Consumer Reports: Buying your own internet router, modem

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Buying a modem and router yourself is nearly always a better idea than renting the devices from your cable company. (WLS)

A lawsuit filed earlier this year against Time Warner Cable is a reminder that buying a modem and router yourself, is nearly always a better idea than renting the devices from your cable company. On average, Americans spend more than $100 each month on their cable bill. But Consumer Reports says you can save about 10 percent a month if you buy your modem or router instead of renting.

High-speed Internet is no longer a luxury. For most people, WiFi is now a necessity, like any other utility. To get the signal, you need a modem. Then you use router to distribute the signal. Many people pay their internet provider to rent this equipment without even knowing it.

"If you're renting a router, you're probably paying anywhere from $5 to $10 a month or up to $120 a year. You can buy a very good router for $100 to $150 so you're gonna pay for it in the first year," said Jim Willcox of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports says a router from Asus is a Best Buy at $100. But money isn't the only reason to buy your own.

"A lot of times, the router that you're gonna get from the cable company doesn't have the latest technology. So it may not perform as well as one that you buy yourself," Willcox said.

Also, routers haven't really been known for their good looks, but Consumer Reports says that's changing with sleek-looking designs you can display.

"We're in a golden age of router design right now. So you don't even have to hide it out of site," Willcox said.

Other router options include mesh networks like the Eero or Google WiFi, where several routers work together to provide WiFi coverage throughout your house.

Many of these high tech options are expensive. Eero costs $500 for three. Google WiFi costs $300 for three. But Consumer Reports says these types of routers provide higher levels of performance you may need.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org

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