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USB Modem or Router/Modem

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USB Modem or Router/Modem

Hi everbody, just seeking a little friendly advice.

I currently connect to Plusnet using a usb modem supplied by BT when I first went broadband about 4 years ago. I dont know the exact model but it says "BT Voyuager USB ADSL Modem" and has an item code 006244.

This modem works perfectly well but I just wondered about the benefits of changing to a Router/Modem. I do not need any thing too technical and do not need to go wireless but what other benfits apart from a built in firewall could I gain? Will my current modem work when I am upraded to an 8Mb connection?

Thanks in anticipation
11 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

USB Modem or Router/Modem

Some of the earlier USB modems (and some routers for that matter) may have a problem with the faster speeds.

Also 8Mbs will be a mith for most users as the majority won't even get 4Mbs, let alone 8 due to the length of their line so what yu have will probably work fine at a higher speed.

My advance - If everything is working well, stick with what you have got. If you do get a faster connection (which you will probably have to pay more for) try the USB modem and see how it works. If it does not, go out and buy a netgear DG834.

Modem/Routers generally tend to be better than USB modems and often have additional options like hardware firewalls and I would always recommend using one where possible but 'if it ain't broke, don;t fix it' is normally the rule to follow.
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USB Modem or Router/Modem

The main reason for getting a router are its OS indipendant as you dont have to setup very much on your OS for it to work and it will often need no setup after its installed and working.
The other main reason is security
In simply terms when you connect to the internet you get a address or ip which is like your house number. with a modem that number is you pc so everyone in the world can see and try to hack your pc.

A router hides your address so no one can see your real house number as the router takes on that number and you cant be seen behind it. This makes you so much safer
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USB Modem or Router/Modem

If you are using a modem then you must also be using a software firewall installed on your computer. A router should have a Stateful Packet Inspection firewall in it that will to some extent duplicate your computer's firewall, but will keep your PC from ever receiving the suspicious packets of data.

One of the best reasons for switching to a router is to provide you with more connections to the internet, should you wish to have more than one computer. If you currently have just the one computer then a modem is perfectly OK as a connection, provided you have that software firewall and up-to-date on-access antivirus software (on-access meaning it checks all the files you open or download as you do so).

In order for you to use a router, you will generally need to have a network interface socket at the back of your computer, whether this is built-in or an add-on card. There are routers you can connect to by USB too.

As mright says, when you use a router your computer receives an IP address (a unique address in the network) from the router that is completely different to the one visible over the internet, and this Network Address Translation makes your computer that bit harder to hack. Currently your PC's IP address is the one issued by PlusNet.

Peter is quite right. Don't fix it if it works! Where I would differ is in the recommendation of a Netgear DG834 (or any other Netgear!). If you did decide to get a router I would do your homework here and in other forums/fora. Bear in mind that should you buy a wireless router you do not need to actually use wireless at all! I now have a LinkSys WAG54GS with the wireless part switched off, as I have no wireless interfaces on any of our computers. The most important thing if deciding on a router is to ensure that it supports future developments like ADSL2 and ADLS2+. This is the upgrade to the ADSL network that might make your modem obsolete.

Another long post, but I hope this helps. Sorry if you know all these terms.
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USB Modem or Router/Modem

Thanks everybody for your replies. I will wait till it is broke or doesnt work when I am upgraded to 8Mb (he he)

Peter
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USB Modem or Router/Modem

Hi all. I too am interested in upgrading to an ADSL USB Modem/Router. I also don't want to go wireless, and (as yet) will not be networking any other devices to it. I currently use the original Alcatel USB modem (the one that looks like a flat fish).

I am particularly interested in the Netgear mentioned above.

ske1fr: Could you tell me why you recommend against this particular product please? I have looked elsewhere and seen favourable reviews, but am interested in any counter-opinions. Thanks.

All: Apart from those benefits mentioned above (future-proofing, security, etc.), will I get any better quality signal with a router. ie. Is it likely that any crackles, line faults etc. will be ironed out by using a router, or by it just being more up-to-date?

I first considered upgrading after phoning PlusNet support with a problem, and being told that they didn't support my Alcatel any more. I know this isn't a reason in itself to upgrade, but would appreciate any advice in making my decision whether or not to upgrade, and if so, which device to choose.

Thanks.
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USB Modem or Router/Modem

I changed from a BT Voyager 105 modem to a Netgear DG834 router three weeks ago, my line stats are identical on both pieces of equipment.

The big difference I have noticed is in the number of disconnections, I use to get two or three a day for no obvious reason with the modem, since using the Netgear I have not had one disconnection in the three weeks.

Obviously I cannot comment any other make of router as I have never used others, but as far I am am concerned I am delighted with the Netgear, it was easy and simple to set up and the operation has been faultless so far.
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Hi! I'm router Barbie!

stevhill, I recommend against Netgear because of my own, admittedly limited experience with them. I don't think four months usage before a router bellies up is acceptable. It suggests poor quality control and components. I know others swear by them, I just swear at them. And if you trawl through the ADSLGuide fora, the Netgear fora and other fora you'll see that I'm not the only one.

Bay Area Netgear (if I recall their original name) were a perfectly respectable name in networking. I'm sure they still are in many respects, but when you get your products manufactured offshore you cannot necessarily have the same level of control over quality as if you get them built closer to home. Price is king, and only Far Eastern manufacturing can deliver low price. It should not mean low reliability. The LinkSys I'm now using is so far (touches laminate desk) so good. I bought it from Comet rather than eBuyer, so I won't have to wait a week for an RMA authorisation (and loose patience) if this one starts misbehaving.

Oh, and it looks like a router, not like a Barbie sandwich box.:lol:
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Re: Hi! I'm router Barbie!

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Oh, and it looks like a router, not like a Barbie sandwich box.:lol:


I suppose it depends on whether you want something that looks like the Starship Enterprise or a Barbie Sandwich box on your desk, just goes to show how peoples view of things can differ from each others :lol:

I take your point re the problem you had with your Netgear, I have a mate who recommended one to me and his has been trouble free for 3 years, I guess like all things there are faulty ones and when it yours that goes faulty it must be damn annoying. :roll:

The later ones do come with a 2 year warrenty now, but keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to use it. Smiley
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Jumpgate activated...

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I suppose it depends on whether you want something that looks like the Starship Enterprise or a Barbie Sandwich box on your desk,

Regrettably, there's a gap in the market for a router in the shape of a Vorlon planet killer. And it woudn't fit on the cupboard. Oops, that's my lurking spoiled. Cool:lol:
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D-link equipment

I personally find D-link equipment very reliable and easy to set up. DSL-G604T is stylish, well made, reliable and now comes with USB adapter. I have enabled the wireless feature and all my pc's connect this way. Note! If you do decide to go wireless make sure you know how to encrypt your signal, or you will be giving free internet access to anybody within 300 metres with a wireless adaptor! Also hide your SSID, this is your wireless networks ID tag.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: D-link equipment

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I personally find D-link equipment very reliable and easy to set up.


Yes I'll second that. I use an old 504 here at the moment but I have set up several people with the more modern 504T and they work fine and have never yet broken down.

I'm also contemplating getting a new wireless version then I can do away with the seperate "Edimax" access point that I currently use, as this occupies one of the 4 ports on the router.