Please direct me to the appropriate boxes.
September 12, 2013 8:30 AM   Subscribe

I finally caved and got cable and internet from Comcast (Xfinity). I now need to get a wireless router and modem. I have the Performance level of internet from them. According to Comcase I need DOCSIS 3 modem. They have a list of devices they support, but only one is a modem/wifi router combo.

1 - Do I actually need DOCSIS 3? I have no idea what this is.

2 - Can I get an all in one or do I need two boxes? Do I need to get one of the specific ones listed as "recommended" by Comcast? Or will anything work? I have Clear right now and like that I have one little box (altho it's service sucks, which is why I'm biting the bullet. Ugh Ugh Ugh.)

I stream Netflix, HBO Go, and Pandora. I do not torrent or download movies from iTunes or anywhere. I don't know if this makes any sort of difference in regard to the type of router of modem.

Devices: Apple TV 2 (i think, might be a 3? got it within the last 6 months or year. ), iphone 5, ipad mini, macbook air, brother wireless printer, Wii.

Thinking about what to buy is making my head hurt. The last time I went through this years ago, some guy at Staples talked me into some Cisco thing that was supposed to be "easy" but was a PITA - it had some USB key and very weird interface. I have no qualms about plugging/unplugging cables, etc. I am just very out of the loop on the devices/brands these days. Willing to order from newegg or amazon or wherever.

Thanks for help!
posted by sio42 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Wirecutter recommends this modem and this and this for routers, depending on your price range. I think the modem and either of the routers would probably be fine for your needs.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:36 AM on September 12, 2013

A DOCSIS 3 modem will ensure that you get all of the speed that you're paying for. The Motorola Surfboard series should be available at places like and Best Buy. It probably IS a good idea to get something that Comcast recommends, although I bought a modem that they didn't recommend at the time (as it was too new for them to review, I guess) and it worked fine.

Don't get an all-in-one - they are always bad, and I am not sure a DOCSIS 3 all-in-one exists, anyhow. With your equipment, I'd just recommend getting an Apple Airport (an Express would probably be fine).
posted by destructive cactus at 8:39 AM on September 12, 2013

I just got the same exact service and I got the cable modem linked above. You will need a separate router. The modem/router combo is more common in DSL service.
posted by cakebatter at 8:39 AM on September 12, 2013

I've got a DOSCIS 3 cable modem / wifi router combo unit for use with Xfinity. I bought it at Best Buy - can't remember the brand at the moment though. I wouldn't recommend it though. It works fine, but it isn't as flexible as I would like. I could not edit the DNS server settings at the router level. I had to do it on every machine in my house instead.
posted by COD at 8:50 AM on September 12, 2013

The airport express would be my router then?
posted by sio42 at 8:55 AM on September 12, 2013

Thirding the Motorola SB6141 cable modem pick from the Wirecutter. I just bought one of these last month after Time Warner increased our rental fee from $3 to $6 per month (WTF?). Do NOT save $5 and buy it in the black OEM version - those are apparently the ISP version and the ones that show up online are frequently pre-owned and problematic. Get the version in white. You'll be reasonably future-proofed.

Also, don't get a combo router/modem.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:56 AM on September 12, 2013

The airport express would be my router then?

The Airport Express could be a router but you still need a cable modem, and the Airport Express is not a cable modem. Unless you get an all-in-one, you would need a router (e.g. the Airport Express) and a cable modem (e.g. what Comcast rents, or you buy your own).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:01 AM on September 12, 2013

Right. I knew I needed the separate modem. Just wasn't sure of the Airport was in addition to a router or was a router.

Thanks all!
posted by sio42 at 9:03 AM on September 12, 2013

I would use a separate modem and router (a total of two boxes). I bought an integrated unit to use with Time Warner cable - lo and behold, it only does Wireless-N on the 2.4 gHz band and not the 5 gHz band, which means that in my Wi-fi congested apartment building I am back to using cables. I think all of the provider-approved models are likely to be expensive, under-spec'd crap as well.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:03 AM on September 12, 2013

Devices: Apple TV 2 (i think, might be a 3? got it within the last 6 months or year. ), iphone 5, ipad mini, macbook air, brother wireless printer, Wii.

All your devices have wireless capability, so you'd be fine with an Airport Express. If you need to plug in a wired device, you'll need a router with a switch. You could look at an Airport Extreme or other router, at that point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:17 AM on September 12, 2013

Ah, thanks for that clarification BP.

I wasn't quite sure what the difference was. Everything i have is wireless so Express it is.
posted by sio42 at 2:31 PM on September 12, 2013

« Older Special Snowflake Cover Letter   |   Compatibility without conversation Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.