How to Replace a Comcast Modem with your Own

Not too long ago, I highlighted 3 ways to get rid of your Comcast modem rental fee after Comcast killed my old Netgear gateway. Comcast recently raised their modem rental fee to a ridiculous $13 per month (or $156 per year).




I had successfully tried the Comcast negotiation route before – but it’s easy to forget to call in to negotiate every 6 months to do so. And when you get a discount on your modem rental, it leaves you with little leverage to negotiate bigger discounts on the cost of the internet service.

Besides. I hated seeing a device with a little “XFinity” logo on it sitting next to my computer.

So I decided to replace the Arris Comcast-owned gateway, with my own, at the cost savings of $156 per year. Don’t let Comcast fool you – ANYONE can do this on their own.

Now, I am no longer paying the ridiculous $13 per month rental fee for a Comcast modem – and I want to share how you can do the same.

Update: I’ve also written more broadly on how to get rid of your ISP modem rental fee (even if you’re not with Comcast).

Here is How to Replace a Comcast Modem with your Own, in 4 Easy Steps:

I will specifically detail how I replaced a Comcast modem with my own, but this should be applicable to other ISP’s as well.




1. Buy a Compatible Modem & Router or a Gateway to Replace your Comcast Modem

how to replace comcast modemYou do not NEED to buy a 2-in-1 gateway device, such as the one Comcast commonly supplies. You can go with a basic cable modem and pair it with a wireless router.

There is a list of Comcast supported cable modems that are compatible with their network. Comcast recently upgraded their network to DOCSIS 3.0, but it is backwards compatible to previous generation DOCSIS model modems.

The tech I had spoke to previously had recommended a now obsolete Motorala gateway. After doing some research, however, I had noticed that this device had horrible reviews due to a number of problems working with Comcast’s network through firmware (or lack of) updates.

Instead, I opted to go for the Arris DOCSIS 3.0 SB6190 cable modem (you may also want to check out the Motorola MB7420 model) and paired it with the NetGear AC1200 router so I could get fast wifi throughout my entire house. Both were top sellers in the cable modem and router categories on Amazon and had outstanding reviews. I paid a total of $120, which means the devices will pay for themselves in less than a year! Then it’s free and clear until they die!

Those were my picks, but any of the following modem + router combos will be more than sufficient:

Modems:
All have speeds up to 686 Mbps, priced around $60 and under, and are top sellers on Amazon.

  1. ARRIS SURFboard SB6183 (16×4)
  2. Motorola MB7420 (16×4)
  3. NETGEAR CM500-1AZNAS (16×4)
  4. TP-Link TC-7620 (16×4)

Routers:

All handle speeds of at least 300 Mbps + 900 Mbps with dual band (2.4 & 5 GHz), strong wifi range, & are highly rated Amazon best sellers, under $60.

  1. ASUS AC1300
  2. MediaLink AC1200
  3. NetGear AC1200
  4. TP-Link AC1200

2. Call Comcast to Activate your Modem

After you get your new gateway or modem/router combo, you’ll have to call Comcast to activate your modem. Select “technical support” when you call in. When you are connected to a tech, tell them you bought your own new modem to replace your Comcast modem.

They will start by asking you for the MAC address and Serial Number listed on your new device so that they can send a signal to your device. I’ve had my share of bad Comcast customer service experiences, but this one was surprisingly positive and simple. The tech walked me through getting my internet up and running with my new modem. Within 5 minutes, I was connected at 75 mbps download and 15 mbps upload – the same speeds I had from the Comcast Arris gateway.

The Comcast tech also removed the modem fee code in my billing profile (I didn’t have to ask for this, but you may have to). Finally, he gave me the address of a service center to return my Comcast modem.

3. Connect your Devices to your Router

Once you have your modem and router running, you should secure your wifi network and connect your devices.

You can easily set your network name and your password on your router. You’ll then need to go back to each device (laptop, cell phones, tablet, etc.) to choose the new network and enter the password.

Each router will have slightly different instructions on how to do this, but all you need to know is that it’s a fairly simple and straightforward process. Total time invested was about 15 minutes.

4. Return your Comcast Modem!

Don’t forget to return your Comcast-supplied modem or gateway. The tech told me I had 45 days to due this before Comcast listed the device as missing and charged me for it. Surprisingly, you will not be charged for the device in the meantime, you just need to make sure to return it within the 45 days.

Here is a list of Comcast XFinity service centers. They are generally open Monday – Saturday during normal business hours.

Make sure to get a receipt for your device return! I have heard of a few examples where the returnee did not do so and ran into problems. Any time you can keep a paper trail with Comcast, it’s usually a good thing, so you don’t end up with unwarranted fees later on (even when you own your own modem).

Replacing your Comcast Modem Fee Discussion:

  • Have you replaced your Comcast modem with your own?
  • What gateway or modem/router combo do you personally recommend?

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