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How to replace Spectrum router with your own

You will be better off buying a router that will actually work for your network and one that does not require a monthly fee.

nondescript wifi router on table
Image: Consumer Reports

Charter Spectrum cable internet is one of the most popular ISPs in North America. It is widely available and the service is often affordable and easy to manage. Unfortunately, there is a common issue with Spectrum: using their modem/router combo. Spectrum will tell you that they are giving you the device for free, leaving out that you will now have to pay $5 a month to use the wireless router.

The best solution to this problem is to use the free modem, but disable the internal router and use one of your own. While it sounds tedious, it is worth the trouble, as long as you know how.

Pros to Having your own Router

First, let’s go over all of the benefits of having your own router instead of using Spectrum’s router.

  • Save Money: You will avoid the recurring $5 monthly WiFi charge from Spectrum
  • More Choice: You will be able to choose the features that you really want from your router, including using a mesh system for extended coverage
  • Better Security: You can get more security options as well to keep your router as locked down and safe as possible.

Ultimately, you will be able to have a router that really works for your network’s needs rather than a router that is only just “ok.”

  1. Buying a new router. The first thing that you need to do is get a Spectrum compatible router. You will want to have the best Spectrum router possible, so make sure that it is going to fit your needs. You will want your new router to support 802.11n and 802.11ac protocols to support existing devices on your network. You will also want a router that is at least dual-band, if not tri-band.

Naturally, Spectrum will not be able provide any support for a router that is not their own, so make sure that you are comfortable with the use of the new router or know that the new router’s manufacturer has reliable customer service.

  1. Turning off the internal router. After you have acquired your new router, you will need to first disable the internal router in the modem/router combo that you received from Spectrum. It will not work to have two routers running over the top of each other.
  • Putting Spectrum in Bridge Mode. Bridge mode is where you can use a separate router with your existing Spectrum modem/router combo.
  • Connect the new router to the gateway’s Ethernet port. Make sure the device is on.
  • In your browser, go to the gateway’s address. It should be 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1.
  • Login using the default username and password.
  • Turn off the following settings once inside:
  • Wireless
  • Routing
  • DHCP
  • Under the LAN settings, change NAT mode to Bridged mode and save it.
  • Restart the modem.
  1. Setup the new router. After you have finished putting the modem into bridge mode, disabling the internal router, you can set up your new one. You should have already run an Ethernet cable from your modem to your new router and it should be plugged into the power outlet as well. Once the router has booted up, you can access the router’s settings and get started. The login information should have come with the new router. You will need to open up a browser on your computer and type in the IP address. It should have default login information, such as “admin” with a password of “admin,” or something similar.

The first thing that you will want to change is the login information. Make it unique and the password should be impossible for an outsider to guess. There, you will be able to set up your all of your security and personalization features as well to make the router your own.

Once you have personalized your router, you should reboot it to allow the settings to take effect. Then you should be able to get your devices connected.

Do not be fooled by Spectrum’s ploys of a “free” router. You will be better off buying a router that will actually work for your network and one that does not require a monthly fee.

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