I’m one of those people who prefer buying a modem over renting it. It’s because I think it’s a better return on investment. However, a lot of people think that they won’t last long and end up renting it from their internet provider.
I’ve been recommending modems and setting up internet connections in California for 7 years. I think that there’s no fixed timing for replacing a modem, one should only replace when facing connectivity, security, or speed issues due to it.
The hardware of the modem can’t be upgraded without buying a new one, but the internet speeds are increasing rapidly. So if your previous modem isn’t capable of handling the speed upgrades, then it’s time to replace it.
When Should You Replace Your Modem?
There’s no fix timing to replace your modem, you should only think of doing it, if there’s a problem because of it. However, based on my experience, a good quality modem lasts for more than 4 years (some even last more, but end up getting outdated because of increasing internet speeds)
Why did I write 4 years? Well, I did a researched the cable internet providers in the United States and found out that the internet speeds gets doubled every 3-4 years without increase in the cost. It means that, if you’re on a 200 Mbps speed plan, you would end up getting 400 Mbps for the same price.
Another reason for writing it is “ROI”, but how? Modem rentals for Comcast Xfinity are around $11/month. Many people prefer purchasing a modem over renting because buying provides a better ROI. However, by replacing your modem every year, you would never get a better return, instead, you’d be spending a lot more.
The above suggestions were made by studying the data of the internet speed upgrades by the internet providers in the United States. Now you must be aware that you shouldn’t replace a modem unless there’s something wrong with it.
Here’s a list of upgrades that were provided by different providers in the US.
- AT&T Complimentary Speed Upgrade 
- Comcast Increases Speeds for users in Maine through Virginia
- Spectrum is offering free speed upgrades to cord cutters
The list shall go on because the majority of the cable internet providers provide internet speed upgrades at least once in 2 years.
7 Reasons to Replace or Upgrade Your Cable Modem
- When your current modem dies.
- When you are upgrading to a faster internet plan.
- When you are shifting to a different cable internet provider.
- When your modem has security issues or is vulnerable.
- If you’re using one of bad modems.
- When there’s an internet problem that’s traced back to your modem.
- When you subscribe to a service that isn’t supported by your current modem. For instance, if you subscribe to landline phone service, you would want a modem with a eMTA to connect your landline phone
How Long Does a Modem Last?
Modems don’t last forever, there’d come a time when they might die. However, the lifespan varies a lot and is based on various factors such as usage, placement, a brand of the modem, internal build quality, power supply, etc.
In my experience, good quality modems don’t die for 3-4 years, but they do get obsolete due to increasing internet speeds. So if you’re having a low-end modem, you might expect it to last for 3 or 4 years at max.
I’ve been using a modem for more than 5 years now and I don’t feel the need to replace it, because I bought one of the top-rated DOCSIS 3.1 modems and it isn’t obsolete yet. However, if your modem isn’t capable of handling speeds according to your internet plan or is creating issues, you might want to replace it.