How to compare modem specs and buy the best one

Modem specificationsWith so many modems on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one for our Internet connection. Buying the most expensive model available now is not always synonymous with maximum speed and excellent coverage: you should always check the modem specifications and verify that it meets certain fundamental requirements for a modern connection device.In the guide that follows we will show you how to compare the specifications of the modems on the market and how to always buy the best modem for the type of Internet connection, you are currently using. In this guide, we talk about modems as an apparatus for direct connection to the Internet (therefore it connects directly to the telephone socket or to fiber optic cables), but the specifications shown are also fine for simple routers (from connecting in cascade to the proprietary modem provided by the operator).

READ ALSO -> Differences between Modem and Router and different types

Protocolli Wireless

The first parameter to check on the chosen modem is the number of supported wireless protocols. This parameter is very important to avoid buying modems that are already old or with a few years on their shoulders. A modern modem must support the following wireless protocols:

  • Wi-Fi 6: it is the most recent protocol, able to operate on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies simultaneously. This protocol offers a maximum speed of between 600 and 9608 Megabits per second and represents, at the time of writing, the pinnacle of wireless technology. This protocol can also be identified with the abbreviation “AX” (present in the modem names) or with the name IEEE 802.11ax.
  • Wi-Fi 5: this protocol is still very widespread and used since it allows to reach very high speeds between 433 and 6933 Megabits per second. This protocol operates exclusively on the 5 GHz frequency and consequently suffers a coverage problem (its signal can only be locked in one or two rooms). This protocol can also be identified with the abbreviation “AC” (present in the modem names) or with the name IEEE 802.11ac.
  • Wi-Fi 4: this is the oldest protocol still supported by modern modems, capable of guaranteeing a maximum speed of between 72 and 600 Megabits per second. It operates on both the 2.4 GHz frequency and the 5 GHz frequency and is recognizable on modems with the abbreviation “N” (present in the modem names) or with the name IEEE 802.11n.

Whatever modem you choose, let’s make sure it supports these three protocols, so you can be sure of buying a modern dual-band modem. We avoid buying models that only feature Wi-Fi 4 (with N300, and N150 in the name): these modems are too old and now obsolete in all respects.

The best modem with Wi-Fi 6 support is without a doubt the AVM FRITZ! Box 7530 AX WI-FI 6.

READ ALSO: Advantages of using a FRITZ! Box for your home network

Modem security

The security of the Wi-Fi connection should not be underestimated, since all our devices will rely on the encryption offered by the modem to avoid unwanted intrusions. Currently, the best security standards for Wi-Fi connection are:

  • WPA3: it is the newest security standard and, consequently, the most difficult to violate. Being backward compatible with WPA2 allows you to connect even devices that do not support WPA3, so as to maintain excellent compatibility with all the devices we have already purchased.
  • WPA2-AES: this is the minimum standard that we must use for the protection of our Wi-Fi connection, being quite robust against all types of cyber attacks (although less resistant than WPA3).

When we buy a modem we make sure that these two standards are present, so that we can connect the devices in complete safety. When configuring the wireless network make sure to choose a strong password and to choose WPA3 or WPA2-AES as a safety standard, avoiding obsolete standards such as WEP, WPA, WPA-AES e WPA-TKIP.

A good router with WPA3 support is the Tenda RX9 Pro Router Wi-Fi 6 AX3000.

To learn more, we can read our guide on how to secure home WiFi and protect yourself from network intrusion.

Compatibility with optical fiber

A state-of-the-art modem must have a port Internet (also called DSL) compatible with VDSL or eVDSL connections, i.e. connections normally identified as FTTC or mixed copper fiber. A VDSL-compatible modem can be plugged directly into the telephone jack and, once configured (perhaps with the help of the Internet operator), we will be able to surf at the maximum speed compatible with our Internet line (up to a maximum of 300 Mega per second).

If instead, we wanted to use a new modern modem for direct fiber optic connection (or FTTH) things get slightly complicated since not all modems on the market are compatible with the equipment and fiber optic cables available for Italian lines. The simplest method to bypass this type of problem is to configure the new modem in cascade with the fiber modem provided by the Internet operator using a.

If we want a modem perfectly compatible with the optical fiber (to be connected in cascade) we can buy the TP-Link Archer AX55 Router WiFi 6.

Alternatively, we will have to buy a modem with a fiber optic module included or buy a fiber optic signal converter, as seen in our guides on how to connect any modem to FTTH fiber and configuration for ONT and fiber optic connection parameters.

Veloci Ethernet Gate

Many fiber optic connections offer a connection speed of 2.5 Gigabits per second speeds that can only be enjoyed using Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 connections or using a high-speed Ethernet cable on enhanced Gigabit Ethernet ports (2,5 Gigabit Ethernet).

When we buy a new modem, therefore, make sure that there are not only simple Gigabit ports (with a maximum speed of 1 Gigabit per second), but we check that there are one or more ports 2,5 Gigabit Ethernet. A good modem with a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port is the NETGEAR RAX120 Router WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12.

Software del modem

Another parameter that should not be underestimated is the software included in the modem, which can make the difference between products with similar technical data sheets. The modem software must support port forwarding, the device priority system (to send higher speed to devices that require maximum connection speeds such as consoles, Smart TVs, etc.), a robust firewall, and (very importantly), must support OTA updates so as to be able to integrate new functions and improvements without having to change modems every two years.

From a software point of view, the best products are without a doubt the AVM FRITZ! Boxes are updated regularly to implement new features, increase connection speeds, and fix security bugs. Other manufacturers have also introduced OTA updates for modems (especially on top models), but with less frequency than the German company AVM.

Conclusions

A good modem for modern internet connections must support Wi-Fi 6 protocol, and WP3 security standard and must have at least one 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port (or 4 Gigabit ports if we do not have direct optical fiber) in order to effectively replace the modems provided by the operators and always surf at maximum speed. Modems with these characteristics tend to be more expensive than simple modems, but the performance in terms of performance is unmatched.

To choose a new modem with these characteristics, we invite you to read our guides to the best routers for fiber and how to replace the Modem with a new one.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here