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Standard User TreeHugger
(regular) Sat 30-Sep-17 12:19:49
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How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


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I've been browsing this forum for a while trying to find out what new broadband modem I should buy, but the more I read the more I realise how ignorant I am.

As far as what I want, I've only got two real preferences: I want it to last for years and I want it to be super-reliable. As part of that equation or perhaps a third personal preference, I want a stand-alone modem because I'm setting up my own router and access points.

Someone told me to make sure I buy a modem with a Broadcom chipset because I'm with BT Business, but I've also been reading that I should check out what the BT cabinet is, and that might mean I should get a Huwei modem but to be honest I'm out of my depth now so I figured I'd ask.

I'm in London and the BT exchange building is about 500 yards round the corner, and there are multiple cabinets in the area.

Some of them get treated really badly! I see the doors swinging open, or even knocked over, with a plaintive Virgin Broadband notice visible telling me to text a number with info. Not sure if BT and Virgin share cabinets? I guess so.

So how do I work out what BT have got in the way of hardware on their side and what that means in terms of the best choice of modem?

Thanks!
Adam
Standard User BatBoy
(sensei) Sat 30-Sep-17 12:23:54
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: TreeHugger] [link to this post]
 
Put your phone number in www.dslchecker.bt.com and that will display which number cabinet you are connected to on which exchange.

Then lookup your exchange and cabinet number on www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm to find out the make - Huawei or ECI
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sat 30-Sep-17 12:43:43
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: TreeHugger] [link to this post]
 
BT and Virgin Media do not share cabinets

Generally if unsure then go for a Broadcom based chipset modem e.g. the HG612 and then buy whatever router suits your pocket

As for lasting for years, broadband changes on such a cycle that life spans of 2 to 3 years is all you can plan for.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.


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Standard User TreeHugger
(regular) Sat 30-Sep-17 12:47:30
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
Good tip! Thanks.

It's Huawei.

What does that mean for the Broadcom chipset argument?

I read that BT are doing a roll-out somewhere for G.fast I think - can't find the link now - providing Huawei stand-alone modems with some other router. I'll have to look into this.
Standard User Andrue
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 30-Sep-17 12:48:05
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: TreeHugger] [link to this post]
 
You are overthinking it. It's just another consumer electronics box. They are all about equal in terms of reliability and most likely performance as well. Routers can have differences (routing speed, wifi performance) but a modem is a modem. Yes, pairing chipset to cabinet is the ideal but everything is built to the same internationally agreed standard. If there is any difference resulting from a mismatch it'll likely be small.

It's barely worth any more thought than you'd put into buying a microwave oven.

---
Andrue Cope
Brackley, UK
Standard User Andrue
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 30-Sep-17 12:52:36
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: TreeHugger] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by TreeHugger:
It's Huawei.

What does that mean for the Broadcom chipset argument?
Not a great deal. Possibly a 5% difference in speed at the most if you get the 'wrong' chipset.
I read that BT are doing a roll-out somewhere for G.fast I think - can't find the link now - providing Huawei stand-alone modems with some other router. I'll have to look into this.
Something else not to worry yourself about. At least not yet. Modems are not an investment. They aren't something you buy in order to last a lifetime. They are cheap, almost consumable items. In another couple of years you'll likely replace it anyway.

---
Andrue Cope
Brackley, UK

Edited by Andrue (Sat 30-Sep-17 12:53:04)

Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Sat 30-Sep-17 13:09:31
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: TreeHugger] [link to this post]
 
A Virgin Broadband number on a notice to call will be a VM Cable cabinet. Nothing to do with Openreach/BT FTTC.

VM cabinets normally have a stencilled number of eight or none digits or so. Openreach cabinets have a 2-digit number, occasionally a 3-digit. A couple of years ago there were a couple in the country with 4-digits but that's all.

Pictures of most Openreach cabinets and some VM ones. The VM ones vary a lot as they were installed by several different business that have all merged into VM.

A couple of recent Openreach cabinets are missing from the page, the All-in-One (AIO) type that have been introduced. The look very much like the normal Huawei and ECI in design.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - AAISP Home::1 80/20. 200GB. Sync 72313/12530Kbps @ 600m. BQMs - IPv4 & IPv6
Standard User BatBoy
(sensei) Sat 30-Sep-17 13:54:07
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: TreeHugger] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by TreeHugger:
Good tip! Thanks.

It's Huawei.

What does that mean for the Broadcom chipset argument?
A Broadcom chipset is best suited to a Huawei cabinet.
Standard User TreeHugger
(regular) Sat 30-Sep-17 14:20:20
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
Fab. Now to find a list of broadcom chipset modems.
Standard User TreeHugger
(regular) Sat 30-Sep-17 14:37:04
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Re: How do I work out which modem will be best for me?


[re: Andrue] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Andrue:
You are overthinking it. It's just another consumer electronics box. They are all about equal in terms of reliability and most likely performance as well. Routers can have differences (routing speed, wifi performance) but a modem is a modem. Yes, pairing chipset to cabinet is the ideal but everything is built to the same internationally agreed standard. If there is any difference resulting from a mismatch it'll likely be small.

It's barely worth any more thought than you'd put into buying a microwave oven.


Took me a while to choose my microwave oven too wink

I get your drift in terms of consumer electronics and limited life spans but why? My two current modems are 12 years old and I'll be fine giving them away on freecycle - and they will get taken, no question.

In terms of what limits a modem's life span, what are you talking about? If I get a modem that will also do fibre (not sure I can though) then I envisage it lasting a decade, with luck. Or is there a test for 'aging' a modem/router with a test score that tells me if I should bin it or not?

My current modems - one is a D-Link, the other a Netgear - I have no idea whether they just need better configuring or are old and knackered.
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