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I have E31T2V1 modem. Any reason to buy an aftermarket modem?

in Connectivity Sep 24, 2020

My modem is E31T2V1 and I am using my own router, ASUS RT-AC86U and mesh with ASUS RT-AC68U. My service is Spectrum Internet Ultra which supposed to give me 400MBPS / 20MBPS. I have total of 22 devices connected (18 via Wifi and 4 via hardwired).

My questions is,

Should I get a aftermarket modem like NETGEAR Cable Modem CM1000 or ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 and replace E31T2V1 modem? Any benefit?

I am having problems recently with my download speed. It stays around 100MBPS and when I rebooted both Modem and Router, it comes back to 200MBPS ~ 220MBPS. I don't see 400MBPS any more which I used to have.

Does newer modem makes it better? What other features and benefits do those modem have?

Can I update the firmware on E21T2V1? If so, where can I find the instruction?


  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 24 Sep 24, 2020

    Afterthought: just to rule it out, have you tested speed while directly connected to the modem, to rule out anything with the routers impeding throughput?


    Primary benefit to owning your modem is being able to see more stats and such (locked out of the signal pages on the "Hitron" modems). In some cases (like Netgear models), you may get a couple troubleshooting features you can take advantage of, but whether that is to any real benefit varies on the situations you are dealing with.

    Personally, I have only used ISP provided modems in the short term more for troubleshooting purposes--for a while after initial setup, and during troubleshooting as we rule out potential CPE issues. Once things are cleared up, I go back to my own modems.

    The past ~8 years or so, those have been Netgear models. More recently the CM600 or CM500--(Broadcom chipsets, avoid the Intel based models). Both models are supported at the 400 tier, and can be nabbed fairly cheap these days... just be mindful the 600's wall wart power supplies tend to flake out more often. Good idea to make note of the specs on those things regardless of brand/model so you can try replacing those before the unit itself.

    It is more a matter of habit/preference I guess. I was in the Beta group for our market at my last house, and it was always good to have access to all the info I can get at for filing reports. But that won't typically matter for John Q. Public.

    You can't update firmware on the modems either way... the ISP has to push the updates, and that doesn't happen without them doing a lot of testing first.

    Since you are on their hardware and experiencing quality issues, may want to stick with them for now. If the problem is somehow tied to the modem, it is THEIR equipment, so it is up to them to replace it with a more reliable unit. Once they can resolve the quality issues, then maybe look at getting your own hardware if you feel compelled.

    Just remember, their responsibility to resolve issues ends at the cable if you use your own modem.

    One thing you may want to consider though... you are at a "3.0" level of service. Ideally, you should not "need" the OFDM channels used with the 3.1 spec tier (gigabit). You could ask if they can issue you a 3.0 spec modem supporting the 400mbps tier, to avoid those OFDM channels for now. Some markets are running into issues when the modems have to run in mixed mode, so it may work out better for you to avoid that extra complication while they hash out those issues.

  • misterjmisterj Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Sep 24, 2020

    TOMWAT, both the Netgear and the Arris are the same DOCSIS 3.1 specification routers as yours. I just moved from the Spectrum Ubee version of your router to the Arris SB8200. I expect no change in performance (what I am seeing) just the ability to access the statistics in the modem (I can). It is not newer but basically the same with slightly different features - no phone connection and two Ethernet ports to aggregate if my ISP someday offers 2 Gbps. Users, even if owners cannot change the firmware in the modem. Only ISPs are permitted to update FW via the cable connection. For your speed shortage, you will need to get onsite support to understand it and get your ISP to correct it. I hope you are measuring speeds with an Ethernet connected machine with all other users idle. If the LEDs on the front of the modem are blue, you are running OFDM (DOCSIS 3.1). Good luck and enjoy, John.

  • Lake802Lake802 Posts: 9 ✭✭✭
    Sep 27, 2020

    Hello Tonwat - generally speaking there is no real advantage for most people in purchasing an after market modem for use with Spectrum. There are some who prefer logging into the device to view signal levels and such but that is a relatively very small percentage of users.

    The era were aftermarket modem models ocassionally had an advantage is largely concluded as Spectrum does not charge for the current model modems and is better able to support them versus a hodgepodge of consumer boxes with assorted chipsets and firmware versions.

    The main focus for many people is just to have a stable, reliable connection coming into the house. Once that base signal is stable and reliable, you can further improve your experience by connecting some of the newer wifi routers from Asus and other manufactures that enhance wifi coverage throughout your house.

    So in general, the money you save by using the Spectrum supplied modem could be better invested in a better wifi router/mesh improving the wifi coverage for your house instead of buying a third party modem.

    For testing purposes, Raist makes great point - If you plug a laptop directly into the Spectrum modem - if correctly provisioned for 400 Mbs Ultra service - you should see speed near 400 Mbps or higher on local speed tests such as spectrum.com/speedtest.

    Kindly let us know what type of speeds you are seeing when laptop is plugged directly into the modem. As before, ask Spectrum to verify that modem is correctly provisioned for "ultra" service, that the TX/rX/SNR are in spec, that there are no T3 , T4 or errors of any kind in the modem log.

    Once you get reliable expected speed when plugged directly into the modem, go ahead and add your Asus router back in to the mix and retest. That will give you the answers you are looking for as to where potential performance bottlenecks might be.

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