Should I replace the ISP's modem/router?

PC_112

Active Member
Hello,

My ISP provides the ZTE 268 modem/router/Wi-Fi access point.

I will certainly be using my own switch and WiFi Access points (from either Ubiquiti or TP-Link) but I wonder if I will benefit from using my own router as well (e.g. ubiquiti's "Dream Machine Pro"). I can do this my using the provided device into "bridge mode" which turns it into just a modem.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
It depends; if the DM offers some features that you want that your ISP router doesn't. If not, then no, an ISP router will be just fine as long as it's fast enough to handle the amount of WAN-to-LAN traffic your service provides (and they are are hardly likely to have provided you with one that doesn't.)

If you had dozens and dozens of devices frequently accessing the Internet, it's possible an ISP router won't have the RAM to handle all the NAT translations - but unfortunately most SOHO routers don't give you any tools to monitor this.

Be sure to understand you cannot turn a SOHO router into a modem by just "saying so" - modem mode is a distinct operating state that you would have to enable through the admin interface and not many SOHO routers offer it.

I wouldn't over think it - if your ISP router is working fine, then just keep using it unless/until you have a reason not to. Viz: There's no need to trade in you Nissan Krappee for a BMW just because all the neighbours have got one.

Unless your inner geek wants to have a play with the features of the DM and see what it offer. If you don't mind the disruption to domestic harmony making the changes will cause for a day or so!
 
Last edited:

PC_112

Active Member
It depends; if the DM offers some features that you want that your ISP router doesn't. If not, then no, an ISP router will be just fine as long as it's fast enough to handle the amount of WAN-to-LAN traffic your service provides (and they are are hardly likely to have provided you with one that doesn't.)

If you had dozens and dozens of devices frequently accessing the Internet, it's possible an ISP router won't have the RAM to handle all the NAT translations - but unfortunately most SOHO routers don't give you any tools to monitor this.

Be sure to understand you cannot turn a SOHO router into a modem by just "saying so" - modem mode is a distinct operating state that you would have to enable through the admin interface and not many SOHO routers offer it.

I wouldn't over think it - if your ISP router is working fine, then just keep using it unless/until you have a reason not to. Viz: There's no need to trade in you Nissan Krappee for a BMW just because all the neighbours have got one.

Unless your inner geek wants to have a play with the features of the DM and see what it offer. If you don't mind the disruption to domestic harmony making the changes will cause for a day or so!
Thanks for your answer.

This is for a home network of a new house and I want to get everything right from the beginning. The ISP I am planning to use told me that I can have access to the admin interface and that the device can be set-up in bridge mode, so I can use my own router if I want to.

I don't think I have a need for any advanced features, but I don't know if a not so good router can reduce the performance of my home network. We currently have 5 mobiles phones, 3 tablets, 3 computers, and a couple of streaming boxes online, and in the future we also probably have a few "smart" devices, so it isn't impossible that several devices will be trying to access the internet at the same time.

Could the router and/or modem be a bottleneck?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
In the field of data networking (and IT in general) everything has finite capacity. If you remove one bottleneck, then all you do is shift the "honour" of being the bottleneck to the next slowest thing. The "game" in designing a solution is about ensure everything has enough capacity to meet the predicted needs, and a bit more to give yourself some headroom. There's no perfect Nirvana that can meet all needs in all use cases. But there doesn't need to be. No point in buying a Ferrari if all I ever do is nip to the shops twice a week for some milk and the papers. A Nissan Krappee will be more than good enough.

It's highly unlikely an ISP will supply a router that does not have the WAN-to-LAN routing capacity to handle the package they are supplying you. 10 clients or so is nothing to worry about.

But if you really want to get into the "numbers game," I like a US web site called SmallNetBuilder who tests a respectable amount of SOHO kit and does a better job than many of objectively and methodically testing it. You could take a look and see if he's tested your router and see what his numbers are.

You may be over thinking this - just try it when you get there and see how well it works, then fix any problems if you have them rather than deciding in advance that you're going to have issue. For a new service (which I presume it will be for a new property) if it's not working well, then the first port of call should be the ISP rather than trying to "fix" it yourself. Don't fall into the trap of "won't call the supplier-itis" - I see this so often from colleagues in the business who seem determined never to call the vendor. You're paying them, if what they supply doesn't work, it's up to them to fix it, but they won't know unless you contact them. Think of it this way: If the windows fell out of a new build house, would you call the builder or fix it yourself..? If you bought a new car and it wouldn't start, would you call the garage or fix it yourself..?
 

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