2017 Update: The best cable modem router for most people is the ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC. It offers the best balance of price, features, and functions out of 17 other routers we tested.
(Check out the in-depth review video below)
Best Cable Modem Router Combos 2017
To begin, I’ve compiled a list of 7 of the best modem router combos on the market in an effort to help you make an intelligent, well-informed buying decision.
|Router Name||Download Speed||Standards|
|ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC|
|343 Mbps||802.11 ac|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900||960 Mbps||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|TP-LINK Modem and Router Bundled||343 Mbps||802.11 ac|
|340 Mbps||802.11 N|
|NETGEAR N600 WiFi DOCSIS 3.0||340 Mbps||802.11 N|
|Motorola 16x4 High-Speed Cable Gateway||686 Mbps||n, ac, g, and b|
|ZOOM TELEPHONICS AC1900||343 Mbps||802.11 ac|
Let’s dive in….
1. ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC – The Ideal Cable Modem & Router
Take a look at this in-depth review by CNET:
The Arris SURFboard is a very capable piece of hardware that strikes the ideal balance between function and cost. While this modem router is not built using the latest 24 x 8 or 16 x 4 download/upload channels, it does offer great internet wireless connection services.
The SURFboard features 8 channels for downloading and 4 channels for uploading, leading to download speeds of up to 343 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 143 Mbps. Now, naturally you’re not going to experience download speeds at that rate. The download speed ratings and the actual experienced results are going to be dramatically different, but the higher the internet download rating, the faster your download speeds are going to be.
When it comes to the wireless routing capabilities, the SURFboard doesn’t slack off either. It offers dual concurrent frequencies of 2.4 and 5.0 GHz and offers wireless speeds of up to 1800 Mbps, ensuring fast wireless speeds no matter what.
2. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 – Lightening Fast Downloads
See the review video:
If you’re at all familiar with cable modems, you’re probably familiar with NetGear. They are one of the leading producers of modems and routers, and have the experience to produce powerful, top-notch hardware.
The Nighthawk AC1900 is everything you’d expect from NetGear. This modem is ridiculously crazy fast. 24 x 8 channels of download/upload mean download speeds of up to 960 Mbps! Of course, you’ll need an internet package fast enough to get the most out of these speeds, but the potential for streaming, downloading and gaming are amazing!
It’s not just the modem in this combo that’s awesome, either. The router is equally lethal. It offers AC1900 wireless for speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps, meaning you’ll have great internet connection whether you’re plugged into the modem or hanging out on the WiFi.
This router is more than just a simple piece of hardware. It has a 1.6 GHz processor that works with the internet to boost streaming and gaming performance, reducing irritating buffering periods and infuriating and even debilitating video game lag. 1.6 GHz may not be much for a computer processor, but for a cable router, it’s more than powerful enough to get the job done.
3. TP-LINK Archer C7 & TP-LINK DOCSIS 3.0 – Modem and Router Bundled
All right, you got me. This isn’t exactly a modem router combo. Yes, these are two separate pieces of hardware bundled together in a single package. However, there are several advantages to this arrangement.
One: Not all modems are compatible with all routers. Different companies do not necessarily offer support to other brands. So you know that the modem and router are going to be compatible.
Two: You only have to make one purchase, and the bundled price is discounted over what you would pay for modem and router separately.
No, this is not going to reduce the clutter caused by your internet setup. But it does offer capable internet support at a very reasonable price.
The modem offers 8 x 4 download/upload channels for speeds of up to 343 and 143 Mbps, respectively. The router doesn’t slack off, either. The router offers 1.75 Gbps of bandwidth spread over 450 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 1.3 Gbps at 5.0 Ghz. This improves your wireless performance and helps keep you connected to the internet even at the busiest times.
4. NETGEAR N300 – A Great Budget Option
If you’re looking for crazy wireless speeds and super fast downloads, you’re not going to be pleased with the performance of this modem router. But if you have modest internet needs, such as video and music streaming, then this is a great modem combo that won’t break the bank.
One glance at the wireless streaming and you can tell right away this is a budget option. The router offers wireless speeds of no more than 300 Mbps – well below high-end wireless standards. So what does that mean in practical terms?
Basically, if you share wireless data over too many devices, the performance could get sluggish. It also means that streaming online video games over WiFi is not going to offer very good performance. If you plan on doing any gaming with this router, be sure to plug your console or computer into the modem.
Of course, not everyone needs to share wireless information over a lot of devices or does online gaming. This router is perfect for modest internet uses such as watching Netflix or browsing over the internet.
5. NETGEAR N600 – Smaller and Better Than the N300
Here a review video of the N600:
The N600 is the next step up from the N300. It offers many of the same features as the N300, but as the name suggests, offers superior internet connection. The N300 offered a mere 300 Mbps of wireless internet speeds, and the N600 provides – you guessed it – 600 Mbps.
While 600 Mbps is still several rungs below what most dedicated routers provide, you have to remember that this joint modem router is still a bargain compared to the cost of buying both pieces of hardware separately.
When I tested this router out, I definitely noticed the improved WiFi speeds, especially when I was running downloads off of the wireless signal using the WiFi in my laptop. The N600 uses dual band WiFi, which definitely increases the strength of the signal and the area it can reach.
The WiFi speeds still aren’t fast enough for a lot of intense gaming (I tried, and met with some lag), they can handle more devices running and streaming data off of the WiFi.
6. Motorola 16×4 High-Speed Cable Gateway – A Ton of Great Features
This Motorola modem router combos is the second most expensive router on this list, but it also delivers amazing internet performance.
16 x 4 channel channel bonding offers awesome download speeds up to 686 Mbps, which keeps you up to date and running with even the fastest cable internet connections. The built-in AC1900 router offers WiFi speeds at 1.9 Gbps for great wireless connections on all your connected devices.
Wireless Power Boost couples with Motorola’s AnyBeam, which beams at both 2.5 and 5.0 GHz simultaneously, offering improved range, performance and signal strength.
A built-in processor is designed to improve performance and keeps movies streaming and games running smoothly. An integrated firewall keeps your IP from intruders.
7. Zoom Telephonics – Modem, Router and a Modern Design
I had never heard of Zoom Telephonics prior to testing out this modem-router, so I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the router. Considering this isn’t a huge name-brand modem router, I was quite surprised at the wireless performance.
Like most of the other modem routers on this list, this has 8 x 4 channels for download speeds of up to 343 Mbps. The router has great mobile speeds, with AC1900 offering wireless speeds of 1.9 Gbps. 3 dual band 2.4 and 5.0 GHz antennas did a lot to improve the range of the WiFi. I had no problem keeping up the connection even all the way across the house and out in the back yard.
The router offers a number of great features. Parents will appreciate the parental controls that prevent access to inappropriate websites and content. Everyone can appreciate the built-in firewall that protects your IP from unwanted intrusions by third-parties.
Everything You Need to Know About Modems and Routers
When I say this is everything you need to know, I am talking strictly to the average consumer. I could get into a lengthy discussion about the differences between 802.11ac and 802.11 b/g/n, but that’s not going to help you make a purchase.
Instead, I am going to explain the basics of how modems work, how routers work, and how all these two pieces come together to fill your home with wired and wireless internet capabilities.
DSL vs. Cable
Back in the 90s, internet access was routed through telephone lines. This was very primitive for two main reasons: it tied up your landline telephone, and the internet connection was very slow. And I mean slow. It used to take me fifteen to twenty minutes to download a single song at 5 kbps. (Yes. Kilobits.)
Dial-up internet has gone the way of the dinosaurs. Today, there are two main internet options: DSL and cable. DSL is an adaptation of old dial-up connections, and routes the internet through the phone line. Unlike dial-up, however, DSL offers much faster speeds and did not disable the phone line.
Cable, on the other hand, sends internet connections through cable wires. Because cable internet does not depend on phone lines to transfer data, they offer a somewhat faster internet connection than DSL internet. However, cable internet modems require a router to transmit a wireless internet connection, whereas DSL modems generally don’t require routers.
What Modems Do
Modems are actually a rather simple hardware. Basically, they connect with the cable wire that runs through your house. The cable carries internet data and transmits it through the modem. The modem, in turn, processes the information and sends it out as something your computer can interpret.
Strictly speaking, a modem is all you need to connect your computer to the internet. As long as you have an LAN cable, you can connect your desktop or laptop directly into the modem and go. However, the modem is not capable of transmitting wireless signals, so you will not have wireless access.
Furthermore, the modem by itself cannot protect you against hackers, and they can only connect to one internet device at a time. So you could go online on your computer OR your Xbox, but not both.
What Routers Do
Routers are more sophisticated than a modem, but they cannot operate in a vacuum. Without a cable modem, a router is useless, as it does not connect directly to the internet cable.
Think of it this way. The modem connects to the cable, bringing the internet into your home. The router takes the information from the modem and transmits it wirelessly throughout your home, turning your home into a wireless haven.
Technically your router leeches off the signal, but its really a symbiotic relationship. The router actually modifies your internet protocols (IP), allowing the information to be shared among all your WiFi enabled devices.
Because routers modify your IP, they also make it more difficult for hackers to latch onto individual computers on your network, making you more protected.
You can still connect a computer or gaming console directly to your cable modem and still enjoy WiFi capabilities. In fact, if you enjoy online gaming, this is the best option. A direct ethernet link to your system will provide a faster internet connection than latching onto wireless signals, meaning you will have a better gaming performance with less lag if you use an ethernet connection.
Why some users pick combos?
Some internet users opt for a cable modem router combo in lieu of individual pieces of hardware. There are a couple of advantages to this. For one, it minimizes the equipment you’ll need, reducing clutter. It’s also economical. Rather than purchasing (or renting) two separate peripherals, you can condense all of your internet equipment into a single package, saving money over buying two separate units.
One thing you do need to do is make sure that the internet hardware and software you purchase is compatible with your computer. Your computer will almost certainly be compatible with the latest DOCSIS 3.0, but it’s also good to ensure your computer supports the proper drivers.
The other thing to keep in mind is that a dual cable modem router may not have quite the same capabilities as a dedicated modem and a dedicated router. In other words, by buying the two units in one piece of hardware, you’re actually buying a jack-of-all-trades equipment that doesn’t specialize in anything.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of internet users will not notice any significant difference between a modem router unit and the individual hardware capabilities. If you’re looking for the most efficient and economical solution, the combo modem router model may be the best bet.
The advantages of a cable modem router
With two devices bundled in one, you could now save yourself some space plus with fewer wires you also spare the mess that it does create. No matter how good you are with the wires they always misbehave, tangle up themselves, show up out even if you hide it and do everything you expect them not to do so why not just take them out of the scene?
Ease of installation
With a single device, the effort is reduced as you need to install one device instead of setting u you cable and router separately with each other and then with the clients they need to handle.
With one device if you have to do anything for example check for the trouble shoots you know where the problem is, it is in your cable modem router and this way you could easily target the issue. In a separate modem and router case, you would need to first check your router then modem which is a double effort!
You save some money
Now it’s not that we bet you save money, some very cheap low standard router combed with very cheap low grade modem may be cheaper than a good combination modem so there is no betting on this one. But if you go for the upper level products then the combination modem or gateway may beat the separately bought router and modem devices in price.
FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is it best to buy a new, used or a refurbished modem?
To be honest, if you can find a used modem in a good condition then it would be best to buy that one instead of spending double the amount on a new one. This is so because modems rarely break down because once they’ve been set up they stay in the same place for a good period of time as you do not have to reset them every now and then, which results in a greater durability.
Moreover, used or refurbished modems are usually the ones returned by customers mainly because they don’t need them anymore as newer versions keep coming up.
Lastly, as modems have long lives so before they actually stop working they become obsolete. So I, for one, believe it is always a better option to go for a used or a refurbished one than for a new one as both can serve you equally well.
What security standards must your device possess?
In a wireless system, you would actually be officially doomed if you get a thing with weak security standards. What happens is, that as everyone nearby your device including neighbours could retrieve the signals so they could simply break-in, this weaken the strength of signals due to heavy traffic. But if you have high-security standards as WPA and more appreciated WPA2 then it would be difficult for the trespassers to break in. Along with this SPI firewall and other malware protection techs are also appreciated to prevent the spread of virus in your network.
Should I get a warranty?
Yes, it will cost you nothing and save you a lot if in case your modem router combo breaks down.
Does the number of users actually affect the internet speed and signals?
Yes, it most certainly does. The greater the number of users, the weaker the signals become for every user. So if you need a modem router combo for more than say, 7-10 people, then it would be best to get one with a standard of 3.0 DOCSIS.
What price should you go for?
Its better you invest much, not like investing much for the sake of wasting money but investment on some appreciated latest feature is best. But for those of you who are on a budget check may go for relatively low priced ones that we have recommended as it would also work well for you.
Should I Rent the modem router combo or just buy it?
Well, it depends on the size of your pocket. However, it is always best to buy one as the rented modem router combo will cost you way more than if you simply purchased one for yourself.
Is your modem router combo compatible with your ISP?
It is important for you to consider whether your modem router is compatible with your ISP or not. For compatibility, it is best you check with your ISP yourself or go to their official website where the list of all compatible devices is given and you could easily look for the one you are interested in.
What are the factors that enhance the speed and range of your internet?
In a modem router combo, there are various factors that affect the speed and range, some may be related to what the service provider has to offer, and for that, you couldn’t do much. However, as far as the factors in the device are considered, what you could do there is consider the factors and then make a choice accordingly. Those factors are;
The number of channels affects the speed by bouncing traffic/client on various channels so as there would be more channels, each channel would have lesser clients to handle and there are less lagging and load preventing it from any slowdown of speed.
The number of bands also plays the same role as channels. In easier terms, each band is like a \ router so a higher number of bands mean more routers which , in turn, enhances the signal speed for the clients each band needs to control. So a tri-band or a dual band is much better to consider it is like 3 or 2 routers functioning respectively.
Other technologies and bio-mechanics
The processor speed is also a factor that influences the speed, normally a speed of above 1.0 processor is good, plus a dual processor is much better. The Other technology is the QoS technology, which is the quality of support, this enhances the connection by prioritizing the devices that need more throughput. The Beamforming technology strengthens the signal by targeting the device and broadcasting focused signals.
What do you think is the best cable modem router? Leave a comment below to tell us about the product you are planning purchase! Thanks.
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- Best Cable Modem Router Combos 2017
- 1. ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC – The Ideal Cable Modem & Router
- 2. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 – Lightening Fast Downloads
- 3. TP-LINK Archer C7 & TP-LINK DOCSIS 3.0 – Modem and Router Bundled
- 4. NETGEAR N300 – A Great Budget Option
- 5. NETGEAR N600 – Smaller and Better Than the N300
- 6. Motorola 16×4 High-Speed Cable Gateway – A Ton of Great Features
- 7. Zoom Telephonics – Modem, Router and a Modern Design
- Everything You Need to Know About Modems and Routers
- The advantages of a cable modem router
- FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What are the factors that enhance the speed and range of your internet?
- Summing it up on cable modem router combo
- ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC