re not looking to use this equipment and pay every month, then when you sign up or when you receive the equipment you’ll have to look for the way to avoid hanging onto it (and paying).
Comcast charges $14 per month for the rental fee.
By comparison, a Netgear router averages, on the market, about $110 total or $150 for a combo. So you could easily spend $150 up front and get a reliable combo, which amounts to just over 11 months’ worth of rental fees, at $14 per month. This makes fiscal sense if you are staying with Comcast Xfinity for more than 1 year.
Keep in mind that in addition to the rental fee, Comcast Xfinity charges $110 for unreturned equipment, for each item.
If you choose to buy one, you can’t just run out and buy any equipment. Firstly you have to decide whether you’re going to buy a modem and router separately or buy a combo package.
You need to make sure firstly that the modem you buy is compatible with Comcast Xfinity. Compatibility doesn’t just mean that it works with your internet service provider. The modems upload and download speed has to at least match the speeds that you are already paying for from Comcast Xfinity. You can certainly work with a modem that has an upload or download speed that is greater than what you are paying for, but you certainly don’t want to pay extra for an internet plan that gives you the top speed possible, only to match it with a modem that can’t keep up.
Comcast Xfinity also makes available a site that helps you find a compatible modem based on your area and internet speed, but you have to provide your ZIP code and your internet speed for them to give you a list of which personal options are most compatible. Depending on where you live this can range from just a handful of modems and routers you can purchase through almost 100.
If you choose to purchase your own equipment you will be primarily responsible for troubleshooting. Be advised that Comcast has tech teams divided into those rudimentary customer service representatives who typically read to you from a script and the second tier of IT specialists who can, if absolutely necessary, remotely access your device from their location in order to troubleshoot a problem. However, if you have your own device, they can’t do this. This means you have to be entirely responsible for any tech problems that may arise.
There are lots of good places out there for learning more about different modems and routers, especially given the internet speed you are looking for, where you live, and what your internet provider compatibility is. While you can reach out to customer service and ask for a list of approved routers and modems, they may not be able to tell you definitively or they simply might refuse. It’s up to you to do research by comparing different review sites side by side.
If you were trying to return your rented equipment and replace it with personal equipment, you might be on the receiving end of some less than enthusiastic customer service, or some bogus unreturned equipment fees. It seems like companies don’t like it when customers eat into their profit margins. But don’t worry. We can help.
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