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 first two versions of DOCSIS used only one downstream channel (for downloading data) and one upstream channel (for uploading data). DOCSIS 3.0 allows modems to bond multiple channels into a single data stream, giving you 38 Mbps per channel. Since those channels can combine, you can theoretically get up to 600 Mbps with a 16-channel modem and up to 1.2 gigabits per second (Gbps) with a 32-channel modem. A DOCSIS 3.1 will go further, up into the multi-gig capacity (above 1.2 Gbps), but note that wired Ethernet is limited to 1 Gbps on most current desktop PCs, laptops, and streaming boxes.
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.
Everyone wants reliable and fast internet, and a good router can help. The trick is to work out how the complicated mess of standards, confusing acronyms, and sci-fi-sounding features translate to better Wi-Fi in your home. Join us as we tear back the curtain to reveal the pertinent facts about Wi-Fi, routers, mesh systems, and other jargon. Hopefully, you'll be better equipped to buy a router by the end.
Netgear promises up to gigabit speeds on the Orbi CBR750 for Cox and Spectrum subscribers, and up to 800Mbps speeds for Xfinity users. The modem is based on the latest DOCSIS 3.1 specifications, which can deliver 2.5x faster speeds and 10 times faster download speeds than the prior DOCSIS 3.0 standard. Tri-band Wi-Fi delivers total wireless speeds of up to 4.2Gbps.
Arris promises download speeds up to 1Gbps and Wi-Fi speeds up to 2350Mbps for this modem, making it a good addition to homes subscribing to broadband plans with speeds of 600Mbps or less. The Arris Surfboard SBG7600AC2 comes with a built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi router with four Gigabit Ethernet ports.
The Nighthawk C7800 is a 32x8 DOCSIS 3.1 modem that can cover your home with speeds up to 32Gbps, which Netgear states is suitable for extreme gaming and streaming. The unit is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and supports Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac technology with high-power amplifiers, and external active antennas help blanket your home with reliable Wi-Fi signals so you can stream multiple HD videos, play VR games, or just surf the web.
In general, purchasing your own modem-router combo will give you greater control and flexibility over the equipment you desire, the technology you need, and the aesthetic you require in your home. For example, if you want a mesh system, Xfinity only provides that with some of its higher-tier plans. Tech enthusiasts, gamers, and heavy streamers may want a unit that delivers faster speeds and comes with the latest Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E technology, while those with an eye for design may not want a clunky black box sitting on the shelf and instead may opt for a more discrete modem design. These choices and options would not have been possible with a rental, where your ISP will assign you whatever modem they have in stock.
Like the transition from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6 in the router world, DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1 are technical specifications used in cable modems. The newer DOCSIS 3.1 standard is more futureproof and delivers faster speeds.
Many ISPs will allow you to purchase your own modem, but not at all. Always check your plan and give your internet provider a call to find out more. Sometimes modems won't be compatible with the services that an ISP offers, although using a newer modem often fixes this problem. Some providers will require you to rent out their devices.
With more and more of our time being (somewhat unfortunately) spent online, it's perhaps an opportune moment to think about upgrading one of the more innocuous devices that you own: Your Wi-Fi router. Unless you're old-fashioned enough to still be hardwiring to your modem via an ethernet cable, chances are you have a Wi-Fi router hiding somewhere in your home, and however unassuming it may be, this device is the linchpin of your internet connection. No matter how fast your ISP may be delivering internet signals to your home, if your router isn't up to speed, you won't get the full benefit of that connection.
But speed isn't everything. One thing you may not consider when picking out a new Wi-Fi router is security. As anyone who has received an email from a sultan promising large sums of money knows, there are a lot of dangers lurking online. There are also the many sites containing content that, if a bit shocking to adults, is certainly stuff that we don't want our children to see.Buy NowEnter Gryphon Online Security. Gryphon was founded four years ago by John Wu, one of the inventors of the MiFi mobile hotspot, and Arup Bhattacharya, who developed the media processors that powered the Apple iPod, after Wu found his daughter looking at inappropriate content after searching for \"princesses.\" The two made it their mission to keep adults and children alike safe online and block intrusions and malware by filtering the internet at the source. Because most households average 12 devices connected to their Wi-Fi networks, maintaining software and monitoring each device simply isn't a feasible solution. And with kids averaging seven hours a day online, it's impossible for parents to be aware of their activity all the time. (It's estimated that 90% of children ages 8 to 16 have seen inappropriate content online.) And parents themselves and other adults aren't safe either. It's estimated that 70% of devices are vulnerable to hacking, and this at a time (the COVID-19 pandemic) when there has been a 330% increase in hacking activity.
If you missed out on a Black Friday or Cyber Monday router deal that caught your eye last weekend, there's still time to shop for great discounts on home and office networking equipment among the extended Cyber Week deals. These offers feature top-rated routers from premium names like Google Nest, Linksys, TP-Link, Netgear, and many others. A modern router from trusted brands such as these is the surest way to eliminate Wi-Fi bottlenecks and dead zones in your home or office so that you can enjoy the fastest and smoothest wireless connection when you're working, web browsing, gaming, and streaming online.
These Cyber Week router deals are still live right now along with plenty of other price cuts on must-have tech including Cyber Week laptop deals, Cyber Week tablet deals, and Cyber Week smartphone deals. Your router is the link from the internet to your home or home office, so to make sure you get the best one for your needs, budget, and digital lifestyle (whether for work or play). Take a look at these extended Cyber Week bargains before they're gone.Best Cyber Week router deals
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:
Routers connect your devices to a modem with an ethernet cable. They create a Wi-Fi network for multiple devices to connect wirelessly and simultaneously to the internet in your home. A range of frequencies (wireless band) transmits data from your router to your devices. There are three types of routers, depending on the wireless band:
People used to rent telephones from the phone company, something we might find a bit odd in the age of cellphones. Yet, it seems that the Internet industry is following the same path. Most consumers receive Internet from the phone company or the cable company, and most are still paying those companies to rent their modems and routers. Some companies allow customers to provide their own compatible modem in place of the rented modem, which helps reduce their monthly internet bills and can pay for itself in just a few months.
A router enables your home to have Wi-Fi, meaning a computer or tablet in your home can access the Internet wirelessly. Since many consumers do not want to be plugged into a modem before sinking into their favorite chair to surf the Web, most consumers will need to buy a modem AND a router. (Tablets also require a router to connect, since tablets do not plug into modems.) 59ce067264