In recent years, many ISPs have started offering modems with a built-in wireless router, negating the need to purchase one on your own to equip your home with Wi-Fi capabilities. You may want to consider buying one anyway. According to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, ISP customers who purchase a third-party router are all around "happier" with their home Wi-Fi experience.
ASCI routinely surveys customers in the US and subsequently publishes customer satisfaction scores for a variety of products and services. However, this was the first time it measured the in-home Wi-Fi experience.
"For the most part, it was no contest" ASCI said.
Customers who purchased their own router indicated a higher level of satisfaction with their wireless range, the reliability of service (presumably meaning less connection dropouts), the speed at which their router restarts when needed, and cost.
"This is hardly unexpected. After all, equipment is the bread and butter for these third-party companies," ASCI added.
Indeed, the models we identify as being among the best gaming routers offer strong connections and fast speeds, among other bells and whistles. Most of them also afford more granular control of the settings, like the Asus RT-AX88U, for people are comfortable tuning their Wi-Fi on the back end.
If there is a surprise to this survey, however, it's that customers who buy a third-party router are notably happier with the cost. This category showed the biggest divide between buying a router and using the one an ISP provides.
What makes this somewhat surprising is that some ISPs still force customers to use their modems. Customers can still ditch the built-in router for a third-party one, but the monthly rental fee for the modem remains the same.
Regardless, the survey data clearly indicates ISPs have room for improvement in this department, and ASCI says that is the takeaway they should focus on. This is especially true with more people working from home or otherwise being stuck at home as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
"If there was ever a time for ISPs to put resources into improving in-home equipment, it’s now," ASCI says.