Best WiFi Modem

To help you find the best WiFi modem and router combination, we evaluated our options using the following criteria: Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) protocols, WiFi compatibility, and internet speed.

The best product we tried was the Netgear CM500 cable modem, an exceptional choice for those who want to buy their own modem and save money as well. Equipped with DOCSIS 3.0 modem, it will make your home network connection fast, secure, and reliable. It also has great compatibility with US internet service providers. Read on to learn more about the Netgear CM500 and our three other favorites.

Top 4 Best WiFi Modems

 #1  Netgear CM500 Cable Modem – Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Netgear CM500 features cable internet speeds of up to 300 Mbps, high compatibility with major ISPs, 16×4 channel bonding, and high-speed internet access, making it significantly faster than other devices.

Pros
  • Xfinity, Comcast, COX, and Spectrum certifications
  • 300 Mbps speeds
  • Compatible with most ISPs
Cons
  • Not compatible with voice service bundles
  • Some hardware issues
  • Connection problems

The Netgear CM500 cable modem router is equipped with DOCSIS 3.0 technology, which can support fast HD streaming and other high-bandwidth activities. It has 16 download channels and 4 upload channels, making it ideal for people with 200 Mbps internet plans. It’s arguably the best WiFi modem on the market.

Out of all the modems we tested, the Netgear CM500 had the most impressive compatibility with US ISPs. It can support many of the major service providers, including Comcast and Spectrum. It isn’t, however, compatible with AT&T, Verizon, and so on.

It is compatible with any WiFi router. The setup is quick and minimal, and it should only take you about five minutes to get through. Plus, it stands vertically upright, so it won’t take up a lot of space on your shelf. Gamers may want something more specific to gaming with the appropriate specs, which is what our best router for gaming list is all about.

 #2  Motorola MG7540 Modem Plus – Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: The MG7540 has internet speeds of up to 375 Mbps, giving wired devices stable, lag-free connections all day long. Although its functionality caters to all types of users, we’ve learned that its performance with Comcast is unrivaled.

Pros
  • Best for Comcast
  • Good security features
  • Compatible with most internet providers
Cons
  • Lacks a telephone jack
  • Wireless signals may degrade over time
  • Some connectivity issues with the 5 GHz channel

Motorola MG7540 is another modern cable modem that can help you save hundreds of dollars per month in rental fees. It can help you save approximately $156 a month. The modem has a DOCSIS 3.0 system with built-in AC1600 dual-band wi-fi technology, making it ideal for internet plans that reach up to 375 Mbps speeds. It can support high-bandwidth activities on a myriad of devices such as desktops, laptops, game stations, HDTVs, and many more. Perhaps the best thing about it is its AnyBeam WiFi beamforming technology, which enhances your wireless performance.

Like our top pick, the Motorola MG7540 is compatible with multiple ISPs. This includes Comcast Xfinity, BrightHouse, RCN, and more. It also isn’t compatible with Verizon and AT&T. As it comes with a built-in WiFi router, you can save money, time, and space. No more messy wires and power cubes. This way, you can have a clean, simple, and easy single-user interface. Our second favorite modem has a two-year warranty. Speaking of an easy user interface, you have likely heard about the best mesh routers, which are not only cutting edge, but also a great choice for ease of use.

 #3  Netgear 6250-100 NAS modem – Best for Gaming

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Netgear 6250 is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with an AC1600 router and two-gigabit wired switch that delivers 16x faster (and stable) download speeds.

Pros
  • 680 Mbps speeds
  • 16×4 channels
  • Compatible with major ISPs
Cons
  • Heats up easily
  • Only two phone ports
  • Some hardware issues

Netgear 6250 is a three-in-one modem that can give you 1,500 square feet of WiFi coverage. It’s perfect for large smart homes with multiple devices connected to the internet. It features dual-band AC1600 speeds and 16×4 channel bonding, giving you faster internet speeds than your standard connection. You can stream HD films or play online games without experiencing latency issues.

Unlike the other items on our list, it has special parental controls that allow you to manage your network from your smartphone or desktop using the Netgear Genie app. It even lets you set up a guest network in your home for visitors. It is compatible with most US cable providers, except for a few such as Verizon, AT&T, and CenturyLink. Don’t forget to keep in mind that the best network switch will help you to connect all of your devices, like this one, in a network. Another bit of advice is that if you want extra bandwidth, you may prefer the best AC router, which also gives you support for the latest 802.11ac networking standard.

Another model worth looking at is the Netgear Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router – a powerful router built with gaming, streaming, and mobile devices in mind. While you at it, you should also have a look at the Netgear DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem.

 #4  ARRIS SBG10 Surfboard 3.0 – Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Arris SBG10 is a combination of DOCSIS 3.0 technology, 802.11ac technology, and gigabit Ethernet port, which makes homes with fewer mobile devices easier to manage. It’s the best WiFi modem for consumers looking for an all-in-one device.

Pros
  • Solid two-year warranty
  • Three-in-one functionality
  • Supports IPv4 and IPv6
Cons
  • Lacks a telephone jack
  • Not compatible with voice service bundles
  • Some compatibility issues with Spectrum

The Arris Surfboard SBG10 is an all-in-one device that delivers fast wired networking as well as high-speed streaming. It has DOCSIS 3.0 technology and 802.11ac WiFi capabilities. It even has two one-gigabit Ethernet ports that deliver high-speed internet with no latency, giving you an excellent streaming or gaming experience. Using the modem on a Spectrum internet plan, you can reach speeds of up to 400 Mbps.

Although it is compatible with ISPs like Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity, it doesn’t offer support for their voice service bundles. So it may not be the best home wifi for everyone if that is important to you.

How We Decided

We spent nearly a week researching, testing, and reviewing all kinds of modems from different brands. To find the best WiFi modem, we focused only on modems that work with any WiFi router. The last thing you want is to purchase a modem and find out the hard way that’s it’s not compatible with your W-Fi router. From there, we made sure that our top picks were all modern iterations with Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 3.0 or 3.1 protocols. Compatibility with US internet service providers (ISPs) was important in our search as well.

Finally, we selected modems based on their internet speeds. All four of our favorites have up to 300 Mbps internet cable speeds, which can support high-bandwidth activities on multiple devices without any latency issues.

 

 

Best WiFi Modem Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

The average internet user does not need the kind of performance level that modern WiFi modems deliver. There’s no reason to pay for features that you won’t use. However, in this increasingly digital world, it’s important to have a modem that meets your wireless networking needs. Here’s our best modem buyer’s guide to help you get started.

  1. ISP compatibility
    Much like how we chose our favorites, you ought to consider the modem’s compatibility with your internet service provider. Not all modems can support major ISPs. You, too, can narrow down your choices by selecting modems that are compatible with your service provider.
  2. Number of channels
    Through channels, information is transported from your cable internet provider to you. If a modem is marketed with 8×4 channels, it means that it has eight channels for downloading content and four for uploading media online. The more channels the modem has, the more speed the ISP can bring to your home network.
    Take note that the number of download channels will always be greater than the number of upload channels. To improve your network’s performance, always pick specs based on your internet speed. For instance, 8×4 channels are ideal for those with 100 Mbps internet plans.
  3. Bonus features
    Some modems have additional features like a telephone jack, which will allow you to use phones in your household.

WiFi Modem FAQs

What’s the difference between a modem and a router?

If you’re not sure what everything means when searching for routers best to check online or pop down to your local tech store for advice. The terms “modem router” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different devices. A modem connects your network to the internet, while your router connects your devices to WiFi. The latter doesn’t need a modem to function. Most modern iterations of modems are compatible with routers. There’s also a growing number of devices that merge the capabilities of modem and router units. Even though you may need both functionalities, you don’t need two separate spaces for both devices on your shelf. That’s why it’s a great idea to invest in a modem router combo!

Should I buy or rent a modem?

In the US, internet service providers often charge consumers a monthly fee for renting their modem. Instead of renting a modem from your ISP, you can purchase one and save $60 to $120 annually. The upfront cost of buying a modem is within that range. But after a year, you will surely have recouped your investment. Then, you will finally start saving a few bucks a month.

Should I get a WiFi modem-router combo?

Today, you can get all-in-one modems with router functionalities. They’re not only easier to set up, but they also save you a lot of money and room on your shelf. However, if either the modem or router feature fails, you’ll need to replace the whole device.

Why do some wi-fi routers have USB ports?

Wireless routers with USB ports are often referred to as USB routers or USB wireless router. USB ports allow you to use your hard disk to be used as a media server, letting you stream movies directly from the storage. This is the simplest way to create your own router USB hotspot. Plus, multiple family members can simultaneously access it. On top of that, Share Port can handle webcams, audio devices, scanners, and USB mice and keyboards.

What does a LAN port do?

LAN ports on a router allow Ethernet-ready devices to connect to one another and share data.

What does the gigahertz band (like 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz) in a WiFi router mean?

The gigahertz band indicates the frequency band that the router uses in order to transfer data. This band also determines the speed data transfer happens. For instance, a 2.4GHz 802.11b router can accommodate a maximum speed of 11Mbps while a 5GHz 802.11a router has a maximum speed of 54Mbps.

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Geri Mileva

Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance writer with nine years of experience. Technology, marketing and finance are among her favorite topics to write about. She's also a strong advocate of plant-based and ethical living.

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