Published on May 18th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi


Does Your Modem Match Your ISP?

With our technology advancing at an exponential rate, you might not consider that your modem is not compatible with your ISP. On the surface, why shouldn’t a modem work with any ISP? Well, it really doesn’t work that way.

Unless you are renting a generic modem directly from your ISP, you need to confirm whether you have a compatible modem or you will be tearing your hair out in frustration. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Know?

You must first understand that each ISP has a list of modems that work best with your broadband service. Unfortunately, the list they supply is incomplete. If you would like to know what modems you can buy for your ISP, check out

When you don’t use a compatible modem, you can experience performance issues, including lags or breaks in coverage or worse—the modem might not work at all.

Different Types of Internet Service

Modems also need to be compatible with the type of internet service that you are receiving. Here’s a quick breakdown:

DSL: This type of internet works through your phone lines. The modem needs to connect to the phone jack in order to bring coverage into your home.

Cable: Cable internet works through cable service providers. These modems are connected to a cable jack through the use of a coaxial cable. When you are shopping for cable, make sure that you are looking at a DOCSIS 3.0 modem at the very least.

FiOS: Fiber optic internet (FiOS) works through fiber optic cables. The cables are run directly to an ONT box in your house. You don’t actually use a modem with this type of internet because the ONT box acts as a modem for you. Instead of a modem, you should be shopping for a router so you can get wireless service throughout your network.

Dial Up: What? If you are still using a dial up connection, a new modem is not your problem, but you need to update your internet service ASAP.

Are you Getting what you pay for?

If your internet still doesn’t seem like it has enough speed and power and you have confirmed that your modem is compatible, it is time to review the internet service itself. What were you told you would get speed wise? What are you actually getting right now?

Looking at your ISP bill, you should have a breakdown of the speeds that you have received the previous month, helping you to better zone in on what your transfer speeds actually look like. If there’s a big discrepancy, you should check in with customer service with your ISP to see if they can eradicate the problem.

While sometimes lags and breaks in coverage can be attributed to the use of a non-compatible modem, there are other times when the ISP is failing in their job. It also might be tempting to just rent a modem from your ISP, but don’t fall into that trap. Save yourself money in the long run and buy your next modem.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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