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Modern Router Combo Vs Seperate – Which Is Better?

Are you at the crossroads of making a choice between a separate setup or modem-router combo for your new home internet setup?

We understand that this decision can be quite overwhelming. However, clearly understanding each option can help you make an informed choice.

Briefly put, a modem-router combo can be more convenient and space-saving, while a separate modem option provides greater flexibility and customization options. Ultimately, the choice depends on personal preferences and needs. 

To assist you in making the right decision, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide outlining the pros and cons of each choice. 

So, whether you are a casual internet user or tech-savvy, keep reading to find out which option is best suited to your requirements.

What is Modem Router Combo?

A modem-router combo, also known as an all-in-one or gateway device, is a single device that combines the functions of a modem and a router. Here, the modem component connects and receives internet signals, while the router component distributes the signal to multiple devices through Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections. It is convenient for those who want to simplify their networking setup and save space using an individual unit instead of separate modem and router units.


  • Compact and convenient
  • Easy to troubleshoot
  • Simple to install
  • Less maintenance and upgrading costs


  • Less control
  • Costly to upgrade

What is Separate Modem and Router?

Choosing separate modem and router units can be ideal for people who want maximum control over their home network and have the technical knowledge and expertise to manage their Wi-Fi network independently.

Separate modem and router units allow for greater flexibility and customization of network settings, as you can tailor each to specific needs. This is particularly beneficial for users who have advanced networking requirements, such as the need for specific port forwarding rules or VPN settings.


  • Better speed and performance
  • Improved security
  • Affordable to replace
  • Faster connection


  • Expensive upfront
  • Difficult to troubleshoot

Modem Router Combo Vs Separate Setup

Below we have compared some of the key aspects of both choices. Read on to know which one is more suitable for your requirements.

1. Functionality

When it comes to modem router combo, the two devices are crammed into a single, so it is obvious that there will be some sacrifices in terms of transfer speed and signal strength. Moreover, modem-router combos are designed for convenience, and manufacturers do not prioritize top-notch performance. 

In contrast, router manufacturers compete continually to achieve faster speeds and greater range. This drive for excellence has resulted in the development of premium routers surpassing any gateway device’s capabilities.

2. Speed Performance

A modem-router combo can make your internet connection faster by optimizing how it transfers data between the modem and router. This reduces the time it takes for your devices to communicate with each other, resulting in a more responsive and faster network.

However, separating the modem and router can result in better performance, as the modem can focus on providing the best possible connection to the ISP, while the router can focus on providing the best possible network performance.

It is important to note that both the modem and router in a separate option should be able to handle the same level of performance to achieve optimal internet speed. If either device has a lower capacity than the other, it can limit the entire network’s performance, resulting in suboptimal results.

3. Installation

Setting up a modem router combo device is significantly simpler because modem and router functionalities are combined into a single device. So, you only need to perform the setup process once, and the device is ready to be used.

In a separate model, both modem and router require individual setup and configuration, which can be time-consuming and require some technical expertise.

4. Control

A modem-router device may have less control over the network settings because it has a simplified interface and fewer options for customization, which can be limiting for advanced users who want to fine-tune their network settings.

A separate modem router unit ensures greater flexibility in customizing network settings and adjusting without informing the provider. Users can modify parental controls, perform firmware updates, adjust privacy controls, prioritize bandwidth for different devices, and even create a guest account in the router to better suit their needs.

5. Compatibility

It is important to ensure that the modem-router combo you select is compatible with your internet service provider (ISP) for optimal performance. Not all modem-router combos work with all ISPs, so it is important to verify compatibility before making a purchase.

In contrast, separate modem and router setups are compatible with all ISPs, allowing you to choose the devices that best meet your needs and budget without worrying about compatibility issues. This gives you the flexibility to select a modem with the desired features and performance and pair it with a router that offers the range and speed you need for your home network.

6. Placement

Since the modem router combo has a single power source and compact design, eliminating clutter and decreasing the number of cables. So you do not have to accommodate more space for them.

Having a router separate from the modem allows you to have the freedom to position the router in a more favorable location that accommodates your requirements.

7. Customizability

A major limitation of using a modem-router combo is the restricted ability to customize the modem and router settings separately. As it is a single device, you have limited control over each component, which may impede the ability to tailor your network to your needs.

The most significant benefit of using separate modem and router devices is the increased level of customizability. You have the freedom to customize the modem and router settings independently, enabling you to optimize your home network to meet your specific requirements. This capability allows for greater flexibility and control over your network, resulting in an improved internet experience.

8. Troubleshooting

A combination cable modem router makes troubleshooting easier as it consolidates both devices into a single unit. This means you only need to troubleshoot one device instead of dealing with two separate devices, especially if you cannot find whether the process is between the router or the modem.

9. Upgradability

Upgrading the hardware of a cable modem router combo can be more expensive because you may need to replace the entire combo unit rather than just upgrading the modem or router separately.

Having separate modem and router devices allows you to upgrade as needed. Although it may come at a cost, upgrading to a higher-performing router provides the freedom to enhance network performance.

10. Security Features

A standalone router can offer more robust security features than a modem-router combo since it can be purpose-built to deliver advanced firewall protection and intrusion prevention.

11. Ventilation

Separate modem and router devices typically offer superior heat dissipation and ventilation, which can enhance their longevity and overall performance.

In contrast, modem-router combos may be susceptible to heat-related issues due to their compact designs. Such issues have the potential to affect their performance and lifespan.

12. Maintenance

A significant advantage of using a modem-router combo is the simplified maintenance process. As there is only one device to update, you do not have to worry about updating multiple firmware versions, streamlining the maintenance process.

There are two devices to maintain in a separate modem and router setup. So, maintenance can be more time-consuming, as you have to update and troubleshoot each device separately. 

13. Cost

Modem-router combos are typically more affordable than purchasing separate modem and router devices. This makes them a cost-effective solution for individuals working with a limited budget. Usually, a standalone modem can cost around $60, while a standalone router may cost at least $70.

Which is Better : Modem Router Combo Or Separate?

A modem router combo is a space-saving and cost-effective option with limited customizability. Separate modem and router setups offer more flexibility in customization and upgradeability but can be more expensive and take up more space.

So, there is no black-and-white answer for this dilemma as it ultimately depends on the individual’s requirements and uses. Considering your specific needs, budget, and future-proofing requirements is important before deciding.

A separate high-end modem and router setup may be optimal for gamers or streamers. This configuration allows you to customize settings and leverage the latest performance features to enhance your gaming and streaming experience.

A modem router combo may better fit your needs if you only use your internet to stream video, surf the web, or have limited space. But if you prioritize performance, choose a separate modem and router setup. High-end routers outperform gateways significantly, making them the ideal choice for users who require faster internet speeds and higher bandwidth.

Wrapping Up

Now that you clearly understand the modem-router combo and separate option, you are better equipped to make the right choice. 

A modem-router combo might be the best choice if you want a simple setup and have limited connected devices. However, separate units might be the better option if many devices require more network control. 

Regardless of your decision, it’s important to thoroughly research and select a high-quality product that meets your needs to enjoy fast and reliable internet tailored to your specific requirements.

Modern Router Combo Vs Seperate – FAQs

1. Does the size of the home network impact the choice of a modem-router combo or separate units?

Ans: Indeed, the modem-router combo or standalone units you choose will depend on how big your home network is. A modem-router set may be adequate for your needs if your home network is tiny and has only a few devices connected. To increase flexibility and network control, you might want to consider separate units if your network is larger and has more users and devices. A bigger residence could also need stronger equipment to ensure optimal signal strength and coverage.

2. How much money can I save if I choose combo over a separate setup?

Ans: Depending on the particular models and features you are considering, the money you can save by selecting a modem-router combo over separate units can change. Buying a modem and router together is usually less expensive than separately. Yet, the price difference might not matter if you require a high-performance router or sophisticated functionality. 

3. Can I upgrade the modem or router individually in a modem-router combo setup, or must I replace the entire device?

Ans: In a modem-router combo arrangement, upgrading the modem or router is typically impossible because the two components are combined into a single device. You would have to replace the entire modem-router combination gear to update. Certain modem-router combos offer the opportunity to install extra hardware, like an external antenna or signal booster to improve the functionality of the equipment. Before undertaking any improvements, reviewing the manufacturer’s requirements is advisable.

4. Which type of networking device, modem-router combo or separate units, has a longer lifespan on average?

Ans: Depending on the device’s quality and upkeep, the lifespan of modem-router combos or standalone equipment can change. Separate units can be modified or replaced separately as needed; therefore, they often have a longer lifespan. Nonetheless, if a modem-router combination is well-made and receives regular firmware updates, it may also last for a long time. It’s critical to select a high-quality product and carry out routine maintenance to maintain the longevity of your modem or router.

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