When subscribing to Time Warner cable Internet service, users are often given the opportunity to lease necessary equipment from the company. Cable Internet requires at least a compatible modem, but sharing multiple computers on the connection will also require the use of a modem. While purchasing this equipment can save you money in the end, it must meet the appropriate requirements to work with your connection.
The vast majority of Ethernet-based routers will work with any Time Warner networks. The router must be Ethernet-compatible, and support Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). IPv4 will allow the router to share the single, public IP address provided by Time Warner among multiple devices "behind" the router, using a technology called Network Address Translation. Wireless routers will be similarly compatible, as these routers simply provide home devices the opportunity to connect to the router via a wireless radio frequency, and will have no impact on the router's ability to connect to the cable service.
The greater concerned when connecting your own equipment to Time Warner's broadband network is the cable modem. Time Warner and Road Runner (a division of Time Warner) cable provides a comprehensive list of compatible modem types. Companies listed include well-known names such as NetGEAR, Cisco and Motorola. However, support is provided for a variety of more obscure cable modem manufacturers, including Arris, ZyXEL and Thomson (see Resources).
Modem versus a Router
Routers are different from modems, in that they only deal with sending data to the correct location. Modems, a shortening of the term Modulator/Demodulator, is a device that take analog waves and converts them into the digital 0's and 1's used by computers. Most modems only include a single Ethernet or USB connection for a computer. The USB or Ethernet connection on a modem will go to the Wide Area Network (WAN) port on a router. The job of the router, then, is to translate internal, private Internet protocol addresses to use the public "internet" IP address assigned by Time Warner through the modem. Some companies make device that combine both the modem and the router together, such as the Motorola SBG941.
When purchasing your own modem for Time Warner, the company requires that the modem meet Data-Over-Cable Service Interface Specifications (DOCSIS). The DOCSIS standard is an industry document that defines how the analog signals are converted into digital. Time Warner warns that it cannot guarantee the performance of a DOCSIS modem it has not provided for you. However, you can mitigate this possibility by getting the latest revision of DOCSIS available.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images