We recently asked visitors about their broadband modem/router and whether they were using hardware supplied by their broadband service provider, or their own. We also asked how much they had spent on broadband hardware over the last 12 months.  We had over 1,600 responses which reveal that some 42% of the respondents had elected to use their own modem/router, rather than rely on hardware provided by their service provider.

The widespread use of hardware consumers have sourced from third party vendors reflects what we see on our own forums; users often experiment to find which ADSL/ADSL2+ modem gives the best performance for their telephone line.  Two years ago we suspect the proportion using their own hardware would have been even higher, but the last couple of years has seen providers improve the default hardware, moving away from under powered low-cost hardware to better specified devices.

Looking at how much users tell us they’ve spent on broadband hardware (including routers, modems, wireless access points/homeplugs and mobile dongles), most users (58%) told us they had not purchased any equipment in the past twelve months, which given 54% are using the hardware from their broadband provider is to be expected. There is no obvious peak in terms of how much users spend on hardware, which we suspect means users are upgrading various parts as their circumstances change (e.g. buying a new set of homeplug adaptors one year, upgrading a router the next, etc.

We will repeat the poll next year to see how the broadband hardware market may be changing. The rise of FTTC and FTTP products where both a modem and router are supplied for free may mean more people simply stick with the supplied hardware.

Broadband operators in some other countries supply a basic modem that acts as a bridge supplying the IP address to a router or computer which manages the connection whilst, the UK has traditionally used combined modem/router devices which has created a vibrant retail market. If you are considering selling your old router on eBay, don’t forget to make sure the settings are deleted, and also check that you actually own the router, as some providers may provide it to you on loan during the service. Also note that many broadband providers will only assist you in troubleshooting faults if you use the hardware they provide.


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