As you may recall from a week ago, I received a portentous letter from the cable company. It said that if I did not accept back their phone service, I would need to return my current modem and buy a new modem from them, or else rent one from them at $6.99/mo.
In addition, their website advised, “…some modems that have been purchased from a second hand vendor, such as online auctions, garage sales, pawn shops, may not work on (our) High Speed Internet service.”
All this, I had termed an instance of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), induced by the prospect of removing a complicated working product and attempting to replace it.
Since then, I have talked with tech support on the phone. The tech told me that if you buy the modem from them, you can hook it up, then call them, and they will “zap it” into working order. If in the future you have a problem requiring a trip to your house, and the tech finds third party equipment on the line such as might be purchased on eBay, that you would almost certainly be charged for a service call.
He added that their prices are competitive, so it really wouldn’t be worth it to save a few bucks by purchasing a modem online. Later browsing on Amazon confirmed this statement to be true for a new modem, slightly less so for the combo modem/router units they offer.
So which modem to select?
From their website: “DOCSIS 2.0: These older generation devices will work with (the bottom two tiers of internet service), although DOCSIS 3.0 (8 x 4) equipment is recommended for all packages due to the network efficiencies it provides.”
In theory, we could use one, since we use the next-to-bottom tier. They have a list of DOCSIS 2.0 modems that will work on the lower tiers, though “not recommended”. A second-hand or refurbished model should suffice, IF the cable company will work with it.
Again from their website: “DOCSIS 3.0: The current industry standard of DOCSIS, and works with all Internet packages. Many DOCSIS 3.0 devices are also IPv6 compliant.”
The IPv6 standard will ultimately replace the current standard, as the latter is running out of Internet addresses, so perhaps this could be a valid concern at some point.
Also recommended on the site is a DOCSIS 3.0 WiFi modem which “combines a cable modem, router and wireless access point in a single device”.
This may well be convenient, but also would make it potentially more difficult in the future to change providers.
Yesterday, I visited one of their stores. The helpful specialist gave me the model number of the modem carried in stock, Arris SB6182. Price: $89. Amazon price for the Motorola SB6180: $90. (The SB6182 is the successor to the SB6180. The Arris was manufactured by Motorola as of last year, according to this post).
I must admit to a slight bit of beFUDdlement at this point about the best course to take. Should I attempt to use a refurbished DOCSIS 2.0 modem, or just go with a new DOCSIS 3.0?
(Update: The modem currently provided to us by the cable company is an Arris TM402P, which is DOCSIS 2.0. It is doing all we need. So I ordered a used DOCSIS 2.0 Linksys BEFCMU10v3 cable modem on eBay for $15, due to arrive next Friday. ‘FUD III: The Conclusion’ to follow after attempted installation.)