If your cable internet provider charges you an expensive modem rental fee every month, consider buying your own modem instead. A modem generally pays for itself in the first year of ownership, and most will give you speedy internet for years to come. After researching nearly 100 cable modems over the past six years, we recommend the Motorola MB7621 as the best cable modem for use with most internet service providers (ISPs) and internet plans.
If you have a gigabit or multi-gig internet plan and your ISP allows you to use your own modem, the Motorola MB8611 is the best of the DOCSIS 3.1 modems that are widely available right now, thanks to its relatively low price and two-year warranty. You need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem to guarantee gigabit speeds from most cable ISPs, and some ISPs like Sparklight recommend DOCSIS 3.1 modems for new cable modem activations.
The MB8611 supports gigabit internet plans (up to 1000 Mbps or 1 Gbps) as well as multi-gig plans (between 1.2 and 2.5 Gbps). It supports those faster speeds using a 2.5 GbE (2.5 gigabit Ethernet) port on its back panel, just above the usual coaxial (round Cable TV-style) cable. The modem's port will connect to older routers with 1 gigabit Ethernet ports up to single gigabit speeds, and newer routers and mesh networks with 2.5 GbE ports at 1.2 to 2.5 gigabit speeds.
The Arris SURFboard S33 and the Netgear CM2000 have 2.5 GbE ports, which can connect to Wi-Fi 6, 6E, and 7 routers that support the 2.5 GbE standard. The CM2000 shows promise, but it is priced too high compared with the Motorola MB8611, our new upgrade pick. The Netgear also has a shorter, one-year warranty and charges for tech support beyond the first 90 days of ownership.
We tested the Motorola MG7700 in our 4,500-square-foot home while connected to a couple of dozen devices (including tablets, gaming consoles, computers, and smartphones). The router offered a strong Wi-Fi signal on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands on both floors of our home. Everything from surfing the web to streaming video was solid within an approximate 2,000-square-foot radius. In the basement and more distant locations of the house, the signal was weak, but that's to be expected.
Motorola's MG7700 (view at Amazon) checks all the right boxes when it comes to delivering the performance and features most users need in a cable modem/router. If you're looking for even broader coverage, then Netgear's Orbi CBK752 (view at Amazon) combines a top-rated Wi-Fi 6 mesh system with a fast (and future-ready) cable modem to let you take full advantage of the fastest internet plans in even the largest of homes.
A cable modem/router combo is a single device that combines the capabilities of a cable modem with the features of a Wi-Fi router. You plug it directly into your coaxial cable just like you would a cable modem, and then connect your computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices directly using either wired Gigabit Ethernet connections or via Wi-Fi.
Buying a cable modem/router combo can save you quite a bit of money since these all-in-one units are usually far more affordable than buying a cable modem and a router separately. And if you're renting your cable modem, you can save even more by returning that to your ISP, reducing your monthly bill. That said, while modern cable modem/routers are very capable if you have more advanced needs, there are many more options and advanced features to be found among the best wireless routers.
Fortunately, most major cable providers in the U.S. have already \"pre-approved\" the cable modems from all the big manufacturers. You'll normally find this information on the packaging or on the manufacturer's website. However, if you're still not sure, you can always ask your cable provider if the modem/router you're considering will work with their network.
Sometimes, however, you will see a tri-banded router. This can mean two things. Either the router has two independent 5GHz bands or one extra 6GHz band.
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Get the best cable modem, and you no longer have to worry about hidden fees popping up on your internet bill. That's because supplying your own modem gets rid of the equipment rental fee your internet service provider could be charging you if you're using the ISP-supplied modem they gave you with when setting up your service.
You'll need to find a modem that works with your internet service, but that's not a huge challenge. All of the best cable modem contenders we've assessed work with major ISPs in the U.S. So really, all you need to do is find a modem that's easy to hook up and comes with a generous warranty. Here's what we'd recommend based on testing assorted cable modems over the years.
The Motorola MB7420 is the best cable modem for most homes. In fact, managing editor at Tom's Guide Philip Michaels has been using the MB7420 for nearly two years without a single complaint. If you can find the MB7420 for $60 or less, it's hard to track down a better value.
The blue and green lights on the MB7420 are bright enough to read at a distance without turning a dark room into a laser light show at night. We also found the modem easy to set up with a coaxial connector sticking out of the modem's backside at a comfortable distance from its lone ethernet port.
There's not much separating the Motorola MB7420 from the Netgear CM500 as both performed dependably when we tested each modem. But the edge goes to Motorola because it offers a two-year warranty to Netgear's one-year of coverage. That means better protection for your investment, as the best cable modems tend to last for several years.
The Netgear CM500 remains one of the best cable modems available, and you can usually find it for a $5 to $10 less than the Motorola MB7420 most of the time. Anytime you can find a new CM500 for around $50, that's a good buy.
There's actually very little performance difference among the best cable modems in our testing, so it's seemingly slight distinctions that separate these devices. Opt for Netgear's CM500, and you'll get a modem that's just as capable as the Motorola MB7420 or the Arris SB6183. However, Netgear only offers a one-year warranty, compared with two years for those rival modems.
While most homes opt for internet plans that promise speeds of around 100 to 300 Mbps, some people prefer higher-speed service. If your plan promises download speeds that top 300 Mbps, you'll want a cable modem that can take advantage of that greater performance. Netgear's CM600 is the best cable modem for those higher speeds, though you'll pay a little bit more than you would for the CM500.
The Arris Surfboard SB6183 was once our pick for the best cable modem thanks to its solid performance that will satisfy most home internet customers who don't pay for high-speed service. Like the CM600, some retailers are charging more for this harder-to-track-down modem, but if you can find the SB6183 for around $60, then it's worth getting.
At 5.2 x 5 x 2.1 inches, the all-white SB6183 can be tucked unobtrusively next to a router, cable box and whatever other hardware you have on hand. The coaxial-cable connector is a little too close to the power connector for my taste, but you're likely to have to deal with that only when setting up the modem.
These days, makers of home networking gear seem to favor modem-router combinations over standalone cable modems. It may be tempting to buy one of these hybrid networking devices instead of a separate modem and router, as you can take care of two tasks with one device. We'd advise against modem-router combos, though.
So why keep the two networking devices separate If any part of a hybrid device fails, you're out both a modem and a router. It's also easier to upgrade individual networking devices, as routers add support for new networking features at a more rapid pace. Modems evolve more slowly, as you can see from the number of older models still available.
We hook up each modem we review in our reviewer's home, using it as part of our networking setup. That allows us to verify a modem's compatibility as well as to get a sense of its dependability. Since price is also an important consideration when modem shopping, we also monitor retail sites for the best deals on the modems we've tested.
What would be the best way to boost the signal to the rest of the house An antenna A repeaterr The WiFi modem is an ARRIS model, only has one coax in thee back which is tapped directly into the line going into the house. There is however an Ethernet port in the back of the modem. Any advice would be deeply appreciated. Thanks!
I had the same issue. In the end Charter installed high grade coaxial from the street to my house. 1 split goes to my modem the other goes to another splitter. That splitter goes to my TIVO and the other to all the minor TV sets.
And since coaxial wiring works like a cobweb, DOCSIS is resilient. When a cable breaks, that affects only a few families, if at all. (In return, Cable can also be hard to maintain since it can take a long time to locate and fix a broken line.)
An ONT is generally available as a standalone unit, like the one in the pictures you see here, or inside a combo device, a Wi-Fi router with a built-in ONT (often called an ONR or Optical Network Router.)
In order to connect to the internet, you need a modem and Wi-Fi router. Many people confuse modems and routers because internet service providers (ISP) often offer combo devices that serve both functions. Modems and routers, however, are two completely different technologies. Each device has a specific purpose, which we break down below.
Modems connect your Wi-Fi network to your ISP. They translate digital signals from your ISP so your wired or wireless devices can access the internet. Like your computer, modems use an ethernet connection to connect to your router. Typically, modems have two connection ports: one that connects to your ISP and one that connects to your Wi-Fi router. There are three types of modems: 59ce067264