Last updated by Chris Bulbulian
What equipment does Ting provide?
Our hardware is two separate pieces: a fiber modem (technical name Optical Network Terminal or ONT) paired with an 802.11ac Gigabit router, specifically the "ZyXEL EMG3425-Q10A".
You will always receive the ONT in either case (at no additional cost) as it is a necessary piece of equipment. The decision of whether to attach our wireless router to the ONT -- or your own -- is what will be covered here.
How It Works
Our ZyXEL router is designed for residential use and typically works well in most homes up to about 2500 sq ft, although this is a rough guideline and depends on building materials and router placement. That being said, we provide an option called Bring Your Own Router ("BYOR") that is available to both residential and business customers.
For residential addresses, this gives you the option to deploy more powerful routers with external antennas, high-end mesh kits, or a router you may already own. For commercial addresses, you may be better served with a business/enterprise solution such as a SMB firewall.
If you select the BYOR option, we will supply you with the ONT (borrowed from Ting for free) and you would run an Ethernet cable from that to your wireless router -- a standard Cat5e cable is fine if it will be a short run. If over 25 ft, we'd recommend using Cat6 or better.
If you choose to go down the BYOR path, you should be aware of the limitations that creates for our customer service team. Our technical support will not have visibility to any routers attached to our network, and as such cannot troubleshoot issues related to customer-supplied equipment. We will not be able to assist with setting up BYOR hardware, and we will be able to confirm if the service is working up to the ONT only.
Costs for our ZyXEL wireless router
1) $199 one-time purchase (plus sales tax)
2) $9/month ongoing rental fee (plus sales tax)
3) $0 "Bring Your Own Router" option
When should you use your own hardware vs ours
Before you choose to supply your own hardware, it is important that you confirm it is capable of handling the speed you choose. We have a list (found here) of highly rated 3rd party routers that are well reviewed. Customers have noted they work well with our Gigabit service.
Next up is to check the "specs". At a minimum, the packaging should say either "Gigabit" or "10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet" (or both), if it is capable of handling gigabit speeds. It is best to check for the actual throughput rating of your hardware before finalizing your decision as many devices (particularly business-grade firewalls) with gigabit ports are limited to actual throughput below 1000 Mbps (sometimes as low as 200 Mbps per port). This info should be included in the spec sheet of the hardware. If you no longer have the packaging, you can likely look up your device's specs online and determine if it is gigabit capable.
If you're using Wi-Fi, it's also a good idea to check what Wi-Fi standards your router supports. 802.11ac will provide you with the best wireless speeds, on compatible devices.
If you're still unsure if the router you have would work well, get in touch.
Coverage Considerations - Wi-Fi vs Wired
Ting's crazy fast fiber will not change the limitations of Wi-Fi. That is, the speed feeding into the ONT may be Gigabit, but the performance you can achieve over wireless is still limited by interference, barriers like floors and walls, and distance. If you have a large home or receive weak signal in certain parts of your property, read below for alternate options.
It is become increasingly common to forego a single access point and go with a "mesh network", which usually comes with 3 or more pieces. In short: these create an internal wireless network across each node, blanketing your home with more wireless access points and minimizing poor reception pockets in your Wi-Fi coverage. Mesh kits are typically controlled from an iOS or Android app. These have numerous benefits over a more basic solution like a range extender in that they have additional network backhaul and thus faster speeds.
That being said, we always recommend connecting your devices via Ethernet if at all possible, as this will give you the fastest possible speeds whether using your own router or ours. Ethernet bypasses virtually all Wi-Fi limitations such as distance, interference, or barriers. It is also generally "plug and play" with zero config needed.
For best performance, we only recommend that you deploy our equipment in networks with less than 100 LAN connected hosts, and less than 40 wireless connected devices. If your network exceeds these numbers then it is recommended that you supply your own business / enterprise-grade networking hardware.
If you have a firewall or existing capable router in your network environment or an otherwise complex network architecture, you should consider forgoing the use of our router and connecting that business-grade gear directly to the ONT.
If you have a very large office or many thick walls in your space, then you may want to consider supplementing the hardware with an additional access point solution to ensure proper wired and wireless coverage. Consult your IT team if applicable.
Other things to consider when making the decision
- The speed you are selecting
If you are selecting Ting's slower residential speed, the specifics of the router are less crucial as the majority of wireless routers can handle 5 or 10 Mbps speeds without issue -- and typically these routers are a fraction of the cost.
- Your level of technical knowledge
As we will not be able to troubleshoot issues if they relate to your own hardware, you may want to base your decision on your comfort level diagnosing and troubleshooting issues. If you do not feel comfortable modifying settings within the router's configuration menus, consider using our hardware so we can support it more capably.
- The hardware warranty
Most routers come with a manufacturer's 12 month warranty, and require you as the end-user to pay to ship the defective unit back if it needs servicing or replacement. Meanwhile, our router comes with an 18 month warranty if purchased (or an ongoing warranty for as long as you are renting it) and if it needs replacement, we can have a technician swing by and assist with this, including setting up the replacement router with your preferred wireless name and password.
- Is your router... actually a router?
A typical router will have 5 Ethernet ports in the back. Four of them are side-by-side usually labeled LAN (to hard-wire local devices, such as computers or printers) and one is separate or may be color-coded differently, usually labeled either Internet or WAN (meant to be connected to a modem, such as our ONT). If your router has the 4 LAN ports but the other connector is a small phone plug or coaxial cable, then this is not a traditional "router" but instead a Cable or DSL Gateway likely supplied by your previous internet service provider, and would not work with Ting.
If you look at the ports on the router, you should be able to determine this fairly easily: