Television and Internet services are expensive. And we’re juiced into buying service because we simply need both in our lives in the 21st Century.
I’ve written previously about the tricks and traps that both Verizon and Comcast throw at you. It’s a racket. Everyone knows it. Everyone pays.
But there are things you can do to help mitigate the screwjob. Here are five things you need to do before you sign up for television and/or Internet service.
1. Buy your own modem
Do not rent a modem from the company. It’s a waste of money, and you will may end up with an older model that actually can’t process data as fast as your cable service can send it out. Translation: Blast! Comcast Internet might not come through any faster than the basic package with an older modem.
If you DO rent a modem, make sure they give you one that is “DOCSIS 3.0.”
The Motorola SURFboard SB6120 is the best modem on the market. The newer SB6121 model is only more expensive. It won’t do anything else for you. Both are supported by Comcast, however, so if you’re one of those people that needs the newest model, go for it.
Generally avoid modems that have wireless routers built in.
Now, you may have to ignore this step entirely if you are bundling your home phone service , because you’ll need to buy or rent a modem that handles your Internet and phone service. One of the best is the Motorola SBV6220, but Comcast currently does not support it. (Check Comcast’s official compatibility list before buying anything)
2. Buy a router
By rule of thumb, here in late 2011, you should buy a Wireless N router with gigabit Ethernet. Nowadays you can get great pricing on ethernet services as well.”
The major brands, D-Link, Cisco, Belkin and Netgear are all usually pretty good. I prefer Netgear, but it’s more of a personal preference.
This is not the kind of thing you want to skimp on.
The Netgear D600 WNDR3700 is a good, affordable router. It’s one of the best values in wireless routers. It is great for gaming or streaming movies and does 300 MBPS wireless networking.
If you want to go a little better, the N750 WNDR4000 is probably the best wireless router you can buy for home or small office use. It can do 450 MBPS WiFi and has a USB port to plug a portable hard drive in for an instant network attached storage device.
3. Do not cancel your home phone service ahead of time.
If you’re making the big Comcast (Or Time Warner, Cox, etc) leap, the odds are you’re going to buy a bundle package that includes home phone service. If you’re a big land line user, this could save you some money. Do not cancel your existing home phone service yet. Order the service, give the cable company your phone number, and they will port the number to your new service, just like you do when you switch cell phone companies. Otherwise, you could get stuck with a new number, new area code, and lose the number you’ve had for years.
4. Argue, lie, cheat
When you’re on the phone, ordering your service, don’t accept their offer. Tell them their rival is cheaper. Tell them the price is way too high. Lie if you have to.
They likely will come down on the price or magically discover a hidden deal they can offer you that might save you $20 per month. You might get transferred a few times, but hell, it’s money!
5. Check your wiring
Or have the tech check your wiring. If you live in an old house or are renting, the odds are good that the cable wires have been there for a while. Check for cable splitters too. Nothing is worse for cable Internet than a signal that’s been split a bunch of times over old wiring.
The tech will do some replacing if need be. Broadband is FAST these days. You’re paying the same as everyone else (unless you followed step 4 really well) so you might as well get the same speed in the end.