All telecommunications operators give us a router when we register a fiber or ADSL rate with them. These models vary enormously between operators and, with few exceptions, are not high-end . In addition, we must be clear that we will have to return the router when we unsubscribe to avoid suffering a financial penalty. First of all, this, many doubt about the suitability of buying a router on your own to take advantage of its advantages, but the truth is that it is not a bed of roses, far from it.
Problems with WiFi, router crashes that force us to restart, lack of advanced traffic filtering or parental control functions … there are many reasons why most operator routers are not the best option. However, with the advent of fiber optics, VoIP and IPTV, replacing a router is no longer as simple as it was in the days of ADSL.
Therefore, it is recommended that it only be done by the most experienced users or, at least, have some important notions on these topics. Also, concepts such as VLAN, ONT and others should not sound like Chinese. If you are determined to do it, you may want to read the advantages and disadvantages of changing the operator’s router.
- Advantages of changing the router
- Disadvantages of changing the router
Advantages of changing the router
First we are going to see EVERYTHING that a new router can bring us, although we have some generic things that we will achieve with the vast majority of models, other advantages are reserved for the most expensive or higher-end models.
WiFi of “more quality” or WiFi Mesh without paying more
The first advantage is also related to the main complaint that operators receive about their routers. The quality of the WiFi is quite poor in general and we have to resort to WiFi repeaters to carry the signal throughout the house. Perhaps for this reason, some operators have chosen to include in their catalog solutions for users to have WiFi Mesh at home, but always at the cost of increasing the monthly price they pay.
A state-of-the-art router guarantees us access to technology such as WiFi 6 and even WiFi Mesh if we have several access points. This technology offers us many benefits such as having a channel width in the 160 MHZ band in the 5 GHz band, which will make it possible to achieve much more speed. We also have MU-MIMO and OFDMA on all bands to always offer the best connection.
The use of more modern WiFi standards guarantees us more speed, but also a more stable, more secure connection with more coverage. At the wireless connection level, that is what we will gain by replacing our operator’s router with a high-end WiFi 6 model.
More configuration options and more features
Another quite common complaint in the operators’ routers is that they are somewhat blocked and that they even leave the door open for the operator to access, if only to install updates. More advanced users want to have control of all the options at their disposal, as well as access to special functions that only third-party routers allow.
If we change the router we can configure almost any aspect of the connection. In addition, we can choose to install third-party firmwares that provide even more advantages. Without a doubt, it is a compelling reason for more advanced users.
More security: WP3
We continue with the review of the advantages and we have to stop at security. Here we can see the issue from two sides. The first is that third-party routers tend to receive updates for a longer time when the manufacturer arrives directly, while the operators control the updates to the maximum, not always being the best for the user. Vulnerabilities will continue to exist and the more up-to-date we have the device, the less likely they will affect us.
On the other hand, with very few exceptions, no operator router is compatible with the new WPA3 , the latest encryption to guarantee WiFi security. This new security standard offers:
- Greater protection, even in those cases in which the user does not have strong passwords.
- More simplified configuration processes.
- Protection in public networks.
- Stronger encryption with 192-bit security architecture.
- WPA3 Forward Secrecy that prevents decryption of captured traffic.
General connection stability
The firmware or systems of third-party routers are usually more robust, in addition to having more powerful internal hardware. Here we find high-speed processors, more RAM memory or 10G Multigigabit, 5G Multigigabit or 2.5G Multigigabit ports in the most advanced models.
All this directly influences the stability they offer, preventing the connection from hanging or from saturating its operation. With bandwidth-intensive activities like Internet downloads, some carrier routers have a hard time. These alternative equipment are often better designed to avoid overloading.
We could not forget about gaming, that is, playing online. It is a type of activity that does not require maximum speed, but does require minimal latency . These types of optimizations are only present in high-end devices that have even been designed for that purpose or that have special modes when we want to play online.
Models such as those made by ASUS that are compatible with ASUSWRT Rog offer a host of advanced settings and optimizations to achieve the best performance. It is important to correctly configure aspects such as QoS or packet prioritization for the best performance.
Next-generation hardware: 2.5G Ethernet
Although we have already highlighted it on the point of stability, the truth is that an operator router is not always going to offer us the latest in hardware. Without going any further, we only have access to gigabit Ethernet ports that limit connections from 1 Gbps to approximately 940 Mbps of maximum speed .
In high-end routers we have access to ports such as 2.5G Ethernet so that our connection is not limited by this aspect. We also add more RAM, the latest generation processor, more powerful antennas and even special ports such as SATA, USB 3.0 and the like.
Disadvantages of changing the router
If you have come this far, you may be determined to change your operator’s router since everything seems like advantages, but we have bad news: there are also black spots in this decision that we must know before jumping into the pool.
A good part of the neutral models will not be compatible with our operator , at least not in full or without a certain “work”. As we have already explained, in ADSL times it was simply to connect the router to the telephone socket and configure some parameter that we found without problem on the Internet.
Now things are more complex. First of all, everything will depend on whether we have the ONT and the router separately or a router with the integrated ONT. In the first case, we will leave the ONT and change the router, while in the second case we will have to find out the IdONT to configure it in another ONT. In addition, the neutral router must be compatible with VLAN networks, having to find out the parameters of our operator.
The alternative would be to configure the operator’s router in bridge mode and connect a high-performance router to it, which will now be the main one. This solution is not as “clean” as the previous one, but, in general, it is much more accessible for users who do not have to configure too many things beyond bridge mode on the operator’s router.
Unsupported services: IPTV and telephone
Linking directly with the previous section, we can find that it is possible to replace the operator’s router with a neutral one, but that we are left without access to any service. In the case of Movistar, it is usual that we have to resort to very specific models to continue watching television through IPTV.
Although competition in the routers market is high and we have brands like Xiaomi offering high performance at low prices, the purchase of a neutral router to change that of our operator already implies incurring a cost for something that they provide us for free.
If we already want to access the highest range, WiFi Mesh and the latest wireless technologies, the outlay will be higher. Depending on the circumstances, you can compensate us for the investment, since the equipment can be used even by changing the operator. This is a very subjective aspect, but it is undeniable that paying extra is not something that everyone is interested in.