Upgrading the Router in Preparation for DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Speeds

 

Subscriber Gene Philbrick posted a question via my Terry’s Computer Tips blog, asking:

Subject: Routers Compatible w/Motorola SURFboard eXtreme Modem SB6120, DOCSIS 3.0
——

I have two Dell computers (an XP & VISTA) wired in one room. The above new modem is enroute to replace Comcast’s Motorola 11b modem. Expect I may have to also upgrade my router (currently a Linksys BEFSR41 v.2).

I have been reviewing two $80 routers: Linksys Wireless N Model WRT160N router and a Netgear Wireless N Model WNR2000 router I do not need wireless router capability but would like to match the DOCSIS 3.0 speed of the Motorola modem. What router would you suggest below $110? If not either of these two routers please suggest another modem.

Thank you.
Gene

I wrote back to Gene to suggest that he consider router that has "gigabit" networking (10/100/1000 MegaBits/second) and not just 10/100.

He may not need the wireless, but he should be able to turn that off.

Tech Tip
If a wireless router won’t let you turn off its wireless functions, return the router and a get a different brand. The only one that I’ve ever seen that would not turn off wireless was my very first wireless router, a Belkin 802.11b. (11Mbit/second). Since I was concerned with securing my network, I didn’t want to have wireless available unless I needed it.

I ended up switching the wireless router’s power off if I didn’t need the wireless function (my cable modem was connected to a Linksys wired router, the BEFSR41). Eventually, I upgraded to a later model wireless router from Linksys to replace the Belkin.

After the sour experience with Belkin, an “ok” experience with a DLink wired router (the interface seemed “dumbed down”), and good experiences with Linksys, I’ve stayed Linksys for a long time.

My current router is a Netgear R6300 AC 1750 Dual Band Gigabit router
(it also does 802.11b/g/n), which was an upgrade from my previous Linksys E3000.

This goes with my DOCSIS 3.0 modem of choice — the Motororla SB6120 cable modem (see the Motorola SB6120 cable modem Amazon Customer Reviews)

The other modem that I considered to replace my Linksys E3000 wireless-N routerwas the Linksys EA6500 Smart Wi-Fi Dual-Band AC Router with Gigabit and 2x USB

Gene’s next question was about the speed increase he could expect from upgrading his router. I wrote back to him to say that, for normal surfing, he probably won’t notice much — his bottleneck will be the cable modem.

For file transfers, especially large file transfers from one computer to another on your home network, the Gigabit speed (once you have Gigabit cards in your computers — and you might need to change Cat5 to CAT-6 on cables (but probably not) — will make your internal network fly. The nominal speed difference is +10 times the speed of the 100-Mbit/sec .

If you’ve got your Ethernet connections on the motherboard, you’ll get better speeds than if they’re USB.

The theoretical maximum for 100Mbit is 12MBytes/second, while for 1000Mbit is 120MBytes/second.

Your hardware will affect how much of the 120MBytes/sec you actually see — e.g., if your computer is older and doesn’t have PCI-E, your Ethernet connection is either USB2.0, PCI or on the motherboard (may also be PCI). The PCI bandwidth is shared with all PCI cards. On the other hand, PCI-E cards each have their own dedicated bandwidth.

If your BEFSR41 is older, as my old one was (before my upgrade to the E-3000 (and this point is just now dawning on me) — I’ve seen major improvements in other networking hardware speed just by changing to newer models. Can I predict what increase you (or I) will see if we upgrade our router and don’t shift immediately to Gigabit cards on our other computers – no, I can’t.


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Comments

  1. Raymond Combs says:

    Concerning upgrading modem/router: as you see, I use Comcast. I have the “Triple Play” account. The Arris modem (Docsis 2.0), provided by Comcast has output ports for Internet and telephone. I can’t seem to find any Docsis 3.0 modem with a telephone jack. Is there any such thing – or do I have to wait and depend on Comcast to supply one?

  2. This is helpful info, but guys, really really wish you’d put a date on your entries. I can’t tell how outdated/not the info is.

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