A modem, also called an Internet gateway device or Internet access device, is a piece of hardware that connects to your ISP and provides internet service. Your router (also known as a network bridge) transmits signals via Wi-Fi. To connect to the Internet from your house, you’ll need two items: a capable modem that receives a signal from your ISP and a router that broadcasts the signals over Wi-Fi. For many people, this is two separate devices: a modem and a router.
By upgrading your cable modem to a combo device that also includes a built-in Wi-Fi router, you may improve your home wireless reception while saving space and money. You won’t need to rent out a box from your cable company if you purchase the modem router package outright, eliminating the rental fee as well as the complexity of setting up your home networking.
Here are the top router modem combinations available in 2022.
Arris Surfboard G36 Multigabit
Why this is a good investment: The Arris surfboard G36 is a future-proof modem router combination investment that can deliver some of the fastest speeds.
Who is it for? Small businesses and streamers, gamers, technology enthusiasts, and geeks.
Why the Arris surfboard G36 Multigabit was chosen:
Arris is a well-known name in the cable modem industry. The company’s Surfboard line was a favorite choice for customers of Xfinity and Cox over the years. For homes with multi-gigabit broadband plans that require the fastest speeds, the G36 modem is a great choice. The Surfboard G36, the flagship model in the series, is slightly cheaper and has fewer tech-forward options for those with limited budgets. Both models support the latest DOCSIS 3.1 standards and Wi-Fi 6 router performance. We recommend the G36, as the difference in price between the models is only $20.
The Arris Surfboard is multi-gig, offering up to 10Gbps wireless speeds. Gamers will love the dedicated 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, as well as access to four additional Gigabit ports. The combo works best for those who have broadband plans that are at least 1.2Gbps. Setup and management of routers can be done using the Surfboard Central app. This combo does not provide access to a phone port. If you require a landline connection, this is the problem.
Netgear Orbi CBR750
Why this is a good choice: The Orbi CBR750 blends a cable modem and a Wi-Fi6 mesh network, which can provide reliable Internet reception for larger homes or offices.
Who is it for? Tech lovers in smaller businesses and larger homes.
Why Netgear Orbi CBR750 was chosen:
Netgear’s Orbi Mesh solutions are some of our favorite on the market. The tri-band Orbi CBR750 from the company is no exception. Orbi CBR750 is one of our most unique solutions. It combines a Wi Fi 6 whole-home mesh solution and a cable modem. It is ideal for larger homes. Orbi’s mesh solution allows you to buy one unit, which includes the modem and router, that can cover up to 3,000 sq. feet of Wi-Fi 6 coverage. Or, you could purchase a three-pack that includes the modem and router, and two satellite nodes for coverage of up to 7,500 sq. feet. To further enhance your setup, you can add additional nodes.
Netgear promises gigabit speeds for Spectrum and Cox subscribers on the Orbi CBR750, and 800Mbps speeds for Xfinity customers. This modem uses the latest DOCSIS 3.1 specifications. It can deliver speeds up to 2.5x faster and download speeds up to 10 times faster than the previous DOCSIS 3.0 standard. Tri-band Wi Fi delivers wireless speeds up to 4.2Gbps.
Netgear’s companion app is one of the best things about purchasing into their ecosystem. This makes it easy to set up and manage your entire-home network. Access to parental controls, guest networks and monitoring of traffic will be available. Netgear Armor also offers an optional subscription that provides additional security options to ensure everyone is safe.
Netgear Nighthawk CAX30S
Why this is a good choice: A fast, reliable DOCSIS 3.1 modem must be paired with a Wi-Fi 6 router.
Who is it for? Gamers or streamers who require the fastest bandwidth.
Why Netgear Nighthawk CaX30S was chosen:
Netgear’s Nighthawk CAX30S is a good choice if you don’t require a Wi-Fi mesh solution for your entire home. The CAX30S has many of the same features as the premium Orbi mesh system, including Wi-Fi 6, the most recent DOCSIS 3.1 protocol and multi-gigabit speeds.
The CAX30S can stream at speeds of up to 2.7Gbps, and it supports six simultaneous high-speed streams. To fully take advantage of the modem’s capabilities, you will need a home broadband plan that supports gigabit support. It also has a 32×8 DOCSIS3.0 compatible high-speed DOCSIS3.1 Cable modem. It also features four gigabit Ethernet ports on the router, with dual gigabit Ethernet port aggregate.
The modem has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and is capable of 4K UHD streaming as well as robust gaming. Smart connect by Netgear intelligently selects the fastest Wi Fi band for each device to increase speeds, reduce congestion, and minimize latency. Nighthawk is simple to use and offers optional subscription services that can be used to enhance your Wi-Fi experience, as well as secure your home network.
Why this unit is important: The Motorola MT7711 combines a router, modem and home phone line.
Who is it for?Xfinity home Internet subscribers with landline access who require it.
Why Netgear Nighthawk CaX30S was chosen:
Although Motorola’s MT7711 ISP provider is affordable, Comcast customers can benefit from a unique trick. Customers who subscribe to Comcast voice plans and Xfinity Internet will be able plug in two landlines phones to the dual phone jacks on the Motorola MT7711.
The Motorola MT7711 is priced lower than other modem router combinations. The unit can still deliver Internet speeds up to 400Mbps through its support for dual-band Wi Fi 5, 24×8 DOCSIS 3.0 and four Gigabit Ethernet ports. High Speed Internet’s the State of the Internet report shows that the average home Internet connection speed will be just below 100Mbps by 2021. Most homes will still fall within the MT711 speeds.
Arris Surfboard SBG7600AC2
Why this is a good choice: The Arris surfboard SBG7600AC2 will deliver the goods at a reasonable price.
Who is it for? Web surfers without high-speed internet access.
We chose the Arris surfboard SBG7600AC2 because of its
The Arris Surfboard SBG7600AC2 isn’t just a plain-looking router/modem combo. It still offers many features for those who only need a reliable internet connection to surf the web. The Arris Surfboard SBG7600AC2’s affordability and compatibility with many cable providers — unlike the Xfinity-centric Motorola MT7711 — is the highlight. It also supports DOCSIS 3.0 specifications. It supports 32 downstream channels and eight upstream channels. This makes it an ideal choice for busy families who are juggling conference calls and web browsing as well as remote learning.
Arris claims download speeds of up to 1Gbps, and Wi-Fi speeds of up to 2350Mbps. This modem is a great addition for homes that subscribe to broadband plans with speeds below 600Mbps. The Arris Surfboard SB7600AC2 has a built-in 802.11ac WiFi router that supports four Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Netgear Nighthawk C7800
Why this is a good choice: The Nighthawk C7800 will cover larger areas with Wi-Fi coverage, without the need for a mesh setup.
Who is it for?Gamers or streamers who live in larger homes.
Why the Netgear NighthawkC7800 was chosen:
Netgear’s Nighthawk C7800 is a traditional router design that can be used in combination router-modem spaces. It has four protruding antennas located in the rear. Although not as sleek or as self-contained as other box-shaped designs, the Nighthawk C7800’s antennas will provide better coverage without the need to use multiple satellites. The C7800 is a better solution for homes with small spaces or open floor plans. A mesh network will not be necessary for Wi-Fi coverage.
Nighthawk C7800 32×8 DOCSIS 3.0 modem can provide coverage for your home at speeds of up to 32Gbps. This is suitable for streaming and extreme gaming. It is powered by a 1.5GHz dual core processor. The unit supports Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac technology. External active antennas and high power amplifiers provide reliable Wi-Fi signals to blanket your home so that you can stream multiple HD video streams, play VR games or simply surf the internet.
Guide to buying a router and cable modem combo and FAQs
What should you look for in a combination router?
When choosing a modem router combination, the first thing to consider is whether it will work with your internet service provider (ISP). Most of the models in our list will work with all cable modem providers. This includes Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum and Cox. However, the Motorola M7711 will only work with Xfinity voice or broadband services.
The models listed here won’t work with DSL or fiber lines. This means that customers of AT&T, Verizon DSL, fiber or FIOS will not be able to use the models. You may have different requirements. There are certain modem router combinations that work with specific DSL services. If you are able to find a combo of modem routers that you like and has the features you require, call your ISP to ask if they can add it to your plan.
What are the advantages of owning a modem over renting one?
Although renting a modem might seem more affordable than buying it, you won’t need to pay several hundred dollars upfront. However, it can end up being expensive over time. Xfinity charges a $14 per-month rental fee instead of the $13 rate. Anyone renting equipment will have to be flexible in response to changes in the market and economic environment. At today’s rates, Xfinity’s rental costs will be $336 over two years.
Spectrum is one example of a provider that includes a modem with all home broadband plans. However, Spectrum will charge a $5 rental fee if you don’t have one.
Buying your own router and modem combo will allow you to have more control over the equipment and technology you use, as well as the aesthetics you want in your home. Xfinity does not offer mesh systems with its higher-tier plans. Gamers, tech enthusiasts and streamers might want faster speeds and the latest Wi Fi 6E technology. Those with an eye for design, on the other hand, may prefer a discrete modem design to replace a bulky black box. These options and choices are not possible with a rental. Your ISP will assign the modem they have in stock.
If you are not tech-savvy, renting your modem will allow you to access your ISP’s technical support department. Your ISP can help with initial setup as well as troubleshooting issues. This is a great starting point for people who have never set up their own modems. Once you feel more comfortable you can move to your own equipment.
What’s the difference between DOCSIS 3.0 & DOCSIS 3.1?
As with the Wi-Fi 5 and 6 transitions in router worlds, DOCSIS 3.0 is a technical specification used in cable modems. The newer DOCSIS 3.1 standard delivers higher speeds and is future-proof.
DOCSIS 3.0 has a maximum speed of 200Mbps upstream and a maximum downstream bandwidth of 1Gbps downstream. DOCSIS 3.1 promises DOCSIS 3.1 to be 10x faster for downloads, with a downstream speed up to 10Gbps.
A DOCSIS 3.0 modem is fine if you don’t stream a lot of high-resolution video content. A DOCSIS 3.0 modem built into a Wi Fi 5 router will save you money. Advanced users who require the most recent technology will prefer a DOCSIS 3.0 router that is paired with a Wi-Fi 6, or Wi-Fi6E router.
Do I need to have a backup battery for my modem?
Most modems and router combos won’t support backup batteries, although some models might offer this option. Models with an optional backup battery usually support voice service. Your modem should allow you to hook up a landline. This feature is important if you have to make an emergency phone call during a power cut.
The data section of your modem router combination will not function even if you have a backup battery. You will still need to connect your modem to the backup battery generator in this instance.
What happens if I want voice service to my modem router combination?
A modem router combo that supports voice features is required if you require landline or voice access. The availability of voice-capable modem router combinations is less common today than it was in the past, as many people are switching to personal cell phones.