This article was originally published on Cash Money Life | Personal Finance, Investing, & Career at Frugal Tip: Replace Your Rented Cable Modem with Your Own.When my wife and I moved to our current home we got a sweetheart deal on our In...
This article was originally published on Cash Money Life | Personal Finance, Investing, & Career at Frugal Tip: Replace Your Rented Cable Modem with Your Own.When my wife and I moved to our current home we got a sweetheart deal on our Internet service for the first two years we lived here ($25 a month, plus a free cable modem for two years). Unfortunately, our two year intro period recently ended, leaving me with a higher monthly service fee, and a $5 a month rental fee for the cable modem. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a fee I could negotiate. $5 a month is reasonable as far as rental fees go, as some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) charge up to $7 per month for a standard cable modem, and often more if you have an integrated wireless router. But $5 a month is still a fee I’d like to avoid if possible, and thankfully, I can. Instead of paying the monthly rental fee, I bought a router for $77, including tax and shipping. My router will pay for itself in less than a year and a half, and everything after that is gravy.
If you are currently renting your cable modem, then I encourage you to look into replacing it with one of your own. It is quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive. And it could save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the modem.
How to Replace Your Rented Cable Modem
You can save a lot of money by buying instead of renting.
Buying a new cable modem is easy – simply go to your favorite electronics store, buy a modem, and you’re done, right? Yes and no. You also need to make sure your modem is compatible with your Internet Service Provider and you need to let them know you are replacing your modem so they can map it to their network. Don’t worry if this sounds like mumbo-jumbo, it’s pretty easy.
Ensure your new cable modem is compatible with your ISP. The first step is to contact your Internet Service Provider to make sure they support the new hardware and software you are buying. I researched multiple cable modems before buying mine and I ended up buying the number two modem on my list of top rated modems. My first choice wasn’t on the list of supported modems provided by my ISP, which is too bad, because it was $11 cheaper than the one I bought. My ISPs support forums stated that others have used my #1 rated modem without any issues, however, they also stated they didn’t support any firmware updates. The modem I bought still had great ratings, so I figured an extra $11 was worth the price of avoiding potential firmware issues in the future. The modem should last me at least 3-5 years, so $11 is inconsequential over that time frame.
How to find a compatible cable modem: The best way is contact your Internet Service Provider’s customer service department, look on their website, or ask in their forums (most have an active support forums for questions such as this). You can also visit your favorite search engine and type, “Internet provider name + compatible cable modems” to find a list.
Important – make sure the modem you buy is forward compatible. There is one term you will come across when shopping for a cable modem: DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification). DOCSIS is basically a data format that allows for high-speed data transfer. All most consumers need to know about DOCSIS is that they should buy a modem that is rated as DOCSIS 3.0, and backward compatible to DOCSIS 2.0. The reason is that most standard cable Internet packages are covered by a DOCSIS 2.0 modem, but the higher speed services require a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. It is likely that all cable Internet services will require DOCSIS 3.0 in the future. There isn’t a big cost difference to get the 3.0 version, so do it. It’s better to be forward compatible so you don’t need to replace your modem before its shelf life expires. Remember, the cost difference over a several years is inconsequential.
Installing your cable modem
Unfortunately, you can’t ju