I replaced our old *and rented* cable modem on Friday with a new [Motorola Surboard SB5101](http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-Surfboard-SB5101-Cable-Modem/dp/B000JV9LUK) I purchased from Amazon and have so far seen great improvements in my surfing. The difference between a nearly seven-year-old [Toshiba PCX1100U](http://www.toshiba.com/taisnpd/products/pcx1100u.html) and the new Surfboard was worth every penny.
Our home network is not simple. Hanging off the cable modem is an [Apple Airport Extreme](http://www.apple.com/airportextreme/) and extending that is my trusty old [Linksys WRT54G](http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1175243243298&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper&lid=4329833028B13). Is there anyone who *doesn’t* own one of these?
Why two routers? I’m segmenting [N](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/802.11n) from our slower [B](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11#802.11b) and [G](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11#802.11g) wireless traffic and some of Dean’s little gadgets like his NintendoDS don’t support WPA, so I’m also segmenting WEP from WPA. Overall, this works pretty well and I’ve had little problem with it.
However, for a couple of years we’ve had problems with our Internet connection just hanging–our browsing would suddenly freeze for minutes at a time and would do this several times in an evening of surfing. We lived with it, though. Troubleshooting two routers, three computers, an AppleTV and three game consoles was more than I wanted to handle.
Then a week ago I saw on [DealMac](http://dealmac.com/) that Amazon was selling the Motorola Surfboard SB5101 for $45.00 with free shipping and a link to a $20.00 off coupon, making the total cost about $25.00. At $3.00/month rental for our old cable modem I calculated an [ROI](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_on_Investment) in less than one year.
The new modem arrived on Friday and I contacted [Comcast](http://www.comcast.com) from work to give them the new hardware address. In three separate calls for different reasons I managed to get through on their customer service line in under three minutes each. Good work, Comcast!
Today, we’re surfing faster. I noticed one of my weekly BitTorrent files, which has taken a few hours in the past to download, took about 45 minutes. And my browsing is free of those several minute hangs. Plus, I will now get a free lunch every three months.