Do I sacrifice slow internet speed for better security?

Mar 1, 2018
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I don't know what alternative I have after I signed up for Internet, TV, and voice with Comcast, because there are limited choices in terms of modems I have to pick from as far as standalone eMTA modems. They have very slow download speed and are older generation devices. There are a limited choice of just two models that they make which are Comcast compatible with voice, hence the reason why it narrows down the choices.

There are retail standalone modems that provide almost 1 Gig download speed and there are also retail standalone modems that are DOCSIS 3.1 standard that "potentially" provide 1Gig speed. Comcast is moving to faster internet speed where the 1 Gig footprint is already in my area. I don't need to have 1 Gig speed. I just don't want to be stuck with an actual slow speed if I purchase one of the older generation modems that could be reaching their EOL soon. One of those fast modems is not a bad idea (future proofed). But with the faster modems, I run into the problem with the contract I signed

The only alternative option that I see remaining would be to purchase a faster high speed modem and to drop the two year promotional offer I signed with Comcast for the triple bundle package which would mean going with Vontage or someone else. (Skype or Hangouts don't deserve to be listed in the same category with other VoIP providers). Essentially, I would be forfeiting all the savings I signed up for, and end up paying full price by switching over to Internet and TV with Comcast, plus another fee paid to Vonage for voice.

I have an issue with those retail gateway devices that are purchased with Comcast's platform because the routers in those boxes are not up to commercial grade specifications. They will always be vulnerable to attacks even with keeping current updates. I won't even mention some of the other bad issues with top named brand models.

I currently rent a DOCSIS 3.0 Gateway 627 Mbps download, 24 x 8 channel bonding as a new customer. I have to get rid of it asap because of the inability to upgrade the router software which makes it vulnerable to attacks.

I'm open to hear another option that I could have overlooked that might still provide descent internet/data speed
and best security. Thanks
 

velocityg4

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Nov 21, 2006
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Voice: Use OOMA they have the basic free version which works well. It's not quite free as you have to pay government fees. I get their Premier plan for $100 per year. A much better value because of their caller blacklists which greatly reduces the number of robocalls, political calls, telemarketers, scams, &c. They have full E911 support. You can also get your home phone calls on your mobile. I switched from Vonage. OOMA is a much better service.

Security: Set their modem in bridge mode. Then use your own router to protect your network. If you are really concerned. Build your own firewall/router with PFSense. Then you'll have enterprise grade protection for a fraction of the cost. Just be aware. With gigabit connection speeds. You'll need to dedicate a fairly powerful computer as the firewall. But it is cheaper than getting something like a Zyxel Zywall 110.

Modem alternatives: Sorry haven't looked at this one in a while. I use a Motorola SB6141 for my 120 Mbps Comcast connection and it works great. Gigabit isn't coming anytime soon for me. I haven't looked further.
 
Mar 1, 2018
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velocity g4

Thanks for all your input and providing those options.

I'll certainly look into VoIP with Ooma.

I appreciate the information too regarding PFsense. After googling them, the Netgate gateway SOHO and the build your own firewall/router looks like interesting.options. This information arrived at a good time too since I'm considering looking into a new desktop computer purchase.

As far as a modem, there are some new faster ones that are compatible. Although bridging a rented gateway offers the speed and I think a free replacement by Comcast if it becomes outdated, or breaks, but its probably not cost effective in the end.
 

velocityg4

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In the long run it is cheaper to buy your own modem. Although it would take over a year to recoup the cost. Given the price I saw for a unit capable of gigabit speeds. Router cost doesn't factor in to me. Since I'd always run my own router. Whether or not one was provided by the ISP. I prefer control over my own network.
 
Mar 1, 2018
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Well, what I just learned today from talking with Comcast on the phone completely throws my plans off.

As a new customer, if I want to drop the voice portion of the triple play package, I will be charged a termination fee on the two year contract I signed up for (Internet, TV, and VoIP) just this past October 2017. The termination fee is $230 !

I don't know if this can be confirmed or not, because when I've talked to several reps on other matters in the past, they don't sound like they know much.

I had two service providers at the same time before I switched over to Comcast - satellite TV with one provider / internet and voice with another provider. To each his own, but I know they would've waived it just to keep my business. Comcast has me locked in until expiration date Oct. 2019
 

velocityg4

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Yea, they lock you in if you sign a contract. I figured you were within the first month. I think they give 30 days to change your mind. Hopefully, the contract locks the prices for two years at least. Some of them are a deal one year then full price the second. So, I go with the 12 month no contract deals.

Just don't make any changes. If you add another box or add a channel package. I wouldn't be surprised if it reset the clock on their contract.

You'll have to carefully go over your bill. Look at current no contract packages plus OOMA. Then see if the cost of buying equipment, paying for OOMA and the no contract package will save you any money over the next year and a half.

You can even go further and see if internet only plus online TV (Sling, YouTube TV, &c) will save you money. If you are also renting Cable boxes and DVR. There is also the option of Tivo Bolt (DVR) and Tivo Mini (Bolt clients). You get a CableCard from Comcast. You do have to pay Tivo $15 a month for the Bolt. This is what I use with the Mini's. I do save considerably as I was able to knock a DVR fee and three HD Tuners off my bill.
 
Mar 1, 2018
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The truth is, the rep was wrong about the $230 termination fee if I wanted to drop just VoIP. I called back to a supervisor and that fee is for cancellation of all services. (the triple play).
The explanation I got about the 2 year contract I signed means if I drop voice only, the internet speed I currently have will drop back to a greatly reduced speed of 25Mbps.. That is, I signed the promotional offer with the internet speed that came with the deal that offered that tier. Cancellation of any part of the triple play promotion nullifies that internet speed cause it's part of the promo.

I was lulled into this by a smooth talking salesperson when I had more important things on my mind such as selling my previous house.I can't remember ever being offered a no contract deal cause it's news to me now or else I would've never have signed up as a new customer under a contract.

If you don't mind me asking, am I understanding correctly that Its possible to change now from a 2 year contract over to a no contract deal? I'm not certain what was meant by going over my bill... and looking at current no contract packages plus Ooma. I thought I was locked in to a contract until October 2019. Or did that mean I can get out of it after the first year full year is up which is when they stop offering the promo discount??
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


What is "possible" is only what you and the sales rep/retention agent can come to agreement on.

For instance:
My 2 year price lock-in with Verizon FiOS ran out last month. TV + 75/75 internet.
In the weeks previous to running out, all the options presented to me ended up in "mo' money".
Even dropping the internet speed was "mo' money".

Chat window online with a retention agent...my current price schedule and services extended for another year (Feb 2019).
We shall revisit it again next year...:lol:
At which point I will push for better internet speed, or I'll jump to their local competitor, Cox cable.

I actually probably would not, because my current FiOS is absolutely rock steady performance. Unlike my previous experience with Cox cable.
But I'll push the issue anyway. See what happens.
 
Mar 1, 2018
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USAFRet

I really don't see the reason to make parallel comparisons. I'm glad that your happy with Verizon. But I don't have a contract with them.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


I related that parallel, only to show what might be "possible".
Whatever you and the Comcast service rep agree on is what you end up with. A single customer vs the customer service rep of a billion dollar company.

Just a maybe interesting story for anyone that happens to read it. I'm sorry that this did not depict the specific interaction you had with your provider.
But you can ignore it as desired.
 
Mar 1, 2018
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That's how I understood it to mean. The thought had occurred of some overlooked opportunity that I didn't read about in my contract..Thanks !
 
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