Just a couple decades ago, people didn’t go online for much more than email, news, and shopping. Now, the internet is often used for highly demanding applications, such as HD streaming video and live multiplayer video games.

More people work from home now as well, and their livelihood depends on a fast and reliable internet connection.

This is what makes your router selection so important. If you don’t make the right choice, it can have an enormous impact on your daily life.

Why You Shouldn’t Rent a Router

Like most internet service providers (ISPs), Spectrum allows customers to rent a router from them.

Technically, Spectrum doesn’t charge a “rental” fee anymore. They previously rented out modems at a rate of $10 per month, but this service was discontinued after the company was acquired by Time Warner Cable.

Instead, Spectrum includes a combination modem/router (gateway) at no cost with your contract, but they charge a $5 per month “Wi-Fi service” fee if you use it for wireless internet.

A $5 per month fee doesn’t seem like a large expense. It’s clearly not a good deal, though, when you consider that there are wireless routers available for as low as $20. In just a handful of months, buying a router can prove to be a better investment than renting from Spectrum.

Before you commit to buying your own router, pull up your online account or call Spectrum to confirm that you are currently paying $5 per month for Wi-Fi. That’s their standard rate, but they may have waived the fee as part of a promotion or personalized offer. If the fee stills stands, you’ll be better off buying your own router.

What is a Router?

Unless you have firsthand experience with information technology, shopping for a router can be confusing.

For example, when comparing two router options, you may notice that one is dual band while another is tri band. Will that difference actually affect how you use the internet? What does “dual band” or “tri band” even mean, anyway?

You can’t make an informed decision regarding your router selection until you familiarize yourself with the terminology associated with routers. Here’s a crash course on what you need to know:

Modem: A device that connects to the internet provided by your ISP. You can access the internet directly through a modem by connecting it to a computer with an ethernet cable.

Router: A device that connects to a modem and establishes a wireless network.

802.11ac: The current standard for wireless networking.

802.11n: The wireless networking standard before 802.11ac. Routers of this generation are still functional, but 802.11ac routers are significantly faster.

Local Area Network (LAN) Port: A socket that allows you to establish a wired connection to the internet. Also known as an ethernet port.

Single Band: Wifi works on two frequency bands, 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz. 2.4 Ghz has more range and worse performance, while 5 Ghz has less range and better performance. Single band routers can only use the 2.4 Ghz frequency band, making them vulnerable to interference from other devices (cellphones, televisions, etc.).

Dual Band: A dual band router supports both the 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz frequency bands, which results in a faster and more reliable connection compared to single band routers.

Tri Band: A tri band router uses one 2.4 Ghz frequency band and two 5 Ghz frequency bands, making it the best-performing type of router.

Megabits per second (Mbps): The standard unit for measuring internet speed. 1,000 Mbps is equal to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps).

How much speed do you need?

To put Mbps figures into context, consider the following:

  • The average download speed in the United States is 94 Mbps.
  • The FCC defines “broadband” internet as having 25 Mbps or higher download speeds.
  • Netflix recommends 5 Mbps for HD video streaming on a single device.
  • It only takes a few seconds to test your current speed for reference.
  • Top 6 Routers for Spectrum

    The right router for you, of course, depends on your situation. If you’re only paying for 100 Mbps internet, there’s no reason to invest in a router that can go up to 1.5 Gbps. Conversely, if you’re paying for 1.5 Gbps internet, buying a router with a max speed lower than that will slow down your service.

    Budget is another concern. Generally, you get what you pay for. Faster speeds and extra features come at the cost of higher prices.

    Keep these factors in mind while reviewing the best available Spectrum routers listed below:

    Finding a router that fits your needs is essential for seamless internet service. We hope the information in this article helps you find the best router for your Spectrum internet connection. Happy browsing!

    About The Author

    Patrick Ward

    Patrick Ward

    Patrick Ward is the Consulting Editor for High Speed Experts, a broadband connectivity search engine and IT industry education platform. A writer by trade, Patrick has worked extensively across the insurance, real estate, finance, travel, and tech industries, with notable clients including Allianz, Cathay Pacific, and Fiji Airways.He is currently a member of the Forbes Communications Council, an invitation-only organization for senior-level communications executives. He earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies), majoring in Marketing and Political Science, from the University of Sydney.

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