Most of us spend at least $10-$15 every month renting modems and routers from our internet service providers. This is almost or more than $1800 a year, depending on your provider. Buying your own modems and routers is more convenient and makes more sense and more savings in the long run.
Do you need a router and a modem for Wi fi?
When using cable internet, modems act as your connection to your network, while wi-fi routers make the connection wireless. You can get these devices separately, but in the spirit of saving money and reducing clutter, two in one modem routers work best.
Choosing the right combination of modem and routers maximizes your provider’s internet plan, improves your download speed to allow you to stream and watch videos in HD. You can simultaneously connect several devices in your home, especially in a smart home where you need to connect many devices. Changing ISPs or internet plans becomes easier since the modem router is yours.
The Best Wi-Fi Router With Modem Combo
Below are some of the best cable modem router combos in the market.
NETGEAR Nighthawk CAX80
The Nighthawk CAX80 is a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem router that is especially useful for daily performance in HD streaming and gaming. You can use this device with a cable internet plan of up to 2 Gbps, and it supports up to 6 Gbps Wi fi speed and a maximum 1000Mbps download speed.
It has three antennas and amplifiers, which boost the signal over a large area of at least 3000 square feet. The CAX80 is compatible with COX, Spectrum, and Xfinity by Comcast. It has 1 USB port for connecting external devices, 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, one 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port, and parental control performance features that allow parents to monitor their children’s activities. Nightgear also has Guest Wi fi controls that allow guests to access your network and, in a smart home with many appliances, connects to over 45 devices.
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000
The Nighthawk C7000 modem wi-fi router combo connects to different cable ISPs like Spectrum, COX, and Xfinity. It is not compatible with DSL providers, AT&T, DirecTV, CenturyLink, DISH, Verizon, or bundled voice services.
The C7000 is a DOCSIS3.0 and a 24×8 channel bonding modem, which means it has faster performance in terms of internet speed and secures your network. 24 channels are for down streaming, while eight channels are used for uploading. The C7000 supports WPA, WPA2, WEP protocols, and its parental control features are a plus.
Internet streaming download speeds from this model go up to 960 Mbps, while wi-fi speed is up to 1.9 Gbps. Three antennas power the Wi fi and can cover an area of up to 1800 square feet, but can also cover up to 2,500 square feet. You can connect at least 30 devices in a smart home and has 2 USB and 4 gigabit Ethernet ports. It is a bit high in price, but a very worthy investment and a stellar performance.
The Motorola MG7700 is an excellent modem router combo and supports internet speed of 600 Mbps. It has four Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow you to plug devices for a swifter connection directly. The MG7700 has dual-band Wi fi support, and beamforming provides fast, reliable, and stable wireless.
The best feature of the Motorola MG7700 is what they call “Wireless Power Boost.” This feature acts as an amplifier to the wireless signal, extending its range to cover a larger area using one modem router.
The ASUS CM-32 is one of the best modem router combos for gaming and streaming in HD. This combo is compatible with COX, Xfinity, and Spectrum. It has a DOCSIS 3.0 32×88 cable modem and an AC2600 Wi fi router with four external antennas that boost the signal and cover a large area.
It comes with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB ports. It has a 32x 8 channel bonding that provides you with download speeds of up to 1.3 Gbps. The best feature in the CM-32 is MIMO technology, which enhances the internet speed, which means that even if you are using several gaming devices, the speed will not change. You can manage the guest network, network map, monitor traffic, and parental control via the ASUSWRT app.
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800
The NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800 ultra-fast speeds and compatibility with various providers like COX and Xfinity make it a good choice. It works with internet speed plans with Gigabit speeds. It covers up to 3000 square feet, and you can connect 45 devices on with 3200 Mbps on AC3200 Wi fi speeds.
You can connect multiple devices such as game boxes, computers, printers, and external storage drives. It has four Gigabit Ethernet and 2 USB ports. The WEP, WPA/WPA2 security protocols, DOCSIS 3.1 standard security protocols secure your network, and it has parental controls to monitor children.
ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 Router Combo
The ARRIS SURFboard does not come cheap but can easily fit into most homes. It is a combination of three products- a modem, a 4 Gigabit router, and an AC235 dual-band Wi fi.
The ARRIS is compatible with COX, Spectrum, and Xfinity ISPs. The modem supports speeds of more than 10 Gbps, and the Wi-fi speed supports up to 2350 Mbps, which allows video streaming in ultra-HD, and seamless online gaming. The DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem standard has an option if connecting it to MacAfee Secure Home Internet, making it secure from hacking and malware. The parental control features help in monitoring your children’s internet activity.
The SURFboard Manager app allows you to control the modem router from an iOS or Android smartphone, connecting to Alexa for better management. It has no USB port, so you can only connect devices that have Ethernet ports.
The Motorola MG7540 has a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and an inbuilt AC1600 1 gigabit Wi fi router with internet speeds of up to 1600 Mbps. It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and it is best when used with cable providers offering internet speeds of up to 375 Mbps. It has a Broadcom modem chipset that protects you from DOS attacks. The MG7540 can be used with various providers like X1, Mediacom, WOW! COX, Spectrum. RCN, Xfinity, Xfinity1, BrightHouse, Time Warner Cable, etc. It is not compatible with satellite services, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL, and Verizon.
The AC1600 Wi fi provides internet access to most services and devices, including Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Google Home, most notebooks, tablets, and smartphones.
If you are on a budget, the Netgear C3700 is a bargain. This combo supports all major cable providers in the US, and its price is lower than all the other combos we have featured. The C3700 offers easier traffic management since it is dual-band. Its maximum internet speeds are much lower, but it still offers good performance when using multiple devices. It comes with an app called Netgear Genie for seamless management of your network.
The most significant disadvantage of this model is its connectivity. It has only two Ethernet ports, and you have to rely on Wi-fi compared to other models we have looked at. All in all, for someone on a budget, the C3700 is a real bargain.
ARRIS SURFboard SBG7600AC2
The ARRIS SURFboard SBG7600AC2 is slightly higher in price but an excellent device with useful features. It comes with a dual-band Wi fi router AC2350, a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, and another router with 4 Gigabit ports. The SURFboard is compatible with Spectrum, COX and Xfinity, and is incompatible with CenturyLink, AT&T, and Verizon.
It has internet speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps and wi-fi speeds of up t0 2350 Mbps. The wi-fi router combo comes with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 32 downstream, and 8 upstream channels, which is enough for a medium and large home.
The SURFboard has an ARRIS SURFboard Manager app, which allows you to manage the availability and quality of your Wi fi, and control internet access. The combo is also protected by McAfee Protection, which is managed using the McAfee Home Internet app.
The Motorola MG7315 supports lower cable speed, and its technology is a bit outdated. This is another combo for someone on a budget and has few devices, and an internet plan with a lower than 145 Mbps download speed. This device pays for itself in under a year and a suitable option for someone who is starting on owning a modem router combo.
The Motorola MG7550 has a dual-band AC1900 with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem. This combo needs to be used with a cable internet speed plan of 375 Mbps. It has an inbuilt Broadcom chipset that protects you from DoS attacks. The Wi-fi signal is amplified by Power Boost technology and covers a medium-sized house.
The Motorola MG7550 is compatible with Spectrum, Xfinity, Cox, Xfinity1, Time Warner Cable, Cable one, Suddenlink, etc. However, it is incompatible with satellite services from Frontier AT&T, CenturyLink, Fiber optic, and Verizon.
You can connect this device to multiple devices and services like game boxes, smartphones, notebooks, tablets, Google Home, Amazon Echo, Roku, Apple TV, etc. It also has parental controls to monitor your kids.
The Netgear C6250 is in the higher price range but is among the best models. It gives you a range of up to 1500 square feet and a connection of up to 25 devices. This combo is compatible with Spectrum, COX, and Xfinity. It is incompatible with bundled voice, DSL providers, CenturyLink, DirecTV, AT&T, and DISH service providers.
It works perfectly with provider internet speed plans that offer up to 300 Mbps, and the router gives you up to 1600 Mbps wireless speed connection, excellent for gaming or streaming.
It has 1 USB port and 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports that give you a fast internet connection with your external devices like game boxes, storage drives, and printers. This device has DOCSIS 3.0 parental control features and supports WPA/WPA2 and WEP security protocols.
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7100V
The best option for anyone big on security, the Netgear C7100V is the best option. These modem routers come with a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem for daily gaming and streaming. They work with internet plans of up to 400 Mbps and provides Wi-fi speeds of up to 1900 Mbps and maximum download speeds of 1000 Mbps.
It has three antennas and amplifiers that amplify the signal throughout your home. It has voice phone support compatible with Xfinity Voice and is also compatible with Xfinity.
This combo has 2 USB ports, 4 Ethernet ports, guest Wi fi, and parental control features.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between Router and Modem?
A modem is a device that receives and translates your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) signal into a language your devices can understand and use. The router, in turn, makes the signal wireless.
Can I get a modem and router in one?
There are numerous types of modem router combos in the market that work just as well as the separate devices. The combo saves on space and clutter, and although it has advantages and disadvantages, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Is a modem router combo better?
A modem router combo is better when you want to save on space and if you want to change your internet plan or provider. The disadvantage of the combo is if you need a particular router or combo, you have no choice but to take what is available in the market as a combo.
Which ISPs Provide Cable Internet?
In your area, you might find these major providers:
Do you Need to Buy a Special Modem for Fiber Optic?
Fiber internet does not use modems like cable internet. It used ONTs or Optical Network terminals. Third-party ONTs are rare, so you may have to lease the modem your ISP provides.
Are there Downsides to Buying Modem Router Combos?
Having a combo is very convenient, but having separate modems and routers is an easier way of keeping up with technology trends as you can upgrade each device individually. Smart routers are currently all the rage, but they are yet to be available in combos. The latest modem technology DOCSIS 3.1, is also not available in combos at the moment.
What is Dual-Band wi-fi?
Dual-band Wi-fi is where a wireless router simultaneously broadcasts the signal over two separate radio frequencies: the 2.4 and 5 GHz. Single-band routers only use one frequency- the 2.4 GHz. Dual-bands are faster because they distribute the traffic on both frequencies instead of congesting it on one band.
When buying a modem router combo, here are a few things to consider:
- Supported Speeds
When you sign up for an internet plan with your ISP, you choose a plan with an internet speed that best suits your needs. Make sure you get a modem and router combo that supports these speeds; otherwise, you will be paying for speeds you cannot enjoy because your modem router combo cannot handle the speed.
- Ethernet Ports
Confirm how many Ethernet ports you need and how many are in the model you want to buy. This is an investment you are making, so if you think you might need more Ethernet ports in the future, get one with many ports.
Find out the type of USB and Ethernet port the combo has. This helps you know which devices you can plug into the device for a fast and stable network signal.
- Channel Bonding
You get faster internet when you have more modem channels. The naming lists the download channels, then upload channels. 16×4 means you get 16 channels for downloading and 4 for uploading. With such a setup, you can seamlessly achieve a speed of 300 Mbps.
Security provides you with protection against malware, viruses, and server hacking. If the device has DOCSIS 3.0, your internet connection is secure.
The combo you get needs an excellent range, which means the signal is strong enough to permeate through to all rooms. It makes no sense to pay for good ISP speed when you cannot enjoy the signal. Check for the number of antennas and ask the manufacturing company the strength of the combo’s signal. They rarely provide the information when giving device specifications, but you can go online and look at customer reviews. You may have a few blind-spots in the house, but try to get the best router with your required range.
- Wi-fi Performance
802.11n and 802.11n are standards that were popularized in 2009 and 2012, respectively. These standards are dual-band, and they support Wi fi on 2,4 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequencies. Routers only worked on 2.4 GHz frequencies, which can permeate walls and work from a long-range, but it only has 11 channels, and the connection is not very strong.
The 5.0 GHz has 23 channels, giving it an ultra-fast connection. At first, it did not have a similar range to 2.4 GHz, but the 802.11ac technology amplifies both their range to approximately 820 feet. An 802.11n router reaches 820 feet, but 5.0 GHz reaches only 460 feet.
Always make comparisons between the features and the price of the combo. You might buy a pricey combo that has the same features and performance with a less expensive one. Also, check your budget and buy what you can afford.
Choosing a modem and router combo boils down to your requirements and budget. If you need the best speed, make sure your provider can match the speed. Find out what your needs are in terms of speed and other specs and what is available before choosing one.