Question

does cable modem mbps dictate or limit router mbps?

In other words. If my cable modem only has 50 mbps is that all I will get out of my wireless router, even if the router has a higher mbps rating/

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Answer
Good enough for me!

So let's add one more thing.

The speed from the web site or server to your router is set by the slowest link anywhere in-between.

It's not fun to read folk post about slow download speeds and they act surprised when this is brought up.
Bob

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not sure i understand

I'm not sure I understand your answer. I have a 50 mbps router and I want to upgrade it. My cable modem is only rated at 48 mbps down stream. If i bought a router with say, 150 mbps, would I see and benefits or would my modem limit any benefits because it's only rated at 48mbps?

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You need to think about how the internet works.

There's a server over somewhere and from there to your PC are a bunch of links. The possible speed from that server to your machine is going to be limited by the slowest segment or link. This is why, most of the time increasing the cable modem or wifi router speeds rarely improves the speed from most servers on the internet.

Since your router is already faster than the cable modem, the benefits are indeed muted to near zero.
Bob

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reccomendations?

O.k. I get that. So in your opinion would it be helpful to upgrade both the modem and router or is the server the weakest link. What I really want is more range from my router,

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To speed this up, always put what the goal is first.

Range is limited by a few simple things (that we can't see!) The power of the router, and the environment or walls and location of the router and buildings. Sometimes it's interference from things like old cordless phones.

No maker has a stronger router signal because all have a limit imposed by the FCC (or your government.)

To improve range I move the wifi router to a better location. Some folk ignore the basement warning and that's easy to fix the range by moving it out of the basement.

I've seen folk pay hundreds for such moves. Here I continue to move mine for free.
Bob

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PS. I didn't find which router. Why it matters?
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port speed

Maybe a simpler example. You take your PC which has a gig interface and plug it directly into the cable modem and how fast would you expect it to run.

The reason you would want a faster router is if you wanted to say stream video between devices INSIDE your house. Since this does not pass though the modem it could run at the speed the router allows.

Now bobs comments are the reason it all doesn't matter. Lets say you wanted to copy file from your friends pc and he only has a DSL connection that can run 384k. No matter how fast your modem is you are restricted by HIS device. This is true for all types of connection you just can't find out how slow or fast they run.

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Answer
Please let me simplify this . . .

Your download speed is dictated by your ISP and the bottlenecks that Bob mentioned. Period. My Cisco cable modem is DOCSIS-3 and is rated at Gigabit output speed as is my D-link router. My cable speed is 15 Megabits/second. What do you think my download speed is? My wireless N is rated at 54 Mb/s. What speed do you think I get? Both questions, I get 15 Mb/s on a good day, usually slower because of those accursed bottlenecks.

In other words, you get what your ISP provides.

Now, on my home network, between devices, I get blistering speeds.

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