The internet is a basic need in the world we live in today. Unfortunately, it is something that could be quite expensive if you don’t make smart moves like investing in the best gadgets. For most of us, the router is the only component we think of for the best internet connectivity, but did you know that you could save a bit of money if you opted to buy both the router and a cable modem? Ordinarily, the cable companies charge exorbitant fees in rental fees for their modems and routers, which means that if you have been thinking about buying a router, you might as well buy a modem as well.
Here, we’ll look at some of the crucial considerations you need to ensure that you make the right decision by buying the right modem.
Important considerations for the best cable modems
The DOCSIS protocol is the primary element that determines the speed of your modem. DOCSIS or Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification is a protocol that allows your ISP to offer their internet services over the coaxial cable. And thanks to this setup, your modem would give you broadband internet access.
But this isn’t all you need to know about modems – the modem’s DOCSIS protocols are equally as important. There are two DOCSIS protocols, DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1. The difference between these two protocols is their speeds along with the number of simultaneous channels offered in each protocol. When comparing DOCSIS 3.0 vs 3.1, the easiest way for you to choose one over the other is to determine what speeds you’d want to work with. In this case, you’d want a modem running on the DOCSIS 3.1 protocol if you need internet speeds of at least 1Gigabits/ 1000Mbps.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that DOCSIS 3.0 is a more practical option, especially because the average broadband speeds across the United States are around 66Mbps and hardly reach the 1000Mps range.
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Number of Channels
This may sound a little technical, but the number of upstream and downstream channels offered by the modem is the other crucial factor to keep under consideration. Essentially, these numbers of channels range from 8×4 to 32×8, with the number that goes before the x representing the total number of the downstream channels offered by the modem. The other number after the x stands for the number of upstream channels.
Think of this downstream-upstream channels setup as the lines of communication needed for fast connectivity, and the higher the number of channels, the higher the speeds. In more practical terms, the downstream channels represent the download channels, and since we download more content and upload a lot less, it makes sense to have a modem with more downstream channels. So, to enjoy high internet speeds, you’d want a modem with a high number of downstream and upstream channels.
For the best performance, the best modems will give you at least 16 downstream channels and 8 upstream channels. Anything with fewer channels isn’t recommended.
Speeds – Upload and Download
The speeds advertised for the modems refer to the download speeds and not the upload speeds. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the download speed specified on the modem is quite theoretical, which means that the speed could be lower than specified.
But that is not all; you also need to keep in mind that the super-high speeds recommended will not be attained if the ISP’s maximum speeds offered are lower than the modem’s maximum speeds.
So, you should only consider buying the ultra-high-speed modems if you are thinking about future-proofing rather than enjoying blazing high speeds or pushing the current limits.
Don’t forget that the cable modem you choose must be compatible with the ISP you are currently subscribed to.
The right modem gives you the power to control your finances and internet speeds. Follow the considerations above, and you will have the best modem to match your needs.