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(Lifehacker)   Is it ever a good idea to rent a modem? Short answer: Yes and No. Long answer: Yesssss and Nooooo   (lifehacker.com) divider line 44
    More: Interesting, modems, Lifehacker, rents, routers  
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3337 clicks; posted to Business » on 07 Oct 2012 at 11:29 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-07 11:43:06 AM
Its good to see Ric Romero branching out like this.
 
2012-10-07 11:43:57 AM
time warner just sent a notice that they were upping the rental charge to $4 a month. i wish fios was available in my area so i had a choice in broadband providers.
 
2012-10-07 11:49:17 AM
Two major things for the "No" column:

1: Sometimes they will still charge you a 'rental fee' for the modem/router you own, hoping you don't notice, and might try to charge you a fine for not returning the modem they never owned to begin with.

2: They might push their firmware updates onto your device and leave you with a useless doorstop.
 
2012-10-07 11:54:17 AM
If you cant operate a modem then you should not be allowed to use the internet, that should be the rule.

Saberus Terras: 2: They might push their firmware updates onto your device and leave you with a useless doorstop.


And how would they do that without being able to log into the device? I have always owned my own and never had this issues, really dont see how they could push firmware to a device that is not even the same brand they use, maybe I have been lucky. Shouldnt the device just deny any request it doesnt recognize? I know I got a call from comcast once asking me if something was wrong with my modem since they couldnt get into it and I told them its fine, told them I own it so thats why they couldnt access it.
 
2012-10-07 11:58:05 AM
Since not all homes are wired the same, and since not every ISP covers every district, renting means you don't have to worry if you move and want to change providers.

Oh and thats another thing, if you move make sure they get their box back. We have had customers wind up with bills from their providers for a couple hundred dollars for not returning the device, hell they charged on guy and he never had one of their devices in his home.
 
2012-10-07 12:09:52 PM
There's a pretty good chance I'll be moving out-of-State at the end of the year, so it makes more sense for me to rent mine from Comcast for the time being...

/ used to own one, back in 2000 when broadband was still new ( @Home , IIRC)
// paid around $100 for it, got years of use until my provider declared it obsolete
/// wish there was more competition with broadband ISPs, like there was in the '90's...
 
2012-10-07 12:10:09 PM
With Comcast, even though I only wanted Internet service from them, I've had to purchase basic cable channels and internet as a bundle just to get a cheaper rate than if I only purchased internet. Fark Comcast, I bought my own modem and I'll be damned if I have to give them any more money than necessary. I'm not paying a rental fee to them.

If I could I would dump Comcast and get Fios. But even though I am two blocks from a Verizon store, my building is not wired for Fios so I don't even have the option.
 
2012-10-07 12:14:42 PM
They aren't modems. They are technically bridges.

/pedantic off
 
2012-10-07 12:31:41 PM

steamingpile: And how would they do that without being able to log into the device


My clueless brother took a call from them when they couldn't log in, and they walked him through resetting it to default. Mine was the same model as the ones the ISP used, and the firmware update comes down the coax, the SOB took it and applied it. The only difference was the revision of the system board was older than theirs, and that was enough for the firmware to brick my equipment. I was out of luck, not their hardware, not their problem. F'ing assholes. After that I went to renting one from them because I wasn't about to let them brick my shiat twice.
 
2012-10-07 12:36:07 PM
digitaldaily.allthingsd.com
 
2012-10-07 12:41:30 PM
years ago when I had Comcast come out to activate cable tv and internet, they brought a modem with them even though I said I already had one.

no biggie, the installer just left it in the box and proceeded with the hook-up.

then, while the installer was still there, I had to call customer service to 'finalize' the installation.

the customer service lady asked for the serial number off of the modem. I told her that it was my own modem, not theirs.

she said she couldn't proceed with finalizing the installation until she had a serial number.

I asked her why the serial number was crucial to activating my account.

she said that their software wouldn't let her advance to the next field without a serial number being given.

I told her to 'tab' over. she said that wouldn't work.

I told her to contact Comcast IT support and explain her problem to them.

that went over her head.

I made up a number and went on with my life.
 
2012-10-07 12:51:44 PM

Saberus Terras:

2: They might push their firmware updates onto your device and leave you with a useless doorstop.


Thats what sucks about cable modems. On some networks, in order to get the correct settings to connect, the cableco uploads their own firmware onto your cable modem, resulting in your modem turning into a useless brick and them denying responsibility for the damage.
On shawcable, they have to access their own modem/router in order to bridge it so you can use your own router.
Some internet providers will still charge you rent(hello Bhell) even if you own your own modem. It sure is illegal, but people are stupid and don't charge consumer fraud against these companies. There is even people in North America still renting their old rotary phones, that grandma no longer has, from decades ago.
You want a funny example on rentals?: Some people in eastern canada rent their hot water tanks too.

A dsl modem, all you have to do is put in some basic settings on a modem that has the proper technical protocols(profile) for their network and you are online. Probably 90% of people do not know that there is a couple of back doors on the isp combination router/modem. Meant for ISP servicing and not for getting into your private network.
 
2012-10-07 01:13:20 PM

calbert: she said she couldn't proceed with finalizing the installation until she had a serial number.

I asked her why the serial number was crucial to activating my account.


S/N is how they know it's yours or theirs. You generally do want them to have that, to avoid problems later.
 
2012-10-07 01:25:02 PM

Ed 'Too Tall' Jones: calbert: she said she couldn't proceed with finalizing the installation until she had a serial number.

I asked her why the serial number was crucial to activating my account.

S/N is how they know it's yours or theirs. You generally do want them to have that, to avoid problems later.


understood. I left out the part about the installer speaking to her first and verifying that he never opened the new modem, and that the modem that was being used was old/dusty/used.

now I guess that doesn't mean that in some point in the past I was renting a modem and then decided to keep it (or had a friend who did that) and maybe that's their way of tracking their equipment, but I found it hard to believe that she couldn't advance fields on her screen without putting something in there.

the installer even told her to just put in all zeroes.
 
2012-10-07 01:35:22 PM
Have had issues with Time Warner where they claimed I was renting a modem, when it was my modem. Each time service was renewed or the contract changed they tried to reclaim my modem. At one point even though I had service at the same address constantly for 6 years, I had 3 unreturned modems from them each at $120. When I moved and shut off service there I thought I had the customer service people I spoke with finally convinced that I had owned my own modem the whole time I was there till I started getting collections calls on the bill for my unreturned modems.

You'd think that renting that hardware was the only profit they had from the way they try to shove renting it on you.
 
2012-10-07 01:39:04 PM

calbert: Ed 'Too Tall' Jones: calbert: she said she couldn't proceed with finalizing the installation until she had a serial number.

I asked her why the serial number was crucial to activating my account.

S/N is how they know it's yours or theirs. You generally do want them to have that, to avoid problems later.

understood. I left out the part about the installer speaking to her first and verifying that he never opened the new modem, and that the modem that was being used was old/dusty/used.

now I guess that doesn't mean that in some point in the past I was renting a modem and then decided to keep it (or had a friend who did that) and maybe that's their way of tracking their equipment, but I found it hard to believe that she couldn't advance fields on her screen without putting something in there.

the installer even told her to just put in all zeroes.


I thought they needed the serial number so they know who's info to block when you accidentally type it into public posts, like if I type my SSN (*****-**-********-***) my ISP matches it with stuff they have on file and blocks it out. Its a pretty cool feature for only 15.99$/month extra.
 
2012-10-07 01:49:37 PM

calbert: Ed 'Too Tall' Jones: calbert: she said she couldn't proceed with finalizing the installation until she had a serial number.

I asked her why the serial number was crucial to activating my account.

S/N is how they know it's yours or theirs. You generally do want them to have that, to avoid problems later.

understood. I left out the part about the installer speaking to her first and verifying that he never opened the new modem, and that the modem that was being used was old/dusty/used.

now I guess that doesn't mean that in some point in the past I was renting a modem and then decided to keep it (or had a friend who did that) and maybe that's their way of tracking their equipment, but I found it hard to believe that she couldn't advance fields on her screen without putting something in there.

the installer even told her to just put in all zeroes.


Yeah, it doesn't actually matter from a provisioning standpoint what's in the S/N field. As long as you didn't randomly pick a number that matches their master list of Comcast-owned modems, it should be fine.
 
2012-10-07 01:56:25 PM
I figured the long answer would be SCREEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIARRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEP!

But now I see they are discussing bridges, not modems. Carry on.
 
2012-10-07 02:00:21 PM

BumpInTheNight: calbert: Ed 'Too Tall' Jones: calbert: she said she couldn't proceed with finalizing the installation until she had a serial number.

I asked her why the serial number was crucial to activating my account.

S/N is how they know it's yours or theirs. You generally do want them to have that, to avoid problems later.

understood. I left out the part about the installer speaking to her first and verifying that he never opened the new modem, and that the modem that was being used was old/dusty/used.

now I guess that doesn't mean that in some point in the past I was renting a modem and then decided to keep it (or had a friend who did that) and maybe that's their way of tracking their equipment, but I found it hard to believe that she couldn't advance fields on her screen without putting something in there.

the installer even told her to just put in all zeroes.

I thought they needed the serial number so they know who's info to block when you accidentally type it into public posts, like if I type my SSN (*****-**-********-***) my ISP matches it with stuff they have on file and blocks it out. Its a pretty cool feature for only 15.99$/month extra.


You should think about upgrading. For $24.99 per month you can get the StealthGuardTM feature. Not only will it redact your information, it'll automatically paste in the information of some other customer of theirs, selected at random, in place of your personal information. Also, it makes sure you're immune to other StealthGuardTM users randomly pasting in your info.
 
2012-10-07 02:23:12 PM
Some reasons to choose your own:
1. DOCSIS 3.0
2. IPv6
 
2012-10-07 02:47:18 PM

steamingpile: Since not all homes are wired the same, and since not every ISP covers every district, renting means you don't have to worry if you move and want to change providers.

Oh and thats another thing, if you move make sure they get their box back. We have had customers wind up with bills from their providers for a couple hundred dollars for not returning the device, hell they charged on guy and he never had one of their devices in his home.


pretty much this. I use to work with the local cable setup and have had to deal with this situation a few times.
I'd recommend buying a modem. First, if you buy, it'll be brand new (Do NOT buy a modem that has been previously purchased then returned, there is a chance it is still on someone's account) Plus, as mentioned, if you rent, you're probably being charged for it, and if you have it a while will pay for a new one a few times over. If you do buy, and move to a place where you know your modem won't work. Give it to a friend/sell it to someone, just remember to let your ISP know so they can move it.
 
2012-10-07 03:15:11 PM

Ed 'Too Tall' Jones: You should think about upgrading. For $24.99 per month you can get the StealthGuardTM feature. Not only will it redact your information, it'll automatically paste in the information of some other customer of theirs, selected at random, in place of your personal information. Also, it makes sure you're immune to other StealthGuardTM users randomly pasting in your info.


I bought a trial of Isp's ID Ten-T protection that was 29.99$ for three months, it protected me from names and passwords leaking. All I had to do was call their hot line every month and give them any new websites that I log into with my name and password then they protected me from ever displaying that in the wrong place. It worked great but it was too pricey for me and I didn't like calling a big long Russian phone number instead of a 1-800, you'd think for that kind of money they could provide that.
 
2012-10-07 03:16:15 PM
I'm actually a comm tech for a well known (and usually despised) cable company. When I go to a customer's house and they have their own modem, I install everything and make sure they have an active line leading to where that modem will be plugged in. At that point, I'm finished and I bounce. It's not that I don't want to help them, but instead to avoid all the nerd rage that comes later from "YOU BROKE MY MODEM" or "YOU TOLD THEM I WAS GETTING YOUR MODEM AND NOW I'M GETTING CHARGED A RENTAL RARGGGGGHHHHHHH". Plus by them calling in and activating their modem, my butt is covered.

I know it's sad, but it is what it is. I don't blame people for getting their own modems. I have my own too.

That said, generally in my area, if people get their own, they don't have any issues with firmware upgrades bricking them or getting charged.
 
2012-10-07 03:28:28 PM
eoo eoo kchaaaa shhhhhhhh kchsshhhhhhhh!
 
2012-10-07 03:34:05 PM

Jon iz teh kewl: eoo eoo kchaaaa shhhhhhhh kchsshhhhhhhh!


GheeBOINGgy, BOINGgy...
 
2012-10-07 03:34:31 PM
Here every ISP I have ever had, and that's now five, has given, not rented, me a new model when I signed up. I still have all the old ones sitting in their boxes in a drawer. That seems to be the standard way they work here in the UK.
Even Sky TV give you their Sky+ DVR HD box. After a year, it's yours to keep even if you stop paying. Of course if you stop paying some of the functions stop working...
 
2012-10-07 04:03:26 PM
Sonic.net is forcing their new customers to rent a modem from them. On the one hand it sucks that there's an extra fee, on the other hand they're finally forcing everyone to upgrade to IPv6 with the new modems.

Besides, most of the ADSL2+ modems you can buy off the shelf suck balls anyway.
 
2012-10-07 04:10:32 PM

not5am: time warner just sent a notice that they were upping the rental charge to $4 a month. i wish fios was available in my area so i had a choice in broadband providers.


Verizon makes you rent their modem for $10 or $15 I can't remember. If you get a TV bundle each cable box is $20/mo and something like $30/mo for a DVR. That's on top of the monthly fee (plus taxes AND FEES). FiOS is a major ripoff. I had it for 3 months and they pissed me off so much with their deceptive billing practices that I ditched them and went with Comcast. Yup, they were worse than Comcast.
 
2012-10-07 04:19:39 PM
i bought my modem in may of 2003 (Motorola SB5100) and she's still strong as ever. payed 75 bucks. if i had rented, i could have bought many modems over that time period.

ownership is best 80% of the time.
 
2012-10-07 04:23:54 PM

jigger: not5am: time warner just sent a notice that they were upping the rental charge to $4 a month. i wish fios was available in my area so i had a choice in broadband providers.

Verizon makes you rent their modem for $10 or $15 I can't remember. If you get a TV bundle each cable box is $20/mo and something like $30/mo for a DVR. That's on top of the monthly fee (plus taxes AND FEES). FiOS is a major ripoff. I had it for 3 months and they pissed me off so much with their deceptive billing practices that I ditched them and went with Comcast. Yup, they were worse than Comcast.


Err...wat?

When I got FIOS 3 years ago the wireless router/cable modem was free (no monthly fee). I called them a few months later to switch over to using the Ethernet port that's already in the FIOS box so I could use my own router and they did at no charge. Still have the thing in my basement.

Don't have their DVR, but do have a TIVO and got a M CableCard for $5/mo. In the end, the price is about the same as when I was on Comcast, but the service is soooo much better.

I'm officially supposed to get 25/25, but I'm routinely getting 30/20. Rather get more download than upload anyway.
 
2012-10-07 04:30:46 PM

Linux_Yes: i bought my modem in may of 2003 (Motorola SB5100) and she's still strong as ever.


Might be time to think about upgrading, depending in your ISP and what level of internet you're subscribed to. You might be surprised at how much more speed you can wring out of your connection, without doing anything other than changing out the modem.
 
2012-10-07 04:43:02 PM
Saberus Terras: 1: Sometimes they will still charge you a 'rental fee' for the modem/router you own, hoping you don't notice, and might try to charge you a fine for not returning the modem they never owned to begin with.

Snippet of a letter from cox, November 2005
lordargent.com

Snippet from my original install, September 2001
lordargent.com

4 years of modem rental @ $10 per month (+ 2 additional months) = $500

// apparently, I keep better records than cox, I faxed them a nice little 'fark off' letter.

// now that modems are in the sub $100 range, it's even dumber to rent.

// my original modem (a toshiba) is still running somewhere AFAIK, I gave it away when I got a new DOCSIS 2 modem.
 
2012-10-07 04:55:03 PM
Linux_Yes: i bought my modem in may of 2003 (Motorola SB5100)

SB5101 here.

Don't remember when I bought it, it just sits there and works.

// Any time I call cox, they always blame the modem, and it always ends up being something screwed up on their end. The last time, it was a tech that had disconnected the cable for my condo instead of my neighbors. You think they would keep a log of this sort of thing to prevent a lot of time wasting in the future, but then again, they can't even keep records that they sold me a modem four years later.

// haven't bothered to go to a DOCSIS 3.x modem yet, because the downstream bandwidth of DOCSIS 2 is already faster than the downstream bandwidth at my service level.
 
2012-10-07 04:55:03 PM
At&t charges more than Microcenter for a replacement 2Wire wireless DSL modem/router. I just said farkit and give me Uverse triple play. Enjoys life without Comcast.
/Two things I hate is that there ondemand never tell you when the show/movie came out and two their PPV is a dollar higher(not bad since I have netflix).
 
2012-10-07 05:03:21 PM

drjekel_mrhyde: At&t charges more than Microcenter for a replacement 2Wire wireless DSL modem/router. I just said farkit and give me Uverse triple play. Enjoys life without Comcast.
/Two things I hate is that there ondemand never tell you when the show/movie came out and two their PPV is a dollar higher(not bad since I have netflix).


Go online and you can find a wealth of AT&T modems that work like a farking gem.
 
2012-10-07 05:03:29 PM
Ed 'Too Tall' Jones: Might be time to think about upgrading, depending in your ISP and what level of internet you're subscribed to.

That modem supports 30 mbps downstream, so his service level would have to be faster than that to see any benefit from DOCSIS 3.

And if his ISP is like mine, that gets pricey.

lordargent.com

For me to see any benefit from a DOCSIS 3 modem, I would almost double my monthly fee (from $52.99 to $99.99).

// I wouldn't be able to use the bandwidth anyway.

// Down speed was 5 Mbps when I first signed up, IIRC.
 
2012-10-07 05:11:28 PM
Still using an old Motorola modem here as well..probably bought it around 2005 or 2006...was ~$70 at the time. So, so far, I've saved almost (if not over) $500 in modem rental fees. I think I'll stick with my own. (And if it eventually goes, ill upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0, but my internet is already plenty fast for me not to have any issues with it).
 
2012-10-07 05:32:20 PM
I bought one of the approved modems for TWC the day after I got their notice in the mail. The real kicker is that it'll take "three days" to provision the modem onto their network. While I don't know the intricacies of the internal workings of a broadband ISP, I'm tentatively filing that estimate under "absurd."

They say I'll know the new modem is ready to be hooked up when my internet service suddenly stops. The cynic in me would usually come back with "How would I know the difference?" But to give credit where it's due, TWC's internet service seems pretty stable in my apartment. Their damn-near Soviet-era technology DVR is another matter entirely; there are days I want to just toss it through the window of the TWC retail locations.

But I'll probably wind up just calling the escalation number that I have now - because I think their Twitter people are just done dealing with me - and demand a new - NEW - unit, not one that's been used and returned for the past half decade.

/ Before you suggest I just go with another provider, don't.
// NYC apartment, stuck with TWC.
/// *Almost* to the point of giving my left nut to have true choice in the matter.
 
2012-10-07 06:59:44 PM

lordargent: Ed 'Too Tall' Jones: Might be time to think about upgrading, depending in your ISP and what level of internet you're subscribed to.

That modem supports 30 mbps downstream, so his service level would have to be faster than that to see any benefit from DOCSIS 3.


Not necessarily. D3 modems are more bandwidth efficient - with 8 bonded downstream channels versus D2's 4 channels, you're more likely to get better throughput, particularly when you might otherwise experience congestion.
 
2012-10-07 07:02:43 PM
lordargent:

For me to see any benefit from a DOCSIS 3 modem, I would almost double my monthly fee (from $52.99 to $99.99).



Forgot to mention - I see from your table you're a Cox customer. If you upgrade to a D3 modem and subscribe to the Premier tier, they'll push a bootfile to your modem that will get you a 30 Mbit download rate, not 25.
 
2012-10-07 08:42:20 PM

lordargent: One thing I always wondered about is why my speed to Vegas is faster than to servers here in San Diego. (Mafia buys the biggest pipes?)

[www.speedtest.net image 300x135]


Depends on the peering arrangements your ISP has with the various third-party speed test sites. The best indication of your local download speed will be if you use a test that's internal to your ISP. Try this one:

Link

Even though it's in New Orleans, you should still get a fast result, because you're riding Cox pipes the whole way. It's not necessarily a good indication of real-world conditions, since your ISP doesn't have end-to-end control of the whole internet, but to see your actual line speed, it's the best way to try it out.
 
2012-10-07 08:45:04 PM
Or this:

Link
 
2012-10-08 01:50:11 AM

beer4breakfast: They aren't modems. They are technically bridges.

/pedantic off


Would you trust Comcast to say, "I've got a bridge to sell you/"
 
2012-10-08 03:41:56 AM
TWC has not added a modem rental fee. There has long (10 yrs) been an modem rental fee of $2-3, which you could have waived if you provided an approved modem (always has to be a better spec modem than they provide or need).

TWC is actually raising their rates while simultaneously starting to itemize the modem rental fee. That's the real story, and with the state of the media today, not surprising that no one's reporting on it.
 
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