Comcast internet modem, phone modem, wifi router all in one versus separate router

Discussion in 'hardware' started by roark37, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I currently only have cable & internet from Comcast but my deal is up and the triple play including phone is a much better deal so I am thinking of updating my equipment which I was anyway as I am using an older Motorola Surfboard modem and an old b/g router. My hesitation has been that my current setup has been super reliable and never gives me trouble. But my question is Comcast has a wireless gateway all in one with the phone modem, router, & internet modem in one device. But how is that compared to having separate modem and router? Are the speeds generally similar? And are there any security/privacy concerns with all in one? I would not think it matters versus separates as I assume Comcast has logs of all my site visits anyway as I only use a vpn when working from home but are there other concerns. Do any of you have the Comcast all in one gateway for all three and would you recommend it? Or do you think separates are much better? Thank you.
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    If they use the same protocols, the performance will be the same. That is, if you buy a separate DOCSIS 3.0 modem and this integrated is DOCSIS 3.0, the performance is the same. But if your old Motorola is DOCSIS 2.0, then the new Comcast DOCSIS 3.0 will be faster.

    Same with the WAP (wireless access point) - if they both support 11n, same speeds.

    There is usually just one password to get into the menu system with integrated. So if that is compromised, then a hacker would have greater access. But with a very strong password (and not written on a sticky stuck to you monitor) that is not problem.

    The biggest problem with integrated vs separates is the same age old problem - if one section goes out, you have to replace everything. And if, for example, the power supply fails, you lose everything.

    Separates cost more up front because you are buying separate power supplies, separate cases, and separate menu systems. But you can upgrade individual components separately which gives you more options, and typically lower costs.

    I personally like separates but integrated is more convenient.

    BTW, you typically don't have to buy from your ISP and I don't - perhaps I am a bit paranoid but I don't trust them. And you never have to install their software to get access either - whether you buy from your ISP, or a retail outlet. Network devices use standard network protocols and Windows (and Linux) know how to communicate with those protocols without Comcast or Linksys software (that will surely foist extra junk on your computer you don't need).

    As for your bundle package being cheaper - do your homework to find out what it will cost you a year from now when the bundle promotion period is over. I have TV and Internet through my cable, and phone through regular landline. I found out with my ISP, after the 1 year special bundle offer is over, there is only $6 difference. And for peace of mine, I like having a separate way to communicate. When everything is bundled through the cable company (or over your DSL line) if that connection goes down for whatever reason, you lose phone and Internet access to contact family, friends or emergency services.

    Now if you have a cell phone, maybe you don't need two landline methods to communicate. But I live in Tornado Alley USA and more than once I've lost power for more than a day (once for 5 days). With no Internet access, and no way to charge the cell phone, at least I had landline phone (which still work during power outages as they get power through the central office).
     
  3. zmechys

    zmechys Registered Member

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    I have Comcast as my ISP and I like it, but Comcast's internet phone was WAY too expensive; therefore, I got ITP as my internet phone service (voip). Good rates, good quality.
    http://itpvoip.com/
     
  4. terradon

    terradon Registered Member

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    I signed up for the triple play and still have the all in one in the box for several reasons. 1) I do not have and do not want a landline phone. I transferred the number to my cell phone several years ago. 2) The all in one establishes itself as a hotspot, whether you want it or not. Despite assurances, I can't "trust" that the security is adequate unless I have the oversight control. There have been way to many security breaches from companies that should have been trustworthy. 3) I replaced the rented cable modem with a DOCIS 3 a few years ago, so the speed is the same. 4) I already have a fast and secure wifi hub. So, basically I am taking advantage of the price without changing what I had. I'll cancel the promo when it expires and let the retention people sell me an even better deal.
     
  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Good luck with that.
     
  6. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    i handle some comcast service calls in this area (only for internet not tv) and i can tell you the comcast all in one gateway is okay if wired but sucks big time for wireless. the range is terrible on them imo i would not even think twice about putting the comcast one in bridge mode and running a separate router as the main one with the comcast one after it OR just adding a good router just for wireless. comcast does not support the bridge mode so if you ever need to call tech support they will not help if set up that way (same for verizon's actiontech's). also just so you know now when using the comcast gateway you will be broadcasting a free wifi open network for anyone to use. up to 5 people can connect at one time to it as long as they are within range. it will be an open network simply called xfinitywifi. we have them all over the place now around here.

    oh and not to sound negative but ill also say good luck when dealing with comcast retentions. i dont like either comcast or verizon really but there is no way in hell i would ever go back to comcast......thats all ill say
     
  7. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the replies. It seems to be near unanimous that having separates seems to be preferable to Comcast all in one and that is what I was thinking also. But one complication is my current equipment is old so I am still using a Doccix 2 modem that I own. I could upgrade but the speed is more than fast enough for me and since it is so reliable I am reluctant to change it. But I think I am going to now or very soon and upgrade to Doccix 3. But I want to buy my own modem again and not from Comcast, I can do that right? And are there specific Doccix 3.0 modems you recommend or use with Comcast. And should I avoid buying a combo Doccix 3.0 modem with router built in for the same arguments as before? Or are the combo's with just modem/router okay? Thanks again.
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    :eek: Seriously? That's totally unacceptable! Are you sure? I find this hard to believe.

    It would allow the kid next door to hog your bandwidth streaming Netflix. It would also allow a badguy to send spam or distribute malware, or worse, participate in an illegal DDoS attack using your IP address.

    See this.
     
  9. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Okay after looking into this a little bit I am leaning towards getting the Arris/Motorola Surfboard SB6141 with a separate router. Does anyone use that modem and would you recommend it?

    Also, is disconnecting my old Doccix 2.0 and connecting this new 3.0 modem easy and quick to do?

    Thanks again.
     
  10. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I don't know about the Arris version but I have the Motorola SURFboard SB6141 and it works great and I have no problems recommending it.

    I use it with my Netgear WNR-3500L router with Wireless N WAP.

    As far as connecting, what you will need to do is unplug your router from the wall, then connect and power up the new modem. Then call your ISP and tell them you just replaced the modem and you need them to authenticate the new MAC address which will printed on a sticker on the modem (and box and typically several extra stickers in the box). That should take a few seconds (once you finally get ahold of a person). Once the modem lights settle down, connect and power up your router. Then your computers and you should be good to go.
     
  11. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Thanks Bill but when you say power up the new modem should I also connect a computer to it with ethernet before calling Comcast or do not connect anything until after the Comcast call? And I assume I have to set up my router from scratch again right since it is a new modem. Or is that not the case? I am likely going to use a brand new router too as my router is old also but just want to know as much as I can as I am not good at this stuff(obvious). Thanks again.
     
  12. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    I believe cable providers demand the ability to remotely access and control devices that directly interface with their network. So such devices are designed in a way that allows for it. This makes modems, telephony modems, and all-in-one devices of some concern. Strictly speaking, you don't want a device that is under someone else's control on your network (let alone, at the heart of your network). Because the other party may enable some features you don't want, fail to enable some features you do want, restrict access to certain configuration settings, update firmware and/or reset settings at undesirable times, etc.

    Most sophisticated users choose to use their own separate [wireless] router (one which they purchased and have full/sole control over). They use this device to separate and protect their devices and network(s) from those controlled by other parties. Such a router can be used in conjunction with an all-in-one device set to bridge mode, but most will try to eliminate the all-in-one and any issues related to it.

    If you run your own router, remember: it is entirely up to you to research it carefully before purchase, configure it properly, test it, keep it up to date, replace it if it is no longer supported adequately, etc.

    One of the less frequently used benefits of having a separate router is that you have access to its WAN port. You can connect a computer to it and perform nmap scans and/or other security tests. You can hookup a sniffer and monitor the traffic flowing in/out of that router during normal use.

    One aspect worth considering is whether or not a configuration will allow you to trigger a change of your public IP Address. IIRC, those I've spoken with that have all-in-one units cannot do this. Those that use a separate non-telephony modem + separate router can do this. I can't recall discussing the subject with anyone who uses a separate telephony modem + separate router. Perhaps someone here is a Comcast customer with the latter configuration and would be kind enough to comment.

    You probably found this already, but just in case: http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/

    Before getting rid of any equipment, consider whether it might be useful to keep it as a spare.
     
  13. Mayahana

    Mayahana Banned

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    I'd throw out comcast gear. It's all low grade, and has some pretty bad security.
     
  14. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    No they don't! I am afraid someone is feeding you some nonsense. :( That's why you can buy your own modem from a retail outlet. At least that's how it works in the US and pretty sure all other "free" countries.

    At most, the ISP can send a reset (so the modem picks up a new IP assignment), or they can block access to their network (if you don't pay your bill, or send spam, for example). But they can't have access to your network. No way!!! What you do inside your own network is your business and your business alone.

    You don't want to connect a computer directly to the modem if you will be using a router. And you should use a router because a router provides a HUGE layer of security. But all that needs to be powered is just as I said above; the modem. Once they register the new MAC address for the new modem, they will send an authentication signal to it. You will see the lights go crazy then stop flashing (the top 3 anyway). That tells you your modem is connected to the Internet. Then you power up the router. The router will then handshake with the modem and assume the IP assigned by your ISP (that's why you don't want your computer connected to the modem or it will take on the assigned IP). Then you connect your computers and your router will assign your computers IP addresses.
     
  15. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Okay, if you have decided not to go with triple play, which you specifically mentioned in your original post, then consider the recommendations of the (eminently knowledgeable) members who have posted in this thread.

    On the other hand, if you are still planning to go with triple play, then you will need a telephony modem (and the SB6141 ain't one of them) or a telephony wireless gateway. You won't be able to get Xfinity Voice with just a standard cable modem or modem/router combo.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  16. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    I forgot to mention: if you are going to purchase your own modem, look into the firmware situation. Judging from the various comments I've seen, it seems that customer experiences can vary quite a bit. Some customers buy a modem that doesn't need a firmware update and they are good to go. Some buy a modem that does need a firmware update and they report that they automatically received the update from Comcast. Some who need a firmware update don't receive it, call Comcast to explicitly request it, and are told that one can't be provided. In which case they call Comcast again in the hope of connecting with someone who knows what they are doing. If that doesn't work they join the forum and ping a knowledgeable rep who can get it done.
     
  17. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    yes 1000% sure here is just a few of MANY articles on it it actually started in some areas back in june of 2013. they tell you that if you call tech support you can have it disabled but i can tell you first hand even as a tech they will try to do everything literally almost short of hanging up on you to talk you out of disabling it:
    http://arstechnica.com/information-...your-xfinity-modem-into-public-wi-fi-hotspot/
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/...ers-for-turning-routers-into-public-hotspots/

    http://arstechnica.com/information-...d-to-learn-new-router-is-also-public-hotspot/

    http://corporate.comcast.com/news-i...-home-based-neighborhood-hotspot-initiative-2

    also they tell you that you will not be responsible for people downloading illegal content but i personally know someone (an 87 year old guy) who got a letter in nov. last year for downloading a torrent of the new jay-z album. he doesnt even know who jay z is. he is not paying what they are asking and going to court over it. he is the only person with only one computer using his secured wifi ( at the time his motorola from comcast was setup with wpa2 personal aes with a very good key that we added afterwards). he now has a aftermarket modem with separate router and no more public hotspot.

    imo there is no way in hell i would allow my bandwidth i pay for to be used publicly
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  18. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    very easy. as long as you get a good 3.0 version for the modem part you will be fine (a lot of the older 2.0 modems dont work well with most newer comcast services) the surfboard is a decent unit. there is a few various ones available and as long as they are certified 3.0 they should work fine. a number of companies have them including moto, zoom, netgear, tplink etc etc. imo the router is for sure going to be your place you should make sure to get something a bit better.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  19. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Note you said (my bold underline added),
    When I replied with, "Seriously? That's totally unacceptable! Are you sure?", you replied with, "yes, 1000% sure."

    Well, it is NOT true that anyone can use this hotspot. Only other authorized Comcast broadband customers can use it - as is clearly indicated in your links. That's a HUGE distinction between fact and your repeated accusations.

    Now for sure, I still think this practice is unacceptable for the following reasons. (1) The hotspot is enabled by default. (2) This feature is not made abundantly clear to the customer. And (3), there appears to be no easy, clear-cut way for customers to disable this feature themselves.
     
  20. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    that is not true. we have them around here and you can connect to them without any user name or password. my daughter takes tae kwon do and they have one of these show up at her school the parents use it while waiting for the kids to be done. and none of them are "comcast" users. so regardless what the articles say. in fact i just connected to one that shows up and im typing this on a xfinitywifi open network. i am not a comcast subscriber....its suppoed to work that way but it doesnt always work that way many of these are wide open.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  21. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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  22. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    A school is a commercial business and therefore has (or should have!) a business service plan with Comcast, not a residential. Again, a HUGE distinction. And how do you know if all those parents are not Comcast (or Xfinity) subscribers? And how do you know the school did not intentionally set up a hotspot for their parents/customers? I note I can turn my Verizon cell phone into an open hotspot so anyone nearby can get access. Or I can open up my own home Netgear wireless router into an open hotspot.

    How do you know this xfinitywifi open network you created your last post with goes to a residential hotspot of a Comcast subscriber?

    I'm just trying to get all the facts here because it is scary and clearly you are reporting something different than Comcast, ARS Technica, How-To Geek and others who all claim you must already be a Comcast subscriber and must enter your Comcast credentials to log in.
     
  23. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    a few things. first its not an actual "school" its a tae kwon do dojo yes they have a business line but as i said i do installs sometimes when they are overloaded. it makes no difference on the xfinity wifi if its a home or business, second i know they did not set up a hotspot because i personally was the one who installed their internet there and setup the modem just a few weeks ago. im going to be turning off the xfinity wifi on monday when we install a new router with additional guest networks. and third i can assure you because i asked they are not all comcast subscribers only 2 of them in the room were the rest were verizon. comcast sucks here most people will choose verizon when given the choice around here.

    the one i was connected to was for sure a home unit unless someone has a business line at their house which is STRICTLY against the rules in my deed restricted community (like they will be thrown out of here for it) there is no business for a few miles. not a chance one of the comcast boxes can extend that far.
     
  24. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    That's a great price, no doubt, but then it's a 4x4 modem. The OP stated he/she owned an older Motorola Surfboard modem. Unless the modem the OP currently owns is older than the SB6121 (which is also 4x4), there really doesn't appear to be a reason to buy another 4x4 modem. Frankly, I'm no guru but I wouldn't recommend that anyone buy a cable modem that's not at least an 8x4 (and 16x4 is better in terms of future proofing).
     
  25. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    agree but they did say they were looking for price as well. and if their modem is a bit older they may have a 2.0. for 29$ for a 3.0 modem is a steal and even if just temporary, they will pay a lot more especially for a 16X4
     
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