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If you're reading this, chances are you're connected to a modem someplace, or have been in the last 24 hours. These devices bring us television, internet, news and entertainment. Depending on the strength and caliber of the device, these signals can be boosted or hobbled, so buying a good modem can bring you a better media experience.
There is a variety of services available that provide internet and other media to home and professional users, but the boxes they provide usually aren't the top of the line. A standard modem will carry a 6MHz signal just fine, but upstream data won't travel as well from a sub-par device as it could from some of the top models.
Cable modems work best for those receiving their service through a television or multi-service provider, though in some cases a DSL modem is necessary. These carry TV, internet and even phone with a single connection, and the higher the demand for a device, the stronger it needs to be.
Some of the best modems offer up to 24Mbps download speed with 2Mbps upload streams as well. All providers will carry a slower upload speed, regardless of brand or carrier, as it's largely assumed that we're downloading a significant amount more than we're sending back to the web. That speeds up the process, though, making room for the utility most users want most. These devices also will usually have at least one Ethernet port, though some are USB compatible. LED lights on the exterior of the case aren't standard, but purchasing a modem with this feature will help assist with diagnostic tests if a problem should arise.
Whether you have standard, cable or DSL service, a modem is essential for receiving internet. The stronger the device, the better your surfing will be.