Combo Unit DSL VS Separate Router/Modem

razer90

Member
Hi guys,

I'm not a tech head and need a bit of advice.

I'm currently debating getting a ASUS DSL-AC88U or RT-AX88U

Now from research I've seen that the DSL is a combo unit whereas the RT requires a separate modem.

My questions are:



  1. What's the benefit of having a separate modem/router? (an example would be great)
  2. I read that your ISP can control your combo unit (Not sure if this is the case with a third party combo unit)
  3. Any speed benefits? Better wifi, more powerful etc.
  4. If I do go the separate route would you recommend a DrayTek Vigor 130 or Huawei Hg612
  5. Are all modems basically the same or is there benefits to having a certain one
I appreciate all your responses!
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
1. Separates is 2 boxes, combo is 1. With separates you have to ensure they will "work" with each other and your ISP. With a combo - esp. if the ISP provides it, it should "just work." Of course, 2 boxes need two power sockets.

2. Depends on the ISP. Most don't. You'll have to check the T&C's.

3. Wi-Fi and ISP links are unrelated. It's just that in a SOHO "omni box" the widgets that facilitate both just happen to be in the same physical box. Of course, that means you can't change one without the other. Faster Wi-Fi links does not imply faster ISP link and vice versa.

Wi-Fi transmit power is limited by law; most it is, and always has been, at or near the permitted max. When ISP's boast theirs is "the most powerful router yet" note that they often don't explicitly state that they are talking about Wi-Fi Tx power. They leave you to infer that, but it could literally mean anything - faster routing engine, faster ethernet, faster firewall for example. Almost never is it more radio Tx power as it would be illegal.

Besides "more power" (even if it were possible) is not the universal cure all for better Wi-Fi - it could actually make it worse. If you have Wi-Fi coverage problems, more AP's is what's required 95% of the time, not more transmit power (from the AP - notice this does nothing for the client-->AP transmissions - Wi-Fi is a two way "conversation" like walkie talkies, not a one way "lecture" like television.)
 

razer90

Member
1. Separates is 2 boxes, combo is 1. With separates you have to ensure they will "work" with each other and your ISP. With a combo - esp. if the ISP provides it, it should "just work." Of course, 2 boxes need two power sockets.

2. Depends on the ISP. Most don't. You'll have to check the T&C's.

3. Wi-Fi and ISP links are unrelated. It's just that in a SOHO "omni box" the widgets that facilitate both just happen to be in the same physical box. Of course, that means you can't change one without the other. Faster Wi-Fi links does not imply faster ISP link and vice versa.

Wi-Fi transmit power is limited by law; most it is, and always has been, at or near the permitted max. When ISP's boast theirs is "the most powerful router yet" note that they often don't explicitly state that they are talking about Wi-Fi Tx power. They leave you to infer that, but it could literally mean anything - faster routing engine, faster ethernet, faster firewall for example. Almost never is it more radio Tx power as it would be illegal.

Besides "more power" (even if it were possible) is not the universal cure all for better Wi-Fi - it could actually make it worse. If you have Wi-Fi coverage problems, more AP's is what's required 95% of the time, not more transmit power (from the AP - notice this does nothing for the client-->AP transmissions - Wi-Fi is a two way "conversation" like walkie talkies, not a one way "lecture" like television.)
Thanks for your response, so are there more features to having separate boxes i.e unlocked features as not ISP locked?

Also in your opinion what is the route to go down combo or separate
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
It depends on the boxes you select - there's no simple correlation between the feature set and whether it's one box or two.

I have no strong opinion on whether integrated or separates it better. At the moment, I have separates because that's how BT installed the service for me. But I've had integrated in the past. I can't say either way was "better" for the SOHO use case.

Having your Wi-Fi system and your wired ethernet separate from your router - now that's an entire separate (no pun intended) discussion!
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
Generally a modem will be a modem will be modem. Having a separate modem is unlikely to provide you with any more features than an integrated modem / router. Yes different chipsets in the modem maybe slightly better / worse depending on the chipset manufacturer for the DSLAM but we are talking tiny amounts of difference. A separate modem will give you the ability to swap your router out without resetting your internet connection and will provide you with more 'choice' of modems , router/modems but not much more. I have a separate modem because I use a UDMP as my router, but the modem element gives me no more performance than my BT Home Hub did. I only bought a separate modem as you cant put the non-business HH's into modem only mode.

I am in the same camp as @mickevh I have no preference either way. There are lots of great solutions whichever way you go.
 

leasty

Active Member
It can also vary depending on your ISP. I'm with BT and unless you use the supplied BT Smarthub or an Openreach modem, then they will want you to swap back to their equipment if you suspect any problems with the line or speed. The BT Smarthub can't be put into modem mode so if you want to use your own router because it gives you better facilities than the SH2, then using an Openreach modem is the logical choice. I use the Openreach branded MT992 modem with an Asus router behind it and that works well. That gives me better control over the wifi and I'm not forced into using BT's DNS servers.

If you are with an ISP whose kit can be put into modem mode you can then use whatever router suits you. Worst case is where the ISP only works with their own kit and you can't put it into modem mode - Sky? (yes, I know there are modem/routers out there than can "talk" Sky but you need to be aware of the issues).
 

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