Should I rent a wireless router, modem, or gateway from Google Fiber… or buy it myself?
Google Fiber offers incredibly fast internet service in specific cities and they provide proprietary gateways, Wi-Fi gateways that are designed to reach a wider floor plan and offer reliability for multiple devices. When you open an account they send you these mesh Wi-Fi gateways which serve as the modem and router combination.
If you have a system of devices that connect to one another, then the router handles their communication. This system is called your home network. The modem is responsible for facilitating communication between your home network and the internet. The modem usually connects the router through the WAN or Wide Area Network port. You need both in order to access the internet.
A wireless gateway combines both of these functions into one device. (Sometimes it gets called a “combo” for this reason.)
When you take out a new service plan or upgrade your existing plan, you will automatically get a router and modem to rent on a monthly basis from the company. When you open an account with an internet provider, you may not realize that the equipment they send you is not a requirement. Yes, you will need a modem and router in order to access the internet but you do not have to use what comes from the company. Choosing to do so means you have to pay a rental fee every month. This rental fee may not seem like much, usually between $10 and $20, but if you have internet with the same provider for five years, you might end up paying off the full value of that equipment 5 times over and if you close your account, you have to send the equipment back, you never get to keep it. And if you don’t send it back, they charge you again for the full value. This is why many people look for other options.
Google Fiber is different from other internet providers in that they don’t charge a monthly rental fee for their equipment. Instead, you pay a one-time fee of $300, or you spaced out that $300 fee over 12 monthly installments of $25.
This depends entirely on the plan you have. Google is very open and supportive of people buying their own equipment but you are significantly limited in terms of the internet speed you get. You can bring your own router if you have plans with 1 GB speeds. The reason being, the proprietary equipment that Google Fiber uses is designed to support significantly faster service and prepare your home and home network for 5G and the future of 6 G internet speeds. So if you have a plan other than 1GB, it makes sense to pay the fee and use the wifi gateways.
As mentioned you can purchase your own router. Google Fiber makes it easy for you to connect your own equipment if you so choose.
You need to make sure firstly that the modem you buy is compatible with Google Fiber. You will need to make sure that the upload and download speed match what you are paying for. You don’t want to pay extra for a monthly internet plan with incredibly fast internet only to connect it with a slow modem that can’t keep up. You also want to check compatibility for the router.
If you can’t access your internet, you will be solely responsible for rebooting your router and your modem especially if it continually drops your connection. This is a normal thing that has to happen every once in a while, although it shouldn’t happen every day. When you contact customer service or tech support for issues pertaining to the rented equipment, they might advise you to do this and then follow up with any additional help if that doesn’t fix the problem, but when you have your own equipment, you have to learn to troubleshoot it yourself.
If you are truly interested in saving yourself some money long-term and investing in personal equipment, you can read different review sites to compare modem and router combo side-by-side so that you can find one that works best for your situation. Be sure to run it by your potential internet provider. You can always work with your internet provider even if you have been with them for years and find something that you can use to replace your monthly rental fees.
If you are having issues with your equipment return, you want to start by reaching out to customer service. Customer service should be able to direct you through the exact steps you need to follow and precisely how and when you need to return your equipment.