Cable Modem Router Combo: 5 Best Modem/Router For 2020
When it comes to buying the best cable modem router combo, things become very tricky. I’ll tell you why. It happens because so many internet service providers or ISPs are available including Comcast Xfinity, Cox, TimeWarner Spectrum, CenturyLink, and many more. These ISPs offer their internet plans with the rental fee. But, I am not in favor of renting a modem in any way.
I know renting a modem/router device is always possible, usually directly via the ISP. But, Most of the time these combo devices are outdated and slow. I don’t think simultaneously multiple devices, heavy-gaming, and 4k streaming going to be possible with them.
So, it is a very simple and straightforward suggestion to you is that just buy your own modem.
Then, what is the best modem router combo? Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (24×8) DOCSIS 3.0 modem/router combo is my recommendation. You can get it under $200. Plus, it is compatible with all Major USA internet service providers including Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, and Cox.
Now, you might be thinking about how I found this modem the best. If you do so, then let me tell you my criteria for choosing the best modem router combos.
How To Choose Right Modem/Router Combo Within 2 minutes?
Only note down three most important things while purchasing your desire modem/router. As I promised you guys that it would take only two minutes, meaning I will not be going into the technicality of these combos devices.
(Note: I’ve also included three extra factors in buying guide down below)
- ISP Compatibility
- Downstream & Upstream (Channel Bonding)
- DOCSIS Version (DOCSIS 3.0 Vs 3.1)
- Wireless Standards
1. ISP Compatibility:
On the subject of ISPs; the first thing you will have to consider when choosing a modem router is whether that machine supports your ISP.
Finding that out shouldn’t be a challenge as most, if not all modem router manufacturers tend to display such information on their respective websites.
Just make sure your device works with your provider, because, if it doesn’t, you just wasted a lot of cash on a useless machine.
Here are a few links to help you get started:
- Comcast DOCSIS Device Information Center
- CenturyLink Modem Compatibility Table
- Time Warner Cable Support
2. Downstream & Upstream (Channel Bonding):
I am 100% sure that you might have heard of channel bonding as companies keep on advertising their modem/router with such term. By the way, it is actually an essential feature in order to buy a good device.
In short, The more channel we have, the faster we go.
Verdict: any modem/router combo with at least 24×8 and 32×8 channel bonding. However, it also depends on your budget. Therefore, I have to include 16×4 and even 8×4 router/combo too on my list.
3. DOCSIS Version (DOCSIS 3.0 Vs 3.1):
It is simple as you don’t have to think much about it.
In 2020, I will buy DOCSIS 3.0 compatible modem/router.
It is inexpensive than DOCSIS 3.1.
It works great with your existing wireless devices.
In 2020, I will be buying DOCSIS 3.1 compatible modem/router.
It is expensive than DOCSIS 3.0.
It requires the latest wireless devices
Verdict: Go with DOCSIS 3.0 without any second thought.
4. Wireless WiFi Standards:
As you know, we are buying the combo, not a cable modem. So, we have to also focus on wireless standards which come with standalone routers. However, there are many WiFi standards available including a, g, b, n, ac, and ad. But a, g, b, and n are ancient. It means, we have to decide between ac and ad standard. Let’s see the following comparison.
Wireless Standards Ac Vs. Ad
I would recommend Ac.
It works great with your existing wireless devices.
It is inexpensive than Ad.
In 2021, I will be recommending Ad.
It required the lastest and Ad standard compatible devices.
It is expensive than Ac.
Verdict: Go with an Ac standard compatible modem/router. Like channel bonding, it also depends on your budget. Therefore, I have to include n standard device too on my list.
Note: Now, you know why I chose that Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (24×8). Plus, I’ve used this modem/router for the last three years. I didn’t find any issues with it so far.
So, let’s take a look at some other combo devices that follow these criteria.
Here Are My 5 Best Cable Modem-Router Combos For 2020
Full Reviews of 7 Top-Rated Cable Modem/Router Combos:
The first router/modem on my list is the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 c7000. Without any doubt, it is my all time favorite. As I said, I am using it for the last three years, and still using. The C7000 allows you everything including Heavy Gaming, 4k Streaming, and Multiple devices at once.
This is a highly recommended modem router combo, it works with the latest DOCSIS 3.0 technology for modems and delivers a truly reliable connection and staggering speeds.
It is capable of delivering 1900Mbps and supports the ac standard. Companies like Cox Premier & Ultimate, Comcast and much more suggest this device for attaining better speed from their services.
Features To Be Noted:
The 1.6 GHz Processor let this router handle heavy tasks with ease, it can quickly process the data and send it across to connected devices for HD Streaming, Gaming and more.
2. Channel Bonding:
This channel bonding is a relatively new technology that effectively increases the download speed. Users have experienced speeds over 900Mbps.
3. Genie App:
Netgear has made a very user-friendly app for all its latest networking devices, the Genie App lets the users access their network settings from any compatible device like smartphones, laptops, PCs, etc. Here they can see all the connected users and even manage these connections or control which sites they can visit.
Pros & Cons:
- It offers three-in-one functionality such as DOCSIS 3.0 modem, four Gigabit wired switch, and a dual-band Wifi AC1900 router.
- It is approved by Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, CableONE, and many other.
- It has four Ethernet Gigabit LAN ports for wired connections.
- Anybeam beamforming technology is excellent when it comes to focus on the signal. It improves the performance and range of the WiFi.
- With C7000, we can enjoy 4k Hd videos, high-speed gaming, streaming, and faster media sharing.
- It is approved for internet plans up to 500Mbps. Plus, 24×8 channel bonding ensures faster internet speeds.
I don’t like:
- It is not bundled voice services supported.
People who are experiencing speed issues during the prime hours of the day can use this modem router combo to get the maximum speed from their internet connection.
The reviews and ratings of the NIGHTHAWK AC1900 are incredible. So far, on this list, it has the largest channel bonding in terms of speed. If you are the kind of person who handles incredibly massive tasks, the processor on this model turns it into a beast, so you won’t suffer speed issues during peak times as this will give you the maximum speed you can get.
The second router/modem combo on my list is Motorola MG7550. Like Netgear Nighthawk C7000, it also offers excellent features. However, C7000 is expensive than MG7550. But, the range is not as good as C7000. Thus, this was the only reason for having this router on the second position on my list.
Motorola MG7550 16×4 Cable Modem, AC1900 offers a compact and space saving design, which helps it to minimize overheating, therefore enhancing performance and durability.
Just like most other cable modem routers, it comes packed with an upgraded DOCSIS 3.0 technology, and it does support 1.0 and 2.0 for optimal performance.
Features To Be Noted:
1. High Speed:
This unit is a combination of a high-speed wireless router and AC 1990 Wi-Fi as well as a power boost so that you can expect nothing less than extreme high speed. The wireless power boost feature means that there is improved performance, boosting wireless signals to the maximum permissible limits. This gives to this cable modem router a significant boost in speed as well as signal strength. It also features beamforming at 2.5 and 5.0 GHz, frequencies allowing it to focus signals to enhance performance and range.
2. Backward Compatibility:
This is actually one of the few modems that you don’t need to worry about when it comes to compatibility. Most of your devices can be connected to the internet through this cable modem router, thanks to the latest AC standards with backward compatibility for the earlier standards.
3. Additional Features:
The router has some of the most sophisticated additional features on the modem router combo. Among these features is a tower design that makes for a great addition to any home or office décor. Along with this modem has surge circuit that protects the interior components from power surges and lightning, to protect your investment. It’s designed to last, which is why Motorola provides a two-year warranty.
Pros & Cons:
- With a modem, we get maximum speeds of up to 686Mbps. While WiFi delivers Maximum speeds of up to 1900 using both bands (600Mbps at 2.4Ghz + 1300Mbps at 5Ghz).
- It is compatible with Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, CenturyLink, Suddenlink, WOW, and CableOne.
- It has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports for faster multiple wired connection.
- Next generation Anybeam beamforming technology which focuses the signal on connected devices. Resulting in, Improved and enhanced range and performance.
- It is approved for internet plans of up to 375Mbps and above.
I don’t like:
- It is not compatible with some Internet service providers such as AT&T, Frontier, CenturyLink, and Verizon’s Satellite services.
The Motorola 16×4 has arguably beaten competitors in terms of performance, speed, and compatibility. It’s not the cheapest unit you will come across, but the features of this cable modem router do justify its price. With two years warranty and extra safety, you can be sure that your investment is protected.
The third router/modem combo on our list is Arris Surfboard SBG6782. It is sub-brand of Motorola. Like Netgear C7000 and Motorola MG7550, it is also a potent combo device. However, it is more expensive than the other two. That’s why it deserves the third position on my list.
Many people may not know, but Motorola is a leader in the modem industry, ARRIS SURFboard AC1750 DOCSIS 3.0 (SBG6782) is an excellent device from the same flagship under the name of ARRIS SURFboard. The company claims up to 8 times faster download speed and up to three times the wireless speed of regular networking setups.
Latest standards and features make it a highly recommended device among top service providers, and each service provider has approved it in the country.
Features To Be Noted:
1. Mimo Technology:
This is a new antenna technology that boosts the range up to 450 feet, which is enough for any home network. This is great for people who are looking for a modem router with a huge range.
2. Channel Bonding:
This new technology delivers a better download speed by combing the eight downstream and four upstream channels; people who use their network to transfer huge file and data may find this feature very helpful.
3. Extended Compatibility:
This device can be used with any operating system including Mac, Linux, Windows, and Unix and this makes it a perfect choice for people who are struggling to find compatible hardware which can help them use their internet connection to its maximum potential.
Pros & Cons:
- It is compatible with Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Time Warner Spectrum, Cablevision, and other.
- It has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports that ensure faster, flexible, and stronger wired connectivity.
- 3-in-1 product that has a cable modem, wireless access points for home, and 2-port Gigabit Ethernet Router.
- It delivers maximum download speeds of up to 343Mbps. While WiFi maximum speeds of up to 1.6Gbps using both bands.
- It supports beamforming technology with the latest internet standard: Ipv4 and Ipv6.
I don’t like:
- It is not compatible with AT&T, Verizon, and Centurylink.
ARRIS AC1750 is your ideal option if you are looking for high speeds in a cable modem and wide range of connection. The extended compatibility with all operating system also makes it perfect for those looking for compatibility with their devices. Overall, this is not the cheapest, but it is a worthy option.
As I said at the beginning of this article that I have to include some 8×4 and 16×4 channel bonding’s router too because of being affordable and cheap. So, I give the best affordable cable modem/router combo award to C3000. It is holding the fourth place on my list.
Netgear has designed this Netgear N300 (C3000) Wi-Fi DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem router with an inbuilt modem that improves not only speed but also the overall functionality.
This economically priced combo is a great deal as the modem is inbuilt and need no additional device or power source.
Features To Be Noted:
1. High Speeds:
Despite being an N300 router this modem combo can easily deliver speed up to 340 Mbps down and 300 Mbps up. You can get more speed out of your existing plan because of this feature.
2. Two Ethernet Ports:
This is a rare feature for an economical router and modem combo, the router allows users to connect two wired devices directly to the router. It also has a USB 3.0 port for sharing media and connecting wired printers.
3. Netgear Genie App:
It becomes very easy to manage the network remotely from any device using this application, it also delivers 40% improved speeds while transferring files over the home network. Apart from this, it let’s first-time users setup their network through fast and easy to follow steps.
Pros & Cons:
- It is approved by Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Time Warner Spectrum, CenturyLink, and many others.
- We can get a maximum speed of up to 343Mbps with WiFi maximum speeds of up to 300Mbps.
- Parental controls, content filtering, and network management become very easy using its Netgear Genie App.
- It is also a 3-in-1 device that includes a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, WiFi N300 Router, and Wired switch.
- It comes with one USB 2.0 port for sharing media files and storage devices.
- Four Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports for faster multiple wired connections.
I don’t like:
- It is not compatible with bundled voice services.
The NETGEAR N300 is excellent by all means. It does have its fair share of shortcomings, but if you are looking for the finest modem router combo on a budget, you should settle on this one. The speed is incredible and provides smooth HD streaming and uninterrupted gaming experience.
The fifth router on my list is Tp-Link TC-7960. It is another budget-friendly modem/router combo. Netgear N300 and Tp-Link TC-27960 both are good in terms of performance, ISP compatibility, durability, price, and features. However, Tp-Link doesn’t provide any App for this device. That’s why it is at number five on my list.
The TP-Link N300 is one of the top contenders when It comes to cable modem routers. This is specifically because of 8×4 channel bonding and the DOCSIS 3.0 technology. It Delivers fast and robust wireless and wired connections which support bandwidth-intensive activities such as video streaming, online gaming as well as fast upload and download of large files.
If you are looking for a reliable and affordable modem router but with a strong signal, this is your best bet.
Features To Be Noted:
This unit gives you the high speed of downloads, right up to 300 Mbps Wi-Fi speeds on a 2.4 GHz frequency. You know that it means, a greater online gaming experience, faster file transfer, and incredible HD videos streaming. As mentioned, the TP-Link N300 uses DOCSIS 3.0 technology and eight downstream channels and four upstream for speeds of 343 Mbps and 143 Mbps respectively, increasing the unit throughput, which means faster speeds on your device.
If you are looking for a reliable signal in your home areas, TP-Link N300 has the best Wi-Fi range. It provides the perfect wireless connection with the 2 internal antennas provided for even better connectivity and performance. It actually has a customizable feature that lets you allocate bandwidth to those devices that you use most, keeping your connection stronger.
3. Easy Setup:
The set up on this cable modem is incredibly easy, considering that it is compatible with Comcast Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, and many other providers. All you need to do is to configure a setup to activate your ISP, and you can get the internet up and running in a matter of minutes. If you are stuck in a rut during setup, just give your ISP a call to assist you with installation, but I am sure it won’t get to this.
Pros & Cons:
- It can deliver maximum speeds of up to 343Mbps (143Mbps Upload and 300 Download).
- We get WiFi speeds of up to 300Mbps for better gaming and streaming using the 2.4Ghz band.
- Easy to set up; it’s a plug and play device.
- The router increases the area of Wi-Fi coverage for convenient wireless connection access.
- Simple installation instructions.
I don’t like:
- The stand which comes with it is not detachable.
Overall, a capable high-grade modem and a great router. If you want a great online gaming experience, faster file transfer, and better HD videos streaming, then you have a reason to choose the TP-Link N300 cable modem router. It is one of the most affordable options out there but does not fall short when it comes to performance.
Top 3 Facts to know before Picking a Modem/Router Combo
Buying a new cable modem router isn’t something you are likely to do frequently, or, for some people, at all.
The modem router combo device is a rare breed, only getting rarer as more and more people are trusting their default, ISP-branded devices more than third-party models.
Still, choosing one that suits you can vastly improve your internet browsing experience while also potentially lowering monthly costs by ditching that slow and expensive router your ISP provides you with.
1. Access Speed
Next up, there is access speed. Understanding this is very important for making sure your new modem router is actually in some way better than your old one.
Basically, the access speed is the operating speed with which your cable modem router lets your PC connect to the internet and manipulate data. It is measured using DOCSIS.
DOCSIS is not really a unit of measurement in itself; rather, it is a software protocol that is used in almost all currently available modems and modem routers.
Docsis Version: The newest, and thus, the fastest version of DOCSIS is 3.1. Modem routers with this version installed are pretty rare and expensive, as of early 2018. The maximum speed for up and downstream activity, i.e., both getting files from your PC onto the internet and vice versa, allowing by DOCSIS 3.1 is about 2 and 10Gbps, or 268,435,456 and 1,342,177,280B/s (bytes per second), respectively.
Docsis 3.0: The earlier and more standard version of DOCSIS is 3.0. This version was released in 2008 and as such, is vastly more common than the relatively recent 3.1.
However, it has its limitations. Both up and downstream speeds are ten times lower when compared to version 3.0.
Still, if you can get hold of a DOCSIS 3.0 modem router, it should generally suffice for most usage scenarios.
However, if you plan on replacing your current DOCSIS 3.0 modem router with a new one, you should pay attention to the DOCSIS version and try to get hold of a 3.1 model.
Also, no matter what the manufacturer might tell you, DOCSIS 2.0 and anything older will not be satisfactory for most users due to its low speed. Avoid it under all circumstances.
Download PDF for DOCSIS Technology by Netgear.
2. Ethernet connectivity
Ethernet Port: Another thing to consider when getting a modem router is the availability of an Ethernet port. This should be a no-brainer for most buyers, but for the rest, here is a basic rundown:
An Ethernet port on your modem router allows you to connect multiple PCs with so-called Ethernet cables to create a LAN (Local Area Network). Check here for Best Ethernet Switches.
This is an internet network that only PCs connected to the same Ethernet input—in this case, your modem router—can access. LANs are most commonly used in small businesses and for playing multiplayer video games, but the truth is that they have a lot of different applications.
Generally speaking, even if it sounds like you are not going to use Ethernet now, it is always a good idea to have a few ports ready on your modem router and plug your Ethernet cable, just in case.
The preferred version of Ethernet is Gigabit Ethernet, but your modem should have this gigabit ports. This is not really a unique version of Ethernet, but rather a disclaimer used to describe any Ethernet connection that can transfer 1 Gigabit— one-eighth of a Gigabyte—per second, which should be a satisfactory speed for most users.
Always check whether or not the Ethernet ports on the modem router you plan on buying are Gigabit-certified. If they’re not, you may be looking at fraudster trying to sell you outdated hardware!
3. Additional features
Features: Moving on, there are a few additional features you might want to look out for on your search for the best modem router. These extras may not be essential for a good Internet experience, but they might superficially improve it.
For example, a USB input might be an exciting feature to have since it allows you to share a USB Flash drive’s contents across a network, making local file sharing much easier. Also very handy is remote access, an additional feature that many modern routers support.
It allows you to remotely access your router’s settings via the internet without actually interacting with the machine directly, looking out for other extras and features are, of course, also generally a good idea.
However, make sure not to pick something you are confident you won’t need, as it will probably do little more than slightly increase costs.
Rental Vs. Own cable modem/router modem/router
Somewhat, a rental cable modem can be a beneficial and smart choice only when you choose your internet plan for a very short of time. In other words, let’s say you want an internet connection for a year only, then I would suggest you pay a monthly rental fee. However, if you are going to use it for more than a year, then purchase your own modem.
Modem vs. Router: What’s the Difference?
Routers and modems the most common computer external devices that add functionality but many people don’t know the function of each one. The two devices look similar but serve a different function.
A modem translates the data for transmission on the phone lines since the two signals are different. Modems also don’t have a built-in firewall so enabling your operating systems’ firewall is important and even better is getting antivirus software installed.
The phone connector goes into the modem, and your computer then is attached to the modem with an Ethernet connection.
The Ethernet cable has a connection that looks similar to a phone line connector but is larger and won’t fit in the phone line slot.
Routers Play a Different Role
The router, on the other hand, has a different function. If you own one single computer in your home, you only need the modem to connect to the Internet.
Owning and utilizing more than one computer, you now have what is commonly referred to as a network. You can now link or ‘network’ all your computers together by using a router.
Other computers in your network need to connect to the Internet via the router which interprets data and sends it where it needs to go. A router does not connect directly to the Internet. That is the job of the modem.
Your main computer is connected to the Internet via the modem which in turn is connected to your phone line.
Your router is set up to recognize the other computers on your network. The router is connected to the modem, but your networked computers communicate with the router via signals received through its antenna.
Another big plus with owning a router is that if you own a printer with wireless capability, and you own more then one computer; you can ‘network’ your other computers to be able to access the same printer.
You don’t need a router to be able to connect to the Internet, but you do need one if you have more than one computer requiring access.
What is a Turbocharged Router?
A turbocharged router uses new technology to increase the range and even improve the performance of your router. They are sometimes called a ‘booster.’
They often have more than one antenna so that it can send and receive signals better and over greater distances. The extra antennas compensate for dead space you may have and also runs interference from other wireless devices like cordless telephones.
The security of wireless networking is critical, and routers come with firewall security measures installed. Users, as well as access to specific applications and websites, can be blocked.
What a Router Can Not Do
There are a couple of things that a router can’t do. One is the environment, storms, power outages, etc., which can affect signals regardless of the antennas and network traffic is another.
Now that you understand the difference between a modem and a router and what they are both used for, you can move right along and set up your home computer network.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I be certain an upgrade is necessary if I already have a modem router?
The easiest way to find that out is to look at your modem’s DOCSIS version number. If it is 3.0 or higher, an upgrade might not be necessary. However, if you are running on an older version, the jump to the newest 3.1 will be substantial.
How can I know whether my modem router combo supports my ISP?
You can find that out by looking at three things: The region you’re living in, your ISP’s website and the modem router’s manufacturer’s website.
Your region, and your country, to a certain extent, generally determines whether or not it is, in fact, legal to own a 3rd party modem in favor of an ISP-provided one. Your ISP’s website should inform you about certain manufacturers and models they deem “supported.”
If your modem router isn’t on the list, don’t despair, as the manufacturer’s website might include additional information. If the manufacturer says the device will work while the ISP says it won’t, contact their support team to get a clear answer.
How does the number of users in a network affect performance?
Slightly, but, under certain circumstances, noticeably. In short, when a lot of users are, for example, downloading a file connected to the same network via the same router/modem, the entire network’s overall speed will be detrimentally affected.
Your modem router’s bandwidth and the number of people accessing the network at any given time generally determine how noticeable this effect will be.
How important are warranties? Should I get one?
Getting a warranty is always a good idea with any high-value purchase. We definitely recommend it.
Okay, so I will buy it. Should I go used, refurbished or new, then?
Of course, quality-wise, buying a brand-new device is always the best option. However, if you don’t care about a few scratches and potentially weaker performance, a refurbished or used product could give you more bang for your buck. All in all, it depends on what you expect and what you’re willing to spend.
What about renting?
Renting a modem/router device is always possible, usually directly via the ISP. However, we advise against renting your modem router as most, if not all, rented devices on the market right now are particularly slow and outdated models.
This modem, be aware that resetting erases any customized setting that might have been programmed into your modem.
To reset your cable to default factory setting just:
Turn the cable router modem off.
> Remove the backup battery.
>> Then reinserts it back, and that’s it.
>> If there is a reset button, just press and hold it and as soon as the light on the modem starts to flicker, release it.
>> Wait until the internet light goes green. You will also need to reprogram your modem.
How to Setup a Cable Modem Router Combo?
Setting up a cable Modem router combo is pretty straightforward. First, you need to check whether your cable modem router works with the cable provider like cable division, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and other major providers.
Most cable Modem Router combo comes with an instruction guide, but if yours doesn’t all you need to do is;
Self- activate the modem at cable provider’s website. If you configure with your ISP, you should have the internet up and run in no time.
If it fails, just call your cable operator, and they will surely help with the installation process.
When calling a cable operator makes sure, you have the modem serial number and modem router model number.
How to Troubleshoot Cable Modem Router?
If you are having issues with connectivity, the initial step is to call your internet service provider to verify whether your device is activated. check Troubleshooting Tips.
If you are experiencing slow speeds or having trouble connecting and your modem is activated, then the problem could be technical. So, start by checking the power levels on the cables that relate to your cable modem router. If they are low, contact your ISP.
Try to remove splitters between the cable modem and router. Make sure you have the latest routers firmware version.
Try to perform a power cycle, i.e., turning the device on and off and waiting for connection issue to resolve.
How to upgrade the firmware version of cable modem router?
To improve your router performance, you need to have the latest firmware version. In order, to upgrade your modem make sure you verify the hardware version to avoid damaging your device or avoiding warranty. Follow these instructions to upgrade the firmware version of your NETGEAR router.
Download the firmware version of your router then using a computer connected to the router launch a web browser.
Go to Router Login site then enter the router login details.
· Select advanced then administration then firmware update.
· When you choose the file you downloaded, and then proceed without interrupting the process, you should have the latest firmware on your device.
The best way to choose the perfect cable modem router should now be as clear as possible. Buying a machine like this one might have seemed like a challenge due to the high number of technical terms, the prices involved and questionable ISPs desperately wanting you to cling to their branded devices in the past.
However, you now know better than that, don’t you? Assuming you read and understood my entire guide, you know how to make an educated buying decision on this topic, so go out there and pick the device that suits your needs best!
I assure you that you won’t regret it.