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When you sign up for service with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), you’ll typically be offered use of one of the company’s wifi routers or cable modems for a monthly rental fee (generally in the $10/month price range for the duration of service). Although this monthly rental cost can add up rather substantially over time, some customers opt to take advantage of this either for convenience reasons or because, if there are problems with the device, repair or replacement costs are covered as part of the monthly service cost.

However, some customers prefer to purchase their own wifi router, which can provide substantial cost savings. A wifi router typically costs less than $100, depending on the type chosen.

ISPs typically do not offer technical support for third-party devices, so should the wifi router become inoperable for any reason, you’ll need to contact the router manufacturer’s technical support line, or work with an IT consultant such as Connectech, to resolve the issue.

So what’s the best approach? Should you pay a monthly rental fee for your ISP’s wifi router, knowing that they will be responsible for resolving issues should the device fail? Or should you purchase your own wifi router, which can provide substantial cost savings over a period of time?

Renting a wifi router from your ISP means that if the device fails, your ISP will simply switch out the device for a new one. If you purchase a third-party device (typically with a one-year standard warranty), you or your IT provider will need to call the manufacturer if the device fails. Typically the manufacturer will replace the router (though this usually won’t be done as quickly as a replacement from your ISP). Some device manufacturers do offer advance replacement — they’ll ship you a new device and allow you to return the failed device after the new one is installed.

Though there is always the possibility for problems, wifi router failures are rare, so many people choose to purchase their own device. And, since the cost of purchasing a wifi router is less than the cost of renting one over a 1-2 year period, one option is to simply buy a new device should the old one fail. If the old wifi router is still under warranty, you can ask the device’s manufacturer to send you a replacement, which you can sell or keep on hand as backup in case of another failure.

If you opt to purchase your own wifi router, be sure to choose one that’s compatible with your ISP’s service offerings. Check your ISP’s website for a list of their recommended devices, or call their technical support line.

If you’d like assistance with making the right purchase choice for a wifi router, or if you’d like assistance with setup, please email or call us.