With so many different ways to connect to the internet it is no wonder people are confused...very confused.
Most of us acquire an internet connection and the Internet Service Provider sends us a magical box to plug in.
If you are lucky you can follow the colour coded installation, fire it up and be on your way surfing the internet.
But when that box fails what do you do?
And, you'd be surprised how quickly and how often these things fail.
I am with you. All it looks like they do is blink some lights. What the hell is there to fail?
But fail they do and replace them we must.
I usually get calls from customers after they've bought a new magic box. Let's call it a modem and router for now, but there's a good chance you've got the wrong thing.
If you are reading this before your box has failed, or before you have bought its replacement, then here's the big tip:
Ring up your Internet Service Provider and have them send you a new one!
There's a number of reasons for this:
Often they'll send you a new one FREE. If you've been a customer long enough or maybe they are just good people, but either way it is worth asking.
If you get the modem from them, FREE or paid, they will talk to you in the future i.e. they'll help you troubleshoot it. If you buy from a third party you are on your own.
These days many ISPs can send you a pre-configured box that makes your life significantly easier.
It will save you trying to work out what you've got, what you need and visiting all those shops and talking to salespeople who won't understand your needs. Your ISP already knows what type of connection you have and the right box to send you.
If you have to pay for it, it will probably be cheaper than a third party one at a store.
If you are a bit technical and happy to work this all out for yourself, then of course you can get a third party modem and router.
These often aren't cheap and the value for the (potentially much) greater cost can be lost on the average home user.
But many people do this for a variety of good reasons including, but not limited to, performance with gaming PCs and consoles, improved wifi range and speed, features and functions such as guest networks and so on.
If you go down this path get one that is "NBN Ready" (for Australian readers) and purports to connect to every type of internet available.
This makes choosing the wrong one a bit harder...because if it will connect to everything...it should cover your needs ...right?
Besides, most of them do a good job of detecting your connection and getting you started down the right path these days.
Getting your ISP to post you a new box may take a few days longer than going to the shop and buying one off the shelf. But then again, it may not and it will more than likely save you a whole lot of pain.
Have fun with that ;-)