In Australia, it’s easy to end modem and router problems altogether when you can get a modem as part of your NBN plan, but should you consider swapping it for another? you really do you need an expensive modem-router?
It turns out that buying the most expensive modem router out there doesn’t always mean a better experience than the one you’re currently using.
What is a modem-router?
In a basic sense, a modem provides your home with Internet access, while a router routes Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections to your home. A modem-router combines these devices.
We will use the terms “modem” and “modem-router” interchangeably in this article. A home box providing internet is usually called a “modem” in Australia, when in reality it’s probably a modem-router (about ten years ago it wasn’t uncommon in Australia to have a separate modem and router). ). Therefore, we will refer to it this way, just to avoid confusion.
Why are some modems so expensive?
Some modems are more expensive because they offer more features than standard modems. This could include networking capability, more Ethernet ports, faster Wi-Fi speeds, better user interfaces, or even more advanced features like an included gaming VPN (GPN, if you will), but one of the more common misconceptions is that a more expensive modem means higher internet speed.
Are more expensive modems faster?
It’s more complicated than simply saying “expensive modems mean faster speed”. Most modems you can buy from Amazon or JB Hi-Fi will be able to reach the maximum speeds available from most NBN providers, however speeds above NBN 250 (so faster than 250Mbps) are where maximum speeds are not as important .
For example, the cheapest modem available on the JB Hi-Fi website (Asus AC1500 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router) can achieve 5Ghz Wi-Fi speeds of up to 867Mbps, which shows the maximum theoretical speed it can deliver wirelessly. Conversely, the most expensive modem on offer from a technical retailer (ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000) offers 5Ghz Wi-Fi speeds of up to 11,000 Mbps.
Plus, more expensive modems usually mean more channels, which translates into faster speeds, Hitron noted. Regardless, your speed will always be limited by your NBN plan.
These speeds may be observable on the local network and may be observable if you have an NBN 1000 plan, but it would be difficult to observe this difference in speeds in normal day-to-day use. Also keep in mind that Ethernet speeds are highly dependent on your Ethernet cable (modern CAT5e and CAT6 cables can handle speeds of up to 1000Mbps).
A practical example I can give happened to me in 2022 when I was reviewing the Eero Pro 6. My old modem wasn’t capable of consistent wireless VR gaming, but switching to a much more powerful mesh modem made it work fine. If you’re considering a high-bandwidth activity like wireless VR gaming, then a more expensive modem might be worth considering.
How do I buy the right modem?
Buying the right modem doesn’t have to be a confusing process. Here are some helpful tips broken down by what you might be most interested in.
if you want least painful experience, then use a modem from your NBN provider. This gives you less choice of equipment, sure, but this way you can leave most of the modem setup process to the NBN provider, whose customer support and technical support team will likely know the details of the equipment.
if you want to provide Wi-Fi to a large house, consider getting a mesh modem network, which requires nodes to be placed throughout the house to spread the network evenly, like a large spider web. They are a little more expensive, but it’s a good way to remove dead spots.
If you want a experience without compromise which offers auto-optimization features and a deeper, more user-friendly interface, then consider more expensive modems. Some modems, such as the Eero and ASUS line of modems, come with apps that allow you to access and change settings. Moreover, especially the ASUS RT-AX82U AX-5400 comes with RGB. Yes.
Outside of these specific areas, you’re perfectly fine to stick to the cheaper side of things when it comes to your modem-router, but it’s important to know the limitations of your modem and what features it doesn’t support (such as PPPoE).
Sure, no one needs expensive modem, but you might find a use for their more expensive features.
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