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When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

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Hero
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When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

I have been banging on a bit in the past by people referring to a combined Modem/Router as just a Router. This has resulted in some poor souls buying a router and getting upset when they find it won't connect to a FTTC service.

I have just been responding to a new customer and advising that they can use their own modem/router and the settings are here: https://www.plus.net/help/broadband/broadband-connection-settings/

I quote the first sentence:

If you've got a router of your own (one that we haven't sent you), read on for the settings to use to get connected.

Maybe time for an edit?

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Superuser
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

Pedantically you are quite correct.  Except for the early deployment of FTTC, the "router" has been a "modem / Router", though if we want to be really pedantic, its a modem-router-firewall-NAT-DNS-DHCP box!!

The real issue is that "router" has become the recognised parlance for these multi functional boxes in the domestic market, whereas in the commercial market of corporate networks, a router is just and only that.  It is somewhat like Hover to vacuum cleaners, Thermos to flasks and Pyrex to glass cookware!

I doubt that Plusnet updating its posts and descriptions is going to do anything much to better educate the populous!

You are though correct that where FTTC is involved, one does need to be careful to discern if the users are early adopters and have one of the original BT modems and (just) a router connected to it.  Some months ago I sought to help a Talk Talk user deal with a connectivity stability issue, over the telephone.  It took a while of them explaining their set up before I realised that (at some time) they had received a replacement modem / router from Talk Talk, which they had plugged into the existing BT modem, having not followed the instructions to discard the BT modem!!

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Hero
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

@Townman 

I was not trying to be pedantic, it's just that if a Plusnet customer has had enough of issues with their Plusnet hub and decides to get their own device then they may well land on this page to see what's involved. It's totally misleading to read 'If you're using a router from us, like a Plusnet Hub One'. You can easily imagine how they end up buying an incompatible device.

Your experience with a Talk Talk customer is also applicable to Plusnet. I started off with a Huawei HG612 and a Hub Zero. The Hub Zero lasted about 1 hour, about the time it took to compare the wireless performance with my 'old' dual band ADSL Asus N55U, which I had been using. I found that with a firmware update this could be configured as a router and replace the Plusnet junk.

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Pro
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

@Townman  As we are talking hardware, it is a modem-router and the other functions, such as firewall, are then "added software" that can be performed elsewhere. If cascading a modem-router and router (sometimes called a cable router), NAT can be run in either device, though the general advice seems to be to avoid a dual NAT and bridge the former as it can reduce problems with some operations, such as VPN.

Phil

Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link Archer VR600 modem-router.
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Superuser
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

It doesn't help when you go to somewhere like Broadbandbuyer and select Fibre routers https://www.broadbandbuyer.com/store/fibre-routers/?sort=3&page=1#content

at least 8 on the first page are not FTTC capable despite the narrative at the top of the page suggesting that they all are!

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Superuser
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

@Baldrick1

Maybe I should have said ultra precise rather than pedantic? Some people are ruffled by that word; personally I’m a self confessed pedant as experience tells me that imprecision can lead to poor understanding!
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Hero
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

@Townman 

On reflection I agree that I am being pedantic/ultra precise. I agree that being imprecise can lead to poor understanding. Hence my objection to Plusnet referring to a modem/router as a router as this imprecision can result in people buying a router when they need a modem/router.

It may well have been the past convention but in my view should be discouraged. If Plusnet consider modem/router to be to much of a mouthfull I would suggest that they refer to their devices as hubs.

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Superuser
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

Being a total pedant, a hub is a specific network device - much like a router but lacking any intelligence!! Every frame is passed to all ports irrespective of where the target address is connected. See https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/H/hub.html
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Pro
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

I would say a hub is more like using a cable connector strip ("chocblock") to join multiple cables!

Whilst we are digressing - what about thick ethernet  (where a clamp was used to connect by piercing the insulation and connecting to the central core wire, minimum spacing of 1m with marks showing where the connexions could be made without touching the screen) and thin ethernet using BNC "T" pieces: both providing a 3-way hub type connexion and requiring terminators at the ends of the cable run.

Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link Archer VR600 modem-router.
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Hero
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

OK, but I was thinking more along the lines that Plusnet already call these devices Hub Zero and Hub One and calling them hubs seemed to me to be appropriate and far less likely to cause confusion. The setup instructions could easily be modified to add that any replacement for a Plusnet Hub should be an ADSL/VDSL modem/router.

Anyway my original intention was to pass what I thought to be constructive feedback to Plusnet. The lack of any response from a staffer indicates that this has been a waste of time.

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Moderator
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

I have an old Linksys wag54g device on a shelf. It describes itself on the box as an ADSL Gateway.

Customer and Forum Moderator. Windows 10 Firefox 79.0 (64-bit)

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Hero
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

@Strat My 'Wi-Fi Guard' program also describes the modem/router as an Internet Gateway.😉

John
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Superuser
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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

@PeeGee 

"what about thick ethernet  (where a clamp was used to connect by piercing the insulation and connecting to the central core wire, minimum spacing of 1m with marks showing where the connexions could be made without touching the screen)"

You mean the "Bee Sting"?

Were you by chance also with ICL?  OSLAN - thick and thin days?

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Re: When is a Router Really a Modem/Router

@Townman 

Not ICL, but I provided software support for users of the organisation's ICL 1903 who wrote their own programs - Algol 60/Fortran/Cobol !!! That shows my age!

I then changed departments and was involved with real-time systems/networks/.... hence usage of various networking systems.

Phil

Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link Archer VR600 modem-router.