Should I buy a modem or rent it?

Should I buy a modem or rent it?

A few years ago I decided to buy my Zoom brand modem that my cable service provider recommended (Time Warner) rather than rent it for $10 per month. The modem/router combo cost $130.00 for me to purchase outright. A school of thought may be to let the service provider to retain responsibility for it and replace it as needed to fit with their continuous upgrading – seems like a smart way to go if you want to keep a relatively hands-free way of maintaining good internet connectivity. There’s merit to that philosophy.

However, I found a hugely unique advantage to buying my modem/router outright that I never expected

Over time, I found my connectivity to slowly be degrading. I was scanning my system for spyware and malicious code and such, and yet everything was coming up clean (still love my Macs!). Eventually the signal was dropping intermittently and even went off-line for a couple hours.

Obviously, I called Time Warner and had them run tests that led to a service call. I had a knowledgeable and conscientious tech rep come out, and after running many tests, determined that it was probably coming from a loose connection at a nearby phone pole. He explained how I was going to be really happy with my increased speed due to the interference caused at this formally loose connection. I checked it. Thanked him enthusiastically and went back to work.

The next day, the connection dropped again completely. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy. It took them a couple days to send out another tech.

The next tech seemed equally expert in his craft. He tested tons of connections, and finally told me how he found old connectors in my basement that were surely causing me to lose performance. Again, I thanked him enthusiastically… but, found my internet to go out again about 30 minutes upon his departure. Back to phone tech support.

The Payoff

They now said that since everything that could possibly be tested and repaired had been repaired, that I really had to explore my own modem/router – even though it was only three years old. So, I went onto their site to research their recommended brands, and bought a top-of-the-line Netgear modem/router that promises more download/upload time than even my service provider guarantees.

IT SCREAMS!

My point: If I would’ve rented their own modem… or modem/router (my case), that would’ve been the first thing they would’ve checked and replaced and I would still have the leaky, outdated connections in my lines. I’m now confident that my cable lines are producing as much signal as my modem can handle.

My previous modem/router cost me ($130/36 months) $3.6/month. It more than paid for itself considering they wanted to charge me $10/month for it. My new one cost me $210.00, BUT, I’m assured that my connecting lines are perfect and I have a top of the line modem!

My productivity has increased. Heck, my mood while working has improved considerably. I expect that I’ll be going thru these motions again in three years, and I’ll look forward to it – knowing that they’re going to shore up all of their own lines again for the hidden leakage problems that occur, and MY modem/router will be that last suspect.

If I need to upgrade again at that point, I’ll be more than happy to do so.

Bottom line: Buy your own modem!

Barry Edwards

Barry Edwards, creative director and principal of Edwards Communications, is a web developer and branding aficionado. Barry’s background and education is rooted in graphic design and online marketing, and teaching presentations.

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