Spectrum is one of the most reliable ISPs that offer extensive coverage in many countries and states in the US.
It offers a wide range of features and internet plans suitable for different infrastructures in each area.
You can also use their modems and routers to ensure the highest compatibility and ease of use.
However, you may want to know if using the Spectrum routers is necessary or whether you can use your own router.
Can I Use My Own Router With Spectrum?
Yes, users can use their own router with Spectrum as long as it’s compatible with your modem, which isn’t a big concern since most routers are compatible with these modems.
When Spectrum sets up your account, it only sends you a cable modem.
You will have to purchase and use your own router anyway.
However, you’re required to get their modem and use the credentials printed on the back of the modem to set up your network.
This modem is free and can support all the services provided by Spectrum, such as the Voice service.
However, if you have your own router/modem combo, you can use it, although their technicians don’t support it, and you have to set it up without their technical support.
You don’t need a router if you don’t have a Wi-Fi plan since you can connect the cable modem to your computer via the Ethernet cable.
Do You Need Spectrum Modems?
If you plan on using the Spectrum internet service, they’ll give you a modem compliant with their services to guarantee maximum speed and functionality.
This modem is free of charge, and the company will replace it for free if it’s outdated and can’t handle your network requirements when you change your plan.
If you don’t want to use the modem provided by Spectrum, you can use your own modem.
It must be among the authorized devices listed on the Spectrum website.
The reason is that Spectrum has tried and tested many different brands and wants to make sure you get the best internet experience through their approved devices.
In addition, the modem that they give you is compliant with your internet plan and is the best choice for your requirements.
Using the company’s approved modems, you can be sure that you won’t experience any technical issues since their devices are highly compatible with their infrastructure.
In addition, when you use the modem provided by Spectrum, they’re responsible for any issues that come up with your connections from the ISP centers to the modem.
The website specifies which modems are authorized for each speed plan.
However, you can’t use the spectrum technicians’ service to install your modem or fix it if the device runs into any issues.
Since the modems provided by Spectrum are free, there’s no reason not to use them.
You can use your modem with an Ethernet cable without a router if you don’t have a Wi-Fi plan.
However, if you already have one of the modems, you don’t need to get a spectrum modem.
In such cases, you need to contact their customer service and find the best plan that matches your modem.
You can also ask them to come over and install the modem for you, but you have to pay a fee.
You should also get the username and password to enter the modem and router’s web portal and customize the settings.
Who Can Use Spectrum Routers?
If you have a Wi-Fi plan, you need a router to connect to the cable modem provided by Spectrum or use the one you already have.
Spectrum provides routers, but you need to pay a monthly fee.
That’s why many people don’t want to rent a router from their ISP.
If you already have a router, you can connect it to the modem since most of the modems on Spectrum’s authorized list are compatible with most routers on the market.
In addition, many users recommend using your own router because the router that the company offers isn’t fast enough and has performance issues.
Even if you get a Spectrum router, you can send it back and use your own router instead.
Connecting your router to the Spectrum modem is straightforward.
All you need to do is connect your router and modem via an Ethernet cable plugged into the router’s WAN, WLAN, Internet, or Uplink ports.
After turning on the router, you can connect it to your device with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly.
You can configure your router via its own username, password, and IP address.
However, if you run into issues connecting the devices, you can’t use Spectrum support.
Remember, if you have a modem/router combo provided by Spectrum, you first need to disable the router inside the modem.
That’s because two routers can’t work in the same network.
Then, you should go into the modem’s web portal and put it into the Bridge mode, which you can find under the NAT mode.
You should also disable the Wireless, DHCP, Routing, and Firewall settings for the modem/router combo.
You may also want to change your router’s login credentials after the first login to avoid potential cyber threats and increase your security.
What To Look For In A Router
Getting the perfect router for your internet plan and requirements isn’t complicated.
If you’re budget-minded, you can even get a second-hand router that can perfectly serve your purposes.
However, if you want to invest in a good router, you should consider the following features:
Although most routers are compatible with ISPs, it’s worth checking beforehand, especially if you get a router/modem combo.
The most important thing to check is connection technology.
For example, if your ISP offers fiber-optic technology, you can’t get a DSL modem because they’re incompatible.
2. Speed And Plan
Most routers work with Spectrum modems since no compatibility requirements prevent you from getting a specific router.
However, you may want to look for a router that’s fast enough and can match your plan.
Even if your plan is lower than your router’s maximum bandwidth, that’s okay because you can upgrade your plan in the future if you want.
However, if your router’s bandwidth is lower than your plan, the maximum speed that you get will be bottlenecked by your router.
3. Wireless Standards
The router’s range and throughput depend on its Wi-Fi standard.
The newest wireless protocols are 802.11ax, ac, or n, equivalent to Wi-Fi 6, 5, and 4, respectively.
The ax standard is the latest protocol that can deliver up to 10 Gbps of speed.
Not many devices support this standard yet, but you could go for it if you want to future-proof your router.
A more common Wi-Fi standard is the ac, which can offer up to 3.5 Gbps of speed, and most devices support it.
Wi-Fi 4 (n) is also perfectly acceptable for most of today’s average user connections since it offers dual-band frequencies and delivers up to 600 Mbps.
In addition to the above features, you should also look for QoS, MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output), and beamforming.
Beamforming is a new feature that allows the router to send out more focused signals to create a stronger connection.
Best Routers For A Spectrum Modem
Here are some of the best routers that you can get for your Spectrum modem:
1. TP-Link Archer A20 V3
This router features a tri-band speed that can deliver up to 4,000 Mbps of data transfer speed to match different applications.
It also features NitroQAM, Smart Connect, and Airtime Fairness to increase speed and improve your Wi-Fi connection.
This router is perfect for users with several devices because it can prioritize bandwidths depending on the applications and internet requirements.
It also has four Gigabit LAN ports, making it future-proof if you want to upgrade your Spectrum plan.
2. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
This router is perfect for gaming since it offers excellent speed and a lag-free connection for VR and 4K gaming.
The quad-core processor offers impressive processing power, and the tri-band feature ensures superb performance.
You can also connect the ROG Rapture to other ASUS routers and create a mesh network thanks to its AiMesh technology.
The Wi-Fi standard is 802.11 ac with 5,000 sq. ft of Wi-Fi range, making it great for big houses.
It comes with eight Gigabit LAN ports, which means you can use the router for several devices without sacrificing quality and speed.
Should You Get ISP Routers?
No matter what ISP service you subscribe to, they always tempt you to rent their routers, promising better performance.
You may think you can’t enjoy all the benefits of their services if you use your own router.
As a result, you may dump your old router and rent the ISP-provided router for a monthly fee.
While getting an ISP-provided router isn’t essential, it has pros and cons.
Here are the most important ones:
1. You Can Use Their Customer Support
As mentioned with Spectrum, most ISPs give you free customer services if you rent their routers.
Otherwise, you shouldn’t expect their help if you encounter any issues.
For those who aren’t technically savvy, this point may be a deciding factor to lean toward renting a router.
It gives you peace of mind that the company always has you covered, and you don’t need to look for a skillful technician to take care of your problems.
However, if you have enough knowledge, you may never want to use their services and solve issues on your own.
2. It’s Not Financially Justified
When you rent a router from an ISP, you have to pay a monthly fee to use their services.
Most of these services charge you between $5 and $10 a month to rent one of their routers.
Plus, when your plan is over and you don’t want to renew your plan, you’ll need to return the router.
However, if you consider the annual cost of the router, you’ll see that you can purchase your own modem for that price.
That’s one of the most important reasons people don’t use ISP-provided routers.
It’s even more of a financial burden if you already have a router.
In such cases, you never need the ISP-provided router and are better off with your own device.
With these monthly fees, you can buy a better router in the long run.
3. They Come With Pre-Set Features
If you lack the skill and knowledge to customize your router settings based on your preferences, a rented router is your best bet.
The technical support team will take care of everything to give you an internet connection without requiring you to get involved.
They ensure you get the best performance for your plan and keep your account protected by observing security measures.
In addition, if you get the ISP’s modem and router, you can be assured that the two devices are ideally compatible with each other, your internet plan, and the company’s infrastructure.
As a result, you don’t need to look for an ideal device or worry about incompatibility issues.
Advantages Of Store-Bought Routers
On the other hand, store-bought routers come with advantages that make them a preferred choice:
1. You’ll Get Better Specs
Most users that rent ISP-provided routers complain about weaker signals and performance compared to other routers.
Some ISPs may produce robust routers with great features, but they may not be enough for heavy usage.
For example, if you’re an average home user, an ISP-provided router may be more than enough.
If you run a business and need to connect several IP addresses to it, or if you use the router for gaming, you should get a better one.
2. Higher Speed
Today’s routers come with single, dual, and tri-band features that determine the speed of your internet connection.
Each of these bands can handle different speeds, making them suitable for different purposes.
With an ISP router, you’re less likely to get a dual or tri-band device.
If you need fast speeds, it’s better to get your own router.
3. More Customizable
Although rented routers have features already set by the technical support, you can’t change them if you want to tweak settings.
You can change your own router’s setting to increase its security, choose tunneling protocols, set dynamic DNS, or choose Wake On LAN, among others.
You can get a router with better parental control features that are harder to bypass.
You can also get a router with an app to give you better control over the router.
Another great feature on store-bought routers is QoS to prioritize and limit bandwidth.
This feature lets you assign different bandwidths to different devices and applications to optimize your internet usage.
Even if you can change the ISP-provided router’s settings, it may not give you the best performance because some of these routers only work well with the default settings.
In some cases, your router may get damaged if you try to tweak its settings.
If you don’t get enough coverage, you can’t do anything with an ISP router.
However, you can upgrade your router to a mesh network if you have your own router and place the nodes wherever you want.
4. More Security
Although your ISP makes sure your network is secure and protected, you can increase your security by getting your own router.
Routers are sensitive devices that should protect your devices through their security protocols.
However, they’re frontline devices connected to the internet, so they’re always vulnerable.
Thus, you should make sure your device features the highest security standards.
You can have more control over the firmware and fine-tune it to your needs.
These security features are even more essential if you run a business and want to set up guest networks.
Even if the ISP router allows you to set up a guest network, you can’t be sure it’s secure enough.
By setting up guest networks, you can ensure your main network is secure and your data will remain intact.