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ISP Modems & Routers

06/06/13

ISP Modems & Routers

Permalink 09:00:00 am by Eugene Gardner, Categories: General, Articles, Technical Tips

Having recently been away I was interested to record the speed of my Internet connection after the modem was powered up for the first time in a week. There is conflicting advice in fora about whether the speed training cycle restarts after such a long or frequent breaks in service causing a drop in performance for the next 10 days. Well, I resumed at exactly the same speed I had enjoyed before the holiday so that?s one myth busted.

Soon after I returned I noticed that uploads were fine but my download speed was lower than a snake?s belly. Replacing the broken router with my reserve model resolved the problem except that I was then downloading at about 82% of the former speed. For several days I switched between the free modem/router that the ISP provided and a shop bought model and monitored the speed each day for a week. That all leads me to the following conclusions:

  • Powering off your modem each night (after the initial 10 days) will not cause a loss of performance. However you will only save about 5 watts * 12 hours * 365 days * 15p per Kwh = 3.28 off the electricity bill in a year.
  • Free modem/routers from your ISP are worth having as a backup, but the features and performance of wired connections is often worse, and wireless always worse than that of a decent modem/router you buy for 80 - 100.

Note that some ISPs will prevent you from using your own modem/router (by withholding the password on the free one they provide and denying support for others). There are often devious ways to circumvent this: I can supply details for Sky, BT & Virgin Media. But the best course is to choose an ISP with not just an eye on the monthly fee but also the level of technical support they provide.

For a recommendation of router and/or ISP that is current at the time you read this please ask me. To automatically monitor your broadband speed periodically check out JDautoSpeedTester at http://www.gmwsoftware.co.uk/

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