Internet speeds lower than what you are paying for? Connection constantly dropping? Still using a wireless N router? You may need a new modem and router!
These 2 devices are the main equipment that you need in order to get connected to the internet and connect via WiFi.
What to look for in modems
There are a number of things you want to check for on a cable modem to make sure that you get your money’s worth.
- ISP approved. Cable companies list out all of the compatible modems that are allowed to be used with their network. Your modem MUST be on their official list or the internet provider may not activate your equipment.
- DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 standard. If your modem is anything less, you NEED to update your hardware. This is the newest standard in modems and all modern internet connections will require this. Forget HD streaming without it! Choose the 3.1 if your internet speeds are 1Gbps+
- Number of channels. The number of upload and download channels that a modem has is directly related to the maximum speeds that a modem can reach. You will want at a minimum 8×4 channels (which is good for internet plans up to 100mbps). If you have greater than 100mbps speeds, look for 16×4 and 24×8 channels. For gigabit connections, you will want DOCSIS 3.1 modem with 32×8 channels.
- No built in WiFi. Although it is very convenient to have your router built into your modem, the devices are usually not as stable and consistent as separate devices. Especially if you are playing video games or do lots of HD streaming, try to purchase a standalone modem.
Top modems of 2018
With all that in mind, the top modems you should consider are:
- Arris Surfboard series. This is one of the most popular modems on the market today. It is compatible with many major providers like Cox, Time Warner, & Charter. They also have a full line of products in the series that allows you to choose the best model for you specific internet plan speeds. Not that they also have combo modems (those with WiFi built in) that we don’t recommend, but has been known to have a pretty consistent connection – so if you have to get a wifi modem, this is the one.
- Netgear CM series. This series is a close #2 behind the Surfboard, and is often available for cheaper. Just like the Arris modems, this CM product line has options ranging from 343mbps to 6Gbps, with and without WiFi built in. Its allowed by Xfinity, comcast, spectrum, cableone and other large providers.
The above two modem product lines are the best options you have in 2018 and will last you for many years to come. They are easy to setup, highly compatible with large cable providers, work with any routers and eliminate monthly rental fees.
Purchasing your own equipment instead of renting it will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run, as well as have you better prepared for newer internet technologies (it is easier and cheaper to upgrade your router since wireless technology advances faster than ethernet technology).