Save money by buying your own Wi-Fi router

Renting could cost up to $120 a year

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A lawsuit filed earlier this year against Time Warner Cable is a reminder that buying a modem and router yourself is almost always a better idea than renting from your cable company.

High-speed internet is no longer a luxury. Most people now consider Wi-Fi in their homes a necessity.

To get a signal, people need to use a router. Many consumers pay their internet provider to rent the equipment without even knowing it.

Americans spend an average $100 a month on their cable/internet bill.

"If you're renting a router, you're probably paying anywhere from $5 to $10 a month, or up to $120 a year. You can buy a very good router for $100 to $150, so you're going to pay for it in the first year,” said Jim Willcox, with Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports said saving money isn’t the only reason to buy your own router.

“A lot of times, the router that you’re going to get form the cable company doesn’t have the latest technology, so it may not perform as well as one that you buy yourself,” Willcox said.

Routers haven’t really been known for their good looks, but that's changing with sleek new designs. Other router options include mesh networks such as the Eero or Google Wi-Fi, where several routers work together to provide Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.  

The high-tech options are pricey. Eero costs $500 for three routers and Google Wi-Fi costs $300 for three, but they do provide the higher levels of performance that some consumers need.

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All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.