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Best Overall: Netgear Orbi at Amazon
"The clear choice for anyone looking to upgrade their modem/router setup."
Best for Gigabit Internet: Netgear Nighthawk C7800 at Amazon
"This DOCSIS 3.1 modem/router combo delivers trust 1Gbps internet speeds with Wi-Fi performance to match."
Best Design: Motorola MG7700 at bhphotovideo.com
"A powerful 24x8 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and AC1900 Wi-Fi router in an unobtrusive package."
Best Security: Asus CM-32 at Amazon
"The integrated VPN secures your internet connection and allows for remote access away from home."
Best Budget: Netgear C3700 at Amazon
"The Netgear C3700 is a sleek and affordable option that provides all the connectivity and more of a rental modem."
Best for Streaming: Netgear C6250 at Amazon
"Compatible with most major cable providers, the C6250 is built for speed like most Netgear models."
Best Management: TP-Link Archer CR700 at Amazon
"TP-Link's Tether app lets you quickly enable a guest network, manage parental controls, and more."
Best for Simplicity: Arris Surfboard SBG7580AC at Amazon
"A great little modem/router combo that provides what most users need without the extra frills."
Best for Smaller Spaces: Netgear Nighthawk C7000 at Amazon
"A slim and unobtrusive router with great wireless performance."
Best for Large Homes: Netgear C6300 at Amazon
"This powerful modem will make your streaming, browsing, and gaming smooth and lag-free, and it can connect to up to 25 devices."
Our testing has consistently showed that the Netgear Orbi is one of the fastest, most reliable routers out on the market, making it the clear choice for anyone looking to upgrade their modem/router setup, and the good news is that Netgear makes a version of it that includes a built-in DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem. Able to handle large spaces, including offices or homes, the Orbi is ready to satisfy all your needs with ease. Even if you don’t need its complete 5,000 square foot coverage, it’s still well worth the price tag to get that reliable connection and excellent MU-MIMO support. Plus, you can control all your setup and settings through the very user-friendly app.
With the AC3000 speed rating, four Gigabit Ethernet ports on each station, and tri-band wireless that offers a dedicated backhaul channel for maximum throughput, you’ll have no problems keeping all your devices connected at the fastest possible speeds. While it may struggle a bit with some older 2.4GHz devices, you can find a way to connect everything — it may just take a bit of research.
Don’t let the price tag scare you; though the Orbi will set you back a fair amount, it's well worth it. You can’t beat the fast connectivity and reliability the Netgear Orbi will bring to your home or office.
"The Netgear Orbi is one of the fastest and most reliable wireless routers on the market today, making it absolutely worth the high price of admission." — Bill Thomas, Product Tester
Easy to set up
Reported problems with Cox/Spectrum
Poor customer support
If you're looking to take your network performance up to a whole new level, Netgear's Nighthawk C7800 is worth a closer look. It's one of the first modem/router combos to include a built-in DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem, so it not only works with all of the major cable providers right out of the box, including Xfinity by Comcast, Cox, and Spectrum, but supports the kind of broadband speeds that were once the exclusive domain of fibre connections, with download performance up to 1Gbps.
The beamforming four-antenna array also delivers AC3200 Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3,200Mbps across 3,000 square feet of living space — 1Gbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2.2Gbps in the higher 5GHz range. If the wireless speeds aren't fast enough, four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports let you hardwire in your gaming console or PC directly, and two USB 3.0 ports for connecting printers or external hard drives, with built-in DLNA support to stream your media directly to your smart TV or game console.
"While some DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems advertise speeds of 1Gbps or higher, most cable internet providers will only give you up to 600Mbps over this standard. To get the fastest possible speeds, you'll need to invest in a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem." — Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer
Simple security management
Combo unit limits placement locations
Not ideal for larger homes
When it comes to cable modems, Motorola is one of the most reliable names in the business, and its MG7700 combines its solid DOCSIS 3.0 24x8 channel cable modem technology with an AC1900 Dual-Band Wi-Fi router, giving you high-speed Wi-Fi access to your internet connection in a small and unobtrusive package.
Our testing demonstrates that it can handle cable services with speeds of up to 1Gbps and also includes four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, so you can hardwire your PC or gaming console into it if the 802.11ac speeds aren't cutting it for you. On the other hand, it doesn't include a telephone jack, so you wont be able to connect any phone services to the router, which could be a problem if your bundle includes voice. However if you’re ready to stop paying a monthly rental fee on what's most likely a less up-to-date modem, the MG7700 is easily worth the price.
"We found that it delivered outstanding speeds, maxing out our 100Mbps Spectrum plan when hard-wired via the LAN ports." — Don Reisinger, Product Tester
Good Wi-Fi range
Integrated VPN support
Apple Time Machine compatible
Limited firmware updates
The Asus CM-32 is a great choice for Asus fans looking to ditch their cable modem rental, since it combines an Asus AC2600 router with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem built right in. On the Wi-Fi side, you get dual-band AC2600 performance with speeds up to 1,734Mbps on the 802.11ac 5GHz channel plus 4x4 MU-MIMO support so that you can get maximum throughput even when you have multiple devices connected. An integrated VPN feature also secures your internet connection and allows for remote access when you're away from home.
The integrated cable modem works with most providers and is certified for Xfinity, Spectrum, and Cox, meaning you can get up and running quickly after buying this one and shouldn't even need to call your ISP. 32x8 channel bonding offers theoretical speeds of up to 1.3Gbps, and while many cable ISPs won't let you get this fast over DOCSIS 3.0, this still means it offers performance to spare. Unfortunately, the integrated cable modem means that you'll have to rely on your ISP rather than Asus for the latest firmware updates.
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back let you hardwire in a PC or game console, plus there are two USB ports for sharing printers or external storage, and it's even compatible with Apple's Time Machine, so if you're a Mac user you can use it to back up all of your computers over Wi-Fi. On the down side, while the Wi-Fi router provides great performance on for your wireless LAN, the higher internet connection latency on the cable modem side means this may not be the best choice for gamers.
"Since manufacturers need to get new firmware versions certified by cable providers before they can release them, purchasing an integrated cable modem and router combo means that you’ll often be at the mercy of your ISP when it comes to getting the latest firmware updates." — Jesse Hollington, Tech Writer
Solid wired performance
Antiquated wireless standard
If you’re getting tired of paying a monthly fee for your modem, it’s time to take the plunge and get the Netgear C3700. It’s a sleek and affordable option that provides all the connectivity and more of a rental modem. Perfect for a small home, the C3700 comes equipped with two Gigabit Ethernet ports and dual antennas, which makes this a dual-band device (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz).
However, the C3700's one weak point is with the wireless connection. Rated for N600 speeds, things may lag when you’re going wireless, but when set up with the wired connection, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the speed—even with more than a dozen devices connected to your network, as our testing showed. And set up is a breeze—just unplug your old modem and plug everything into the C3700.
"At under $100, this modem can probably pay for itself in under a year while still providing the speeds we expect from our service." — Bill Thomas, Product Tester
Limited to just 2 ethernet ports
If there’s one thing that’s a must for internet connections, it’s the ability to keep up with streaming; the last thing anyone wants is for Netflix or Hulu to stop mid-episode. And when you’re relying on your internet service provider’s rental modem, that could be a serious concern. So, when you’re ready to drop the rental, it’s time to check out the Netgear C6250.
Compatible with most major cable providers—except Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL providers, DirecTV, DISH, and any bundled voice service—the C6250 is built for speed like most Netgear models. Working with plans up to 300 Mpbs, it will give you up to 1500 square feet of wireless coverage for 25 devices.
Perfect for an apartment, office, or even a large home, and every device will be connected and ready for streaming without any lag or buffering. Plus, it comes equipped with two Gigabit Ethernet ports and one USB port for any wired needs you may have. It also boasts great durability.
Fast Wi-Fi performance
Two USB ports for network file sharing
Mobile app for simple management
No support for voice services
Middling file transfer speeds
TP-Link is known for making some pretty affordable and reliable Wi-Fi routers, so fans of their products will appreciate the Archer CR700, which takes their AC1750 dual-band Wi-Fi technology and pairs it with a 16x8 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, all in one slim package.
Thanks to 16 downstream channels, the CR700 is suitable for some of the fastest cable internet plans available, up to 680Mbps, with a fast dual-core CPU and dedicated modem processor able to handle both your cable internet traffic and your Wi-Fi connections, offering up to 1,300Mbps of throughtput for 5GHz 802.11ac devices. The six internal beamforming antennas also ensure that you can get stronger Wi-Fi signals in more distant corners of your house.
The CR700 is also easy to set up for most major cable ISPs, requiring only a web self-activation or phone call, as it's certified by most of them, and it can also be managed through TP-Link's Tether app for your iPhone or Android device, which lets you quickly enable a guest network when you need it as well as managing parental controls and scheduling access times.
Good Wi-Fi coverage
Simple to set up
No advanced features
Reports of reliability issues
Doesn’t reach advertised speeds
Arris may not be a well-known name in routers, but they’ve been making cable modems from almost the beginning, and the Surfboard SBG7580AC is the company’s latest modem/router model, a DOCSIS 3.0 32x8 version that Arris says can deliver downloads speeds as high as 1.4Gbps, although in reality you’ll only get around 600Mbps from your cable provider without a DOCSIS 3.1 modem.
The SBG7580AC won’t break any speed records on the Wi-Fi side, but still offers good coverage for a small-to-medium sized home and dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz support with speeds of up to 1,750Mbps, making it more than adequate for streaming Netflix and even gaming for single users and small families, but there are also four Gigabit Ethernet ports if Wi-Fi congestion is a problem.
This is a basic little workhorse modem/router combo — you won’t find any advanced features on here like QoS, so if you’re a power user you’ll definitely want to look elsewhere, and it also doesn’t offer support for cable-bundled voice services, but otherwise the SBG7580AC is a solid choice for a non-technical home internet user who wants something simple that just works.
Lacks advanced features like MU-MIMO and QoS
Netgear’s Nighthawk C7000 offers solid wireless performance in a surprisingly slim aesthetic that doesn't look like something out of a bad sci-fi movie, since it packs all of the antennas on the inside rather than letting them protrude in every direction. Even without the external antennas, however, it can cover 1,800 square feet at speeds of up to 1,300Mbps over the 5GHz band or 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz side.
The DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem also offers 24x8 channel bonding for internet throughput of up to 400Mbps, and it's not only compatible with all of the major cable providers, but actually certified for Xfinity by Comcast, Spectrum, and Cox, although there's no phone port so it won't work with cable-bundled voice services. Set up is also a snap thanks to Netgear's easy user interface, so you won't need to be a network engineer to get up and running, although power users who want to get into the more technical settings still can.
Not only are the Wi-Fi speeds blazingly fast, even in a large home, but the C7000 also provides four Gigabit Ethernet ports for those times when only a wired connection will do. While it doesn't offer any advanced features like MU-MIMO or QoS, it's not a serious omission for most home users considering that the available Wi-Fi bandwidth well exceeds the maximum speed of the cable internet connection.
Solid network security
Below average throughput speeds
Covering a 2,000 square foot home can be a problem for most cable internet provider rental modems, and the last things you want are slow internet speeds and an unreliable connection. When you want to forget the rental fees and bring home a reliable modem, the Netgear C6300 is the right choice.
The C6300 comes with the promise of speed like most Netgear products and will give you that powerful internet connection with dual-band AC1750 Wi-Fi up to 450 + 1300Mbps. This powerful modem will make your streaming, browsing, and gaming smooth and lag-free, and it can connect to up to 25 devices.
Just plug in your Ethernet cable, then follow the steps in the app. It’s simple and includes a ton of advanced settings for those who know a bit more about wireless networking. It also comes with strong network security and the added option of Armor Cyber-threat protection, though this service will cost extra if you decide to use it. That said, you may find the firmware frustrating and could notice slow performance, but this can be fixed with new firmware updates.
Jesse Hollington is a freelance writer with over 10 years of experience writing about technology and three decades of experience in information technology and networking. He's installed, tested, and configured just about every type and brand of router, firewall, wireless access point, and network extender in places ranging from single-family dwellings to office buildings. university campuses, and even coast-to-coast wide-area network (WAN) deployments.
Bill Thomas is a Denver-based freelance writer who covers technology, music, film, and gaming. They began writing for Lifewire in January 2018, but you can also find their work on TechRadar. Bill has also worked as an editor at Future.
Don Reisinger is a full-time freelance writer based in New York City. He has been covering technology, video games, sports, and entertainment for more than 12 years. His worked has appeared in Fortune, PCMag, CNET, eWEEK, Slashgear, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and more.
Speed - Depending on your daily usage, you’ll need a modem/router combo that can keep up. Most modem/router combos have a max upload speed of 1Gbps and a minimum download speed of 500Mbps, which should be more than enough for most households.
Security - Security standards are always evolving, but the most recent ones are DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1. Buy a combo device that supports this to keep your data safe from hackers.
Price - If affordability is a factor, you’ve already made a smart choice by opting for a combo device as they tend to be cheaper than buying a dedicated router and modem. However, the price will peak as the features and speeds improve, so weigh their importance in your home.