Renting vs. Buying a Modem and Router

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Satellite internet service customers can find many ways to keep their monthly bill to a minimum. No matter which provider you choose, fees and other charges add up quickly. This is most evident with the cost of renting a modem and/or router, which on average is over $10 per month. 

While most equipment from internet providers is perfectly capable, you may have access to more advanced technologies that can provide faster internet speeds or better signal coverage throughout your home. This begs the question…is it better to buy your own modem and router? Here’s a look at the benefits between renting vs. buying a modem and router. 

Modem and Router: What’s the Difference?

The term “modem” and “router” are often used interchangeably when describing a device that connects users to the internet. But they are different. A modem is the device that connects to your internet service provider’s network. It is the go-between device that establishes internet connectivity. 

A router is a device that connects your devices to each other and to the modem either through a wired or wireless connection. Even if you didn’t have a modem, all of the devices in your household could connect to each other through the router. But the modem is the key piece to connecting to the internet. There are many devices that are two-in-one gadgets, where the modem and router designed as a single device. This is often called a gateway.

Owning Can Save Money

If you’re looking to save money, you certainly can by purchasing your own equipment. A modem and router combo that is of comparable quality to what internet providers offer as a rental will cost around $120. Although you’ll have to pay for it up front, you can typically recoup your investment in about ten months. Assuming the average cost of renting is $14 a month, you could save $48 the first year, and then $168 each year after that. 

As long as your satellite internet provider charges at least $9.90 or more per month, you will save money. When you purchase your own equipment and save this much, you me able to spring for a faster satellite internet plan, or to subscribe to your favorite streaming services.

Benefits of Ownership

Do you have an older house with plaster walls or a large house that would benefit from a mesh router? Are you an online gamer who needs a router that minimizes lag during key matches? Investing in your own equipment based on your lifestyle can pay dividends in the long term by improving your overall experience and giving you the flexibility to get the equipment you need. Plus, as we mentioned above, the one-time purchase can be more cost-effective than ongoing rental fees. Having personal equipment gives you more control over security settings and firmware updates, and there’s no risk of unexpected rental fee hikes.

Benefits of Renting

Renting a modem or router from an internet provider offers several advantages. It eliminates the upfront cost of purchasing your own equipment. Rented gear often comes with full technical support, ensuring any hiccups are quickly addressed without additional fees. Additionally, providers usually replace malfunctioning equipment at no extra charge and offer free upgrades when newer technology becomes available. This ensures that you always have up-to-date devices optimized for their service. Furthermore, compatibility issues are virtually non-existent, as providers furnish equipment tailored to their network’s specifications.

Choosing a Modem & Router 

Modems and routers can be purchased separately or as a combined device. Most experts agree that separate devices will yield higher performance, but if you’re after maximum savings, a combined device will work just fine. 

A standalone router will work with almost any modem, and you can choose one based on your needs. However, a modem or combo unit must match your satellite internet service provider’s specifications. Always check with your provider to ensure the equipment you want to purchase meets the requirements of your service. 

Final Thoughts

The choice to rent or purchase your internet equipment is yours, outside of ensuring it meets your internet provider’s requirements. One benefit to renting is that some internet service providers will distribute upgraded equipment as it becomes available. So, staying ahead of the technology curve is built in to your monthly rental fee. The cost of renting a modem and router varies by provider, so enter your zip code below to see what internet service providers are available near you and what options you have to rent or purchase your own equipment.