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  1. #1
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    Switch to Comcast Gateway?

    For many years I have had a separate modem and router, always buying them myself. However, we recently moved to a home where we had many obstacles that did not allow us to have a phone line through our local phone company. We finally decided to go with the phone service offered by Comcast---not our first choice, but decided to bite the bullet and go ahead. Of course, that meant that our reliable modem could no longer be used because it did not have the ability to provide phone service. Comcast tried to get us to rent their gateway, but we got the modem only so that we could continue using our router.

    I have always thought that a high-end router provided better security than a gateway, which was the reason we opted to keep our current arrangement with our router.

    However, we are now getting letters and calls from Comcast stating that we need to trade up to their gateway in order to benefit from the higher speeds available at this time. I suspect there will be no offer of an upgraded modem that would offer the higher speed, as they seem to be pushing new customers toward the gateways.

    Is it still true that a separate, high-end router will provide greater network security? Or do Comcast gateways provide good security? Are there settings that can be changed to make it more secure (like with my router), in addition to changing the administrator's password and network password? I'd like to take advantage of the higher speeds, but not at the sacrifice of greater security. Also, I suspect that eventually I will either need to replace the modem or that Comcast will no longer support it, which will force me to use the equipment they are dictating. Am I worrying about nothing? I don't have any "state secrets" on my computers, and I also have not allowed my computers to share files for added security. I have retired and no longer have client information on my computers; however, I do banking and other transactions on my computer so I want a reliable degree of protection. And, yes, I am very careful in how I use my computer and I do have antivirus software running at all times.

  2. #2
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    What speeds are you getting with the modem? Speedtest.net.
    What speeds are Comcast offering via the gateway?
    How much more does it cost and do you need the extra speed - assuming it's faster?

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I rent a combo modem/router from my local ISP. When I log onto the modem, there are areas I can't access. I'm guessing that these areas are accessible only to the ISP. In other words, I don't have full control over the modem. As I recall (it's been a while since I tried), I can't create a MAC address control list. However, I am able to rename the wifi network and change the access password. But I don't believe I can change the admin password for the modem itself.

    We often see ads which state that if you subscribe to AT&T (or whoever) for your internet service, you will have access to wifi hotspots all over the country. My guess is that the way the ISP is able to do this is that they make their rental modems available for guest access to their customers. In other words, someone from across town could access the internet via my modem if they were near my house.

    I would prefer to purchase my own modem/router. But a DSL modem is quite expensive, so I'm holding off for now.

  4. #4
    4 Star Lounger
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    The last time I needed an ADSL Modem I bought one for significantly less than fifty dollars ($50) via Amazon. A quick check just now told me that the prices have gone up a bit since I last bought one.
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  6. #5
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    See
    https://www.xfinity.com/support/inte...-cable-modems/
    for a list of Comcast approved modems if you want to supply your own.

    Jerry

  7. #6
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    Sorry I just disappeared after asking the question. DH had surgery and then I became very ill while trying to take care of him. Tried to post a reply the other day, but was unsuccessful. I'll try again, in abbreviated form.
    Speedtest results: download 95.16Mbps / upload 12.10Mbps / ping 14ms

    Comcast says they have 1Gb speed available if "upgrade to newer gateway," instead of using the current voice modem + my router. My main question is, Would their gateway combo of modem and router be as secure as my current set up? I always have thought a modem plus router is more secure. Is that still true?

    I am afraid that one day Comcast will only support gateways and I will have to switch to keep service. If so, what steps can I take to make it a secure as possible?

  8. #7
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    Change your wireless password from what Comcast will have given you for the PSK which is normally on the back of ISP supplied routers.

    My UK ISP has only ever supplied combos that I know of and it's the router's firewall that keeps things safe but some routers such as Netgear were found to be susceptible to hacking and some others prone to infection through their firmware - forget the name of the infection now.

    I know the Broadcom Chipset wasn't affected because at the time I was using my own ADSL Billion BiPac 7800N combo.

    British Telecom (BT) in the UK also provide Hotspots through their BTfon which piggy backs off your connection, but it doesn't actually share your connection or bandwidth unlike if your wireless wasn't password protected where someone near you could connect to your SSID.

    Comcast will probably using something similar.

    BTW - I'd be quite happy with the speeds you are getting without paying for more - but ISPs are always trying to get more money out of their customers.

    I'd just ignore them as your set up seems to be working fine.

  9. #8
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    +1 for status quo.

    cheers, Paul

  10. #9
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    Thank you, Sudo. I am happy with my setup, and agree I have no need for additional speed. I am quite content to stay with the setup I have now. They do offer the higher speeds with no additional cost---they just want me to "upgrade" my equipment. However, I am concerned that at some point Comcast will push us into going with the gateway modem/router combo by declaring our current modem (combined with a router of our choice) obsolete. I just wanted to proactively make sure that a gateway will provide the same level of security as my standalone router has provided. I will keep what I have now, but I also want to be prepared/informed before I might possibly have to accept the gateway.

  11. #10
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    While I've never used a separate modem and router, it's the router that broadcasts the wireless and would be the weakest part of the set up, but its firewall is usually sufficiently robust to protect from hacking, providing the firmware doesn't have any holes in it.

    I suppose there is an advantage to using a separate modem and router in that if the router goes down, you can disconnect that and wire directly to the modem.

    If their Gateway combo and higher speeds are free, you could always give the combo a try and keep your current set up as a spare, as I doubt they would want you to send back their modem - and you may even enjoy the higher speeds

    For me that would be a win win situation.

    When you use an ISP's router, they can access and auto update its firmware through the TR-069 facility, although that can be turned off, it isn't something I would advocate.

  12. #11
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo View Post
    While I've never used a separate modem and router, it's the router that broadcasts the wireless and would be the weakest part of the set up, but its firewall is usually sufficiently robust to protect from hacking, providing the firmware doesn't have any holes in it.

    I suppose there is an advantage to using a separate modem and router in that if the router goes down, you can disconnect that and wire directly to the modem.
    There are two additional advantages that I am aware of to using a separate modem and router:
    1. You can upgrade your router without having to also upgrade the modem. (It might be cheaper to upgrade just the router rather than the combo unit.)
    2. If you use Vonage or some other VOIP service, you can connect your Vonage adapter between the modem and the router, giving Vonage first dibs on bandwidth, so that you potentially have better call quality.

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