Top 5 Best WiFi Modem/Routers

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ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, and Cox are notorious for cajoling their customers into unnecessary equipment rental. If you are currently renting a modem or router from your ISP, consider replacing their mediocre rental equipment with your own networking gear. It will be yours to own, and most decent units cost less than one year of rental fees.

Though you have the option to purchase a separate modem and router, combo units are usually the more affordable, convenient option. Sure, if you are trying to push online gaming to its limits, you might be better off with a quality cable modem and one of the best AC routers, but aside from that, even an average modem router can handle everyday tasks like streaming, web surfing, and uploading.

All of these modem/routers are designed to work with cable internet, so make sure you don’t have a DSL or FiOS service before you buy one. The modems on each unit are the latest DOCSIS 3.0 standard, and will work problem-free with any major service provider.

Also don’t forget, if you get your home phone service bundled with your WiFi, you will need a special modem to support this feature. And so long as you make these basic compatibility checks, you’re free to cut equipment rentals out of the picture completely.

1. Arris SURFboard N300 (SBG6580)

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The Arris SURFboard SBG6580 is recognized as a top recommended modem/router because it is universally compatible with all major cable providers. It gets a download speed of 343 Mbps and an upload speed of 131Mbps, making it a surprisingly fast unit for its price.

The reliability of this combo unit is matched by its versatility, as it includes four gigabit-speed ethernet ports for wired connections, and is capable of quick WPS one-button setup when connecting other devices.

As an N300 router, you won’t have access to the faster 802.11ac wireless, but this will only be an issue if you have a compatible device that benefits from higher speeds. Online gaming might be somewhat inhibited on an N300 connection, but this router handles other everyday uses superbly.

Price: $97.85

Buy the Arris SURFboard SBG6580 here.

Top 5 Best AC WiFi Range Boosters

Preserve the speed of your 802.11ac router and eliminate dead zones with one of these powerful WiFi signal boosters.

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2. Arris SURFboard AC1750 (SBG6782-AC)

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The Arris SURFboard SBG6782-AC is the definitive upgrade to the Arris SBG6580. The AC1750 modem/router offers impressive range, as Arris’ WiFi Beamforming technology can deliver focused signals towards stationary devices to maximize its effectiveness.

Despite using the faster AC wireless standard, this router’s speeds are still capped at 343 Mbps down and 141Mbps up. This is plenty of speed for any standard cable internet plan though, as again, few providers offer more than 50 Mbps plans.

Upgrading to an AC router also allows for faster connections with AC-compatible devices, and yes, it is backwards compatible with any older wireless standards.

The SURFboard has four gigabit ethernet ports on the back, plus a port for MoCA networking (Ethernet Networking over Coaxial Cable), and a WPS button for quickly connecting wireless devices. The SBG6782-AC is the ideal combination of fast and easy.

Price: $149.99 (32 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Arris SURFboard SBG6782-AC here.

Top 5 Best AC Routers 2016

Paying for gigabit speed internet? Unlock its full potential with a new 802.11ac router.

Click here to read more

3. Netgear N300 (C3000)

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Netgear’s C3000 is another N300 router that, despite being a basic model, still boasts high upload and download speeds. Depending on your Internet service package, the C3000 can get 340 Mbps down, and 300 Mbps up. While a router of this class does not get the same range as more modern AC routers, the power the C3000 boasts is enough to achieve maximum speed on most basic wireless plans.

This modem/router is compatible with all major cable internet providers, and offers versatility with its two gigabit ethernet ports and its USB port to share networked media. Netgear routers are notoriously easy to setup, either using their WPS push-button connections, or using Netgear’s Net Genie app.

On top of that, they have fantastic customer support online and over the phone, making the C3000 a safe buy if you feel like you might need some help to set up networking gear on your own.

Price: $89.99 (18 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Netgear C3000 here.

Top 5 Best WiFi Signal Boosters

Dead zones can plague even the best routers. Instead of tearing down walls in your house for that perfect connection, try one of these top range extenders for a better WiFi signal.

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4. Zoom Telephonics AC1900 (5363)

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Though this modem/router from Zoom looks particularly plain and boxy, its AC1900 WiFi signal is anything but plain, with a speedy dual band connection and great supporting features.

While its AC 5GHz connection can support up to 13000 Mbps of data at once, its modem limits it to a standard 343 Mbps up and down. This unit does have a couple tricks up its sleeve though, like Broadcom TurboQAM technology, which increases maximum wireless-N data rates to 600 Mbps.

The dual band itself gives this modem/router a big edge over competitor units, as it allows you operate on either a 5GHz band or a 2.4 GHz band based on which is more crowded (usually the 2.4GHz band), improving speeds when many devices are connected to one router.

As a less well-known brand, this Zoom Telephonics unit can usually be picked up at quite a bit cheaper than any AC SURFboard models, even though it performs about as well and offers the same service compatibility.

Price: $129.90

Buy the Zoom Telephonics 5363 here.

Top 5 Best Cable Modems of 2016

Renting a modem or dealing with slow internet speeds? Upgrading to a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem is a reliable fix.

Click here to read more

5. Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (C7000-100NAS)

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As a router that only works with Comcast’s web service, Netgear’s Nighthawk AC1900 (C7000-100NAS) is not for everybody. But as its high price tag suggests, it’s not just because of its service-specific functionality, but also because of the premium speed it offers for power users.

The Nighthawk modem/router is the only combo unit that uses 24×8 channel bonding to get speeds up to 960 Mbps down with an upload speed to match.

This router boasts the full power of Netgear’s Nighthawk R7000 and then some, making it a go to if you want maximum speed.

This combo unit also sports four useful gigabit ethernet ports, a USB port to share networked media, and of course, access to Netgear’s helpful NetGenie app for controlling guest networks, parental controls and more.

Price: $199.99 (29 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Netgear Nighthawk C7000-100NAS here.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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  1. I got the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 and i cant belive the difference! I can tell comcast to go shove there crappy equipment and rental fees! I’m getting 128mps down and 38mps up consistently. I couldn’t be happier. It alerts me when someone is trying to log on to our network. It’s a little robot I made but was so easy to do. Set up was a breez as well. Love it!

  2. I am considering comcast home phone/xfinity and Internet bundle. I am not the btightest bulb when it comes to this stuff. But i want to buy my own modem/wifi router. You mentioned that the bundle with the home phone changes things?? I dont want to spend a ton…due to upgrades i hear about once a year and having to get another unit. Please help me out!!! I just want to connect my tablet to the wifi…what do i need to do

  3. I was told by TWC that with my current Rental Modem that without a battery back up (additional purchase) that if the power goes out, so will ,y land line phone service. When you say that these are going to work with my phone bundles with WI-Fi internet service? I have theTWC triple bundle (phone, TV & internet) So I I buy the Arris SBG6400 I wil still get phone service if the power goes out and I do’t have to have a battery back up?

  4. I’ve add the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (C7000-100NAS) for about 8 months now. I’ve loved it. I used to have my network drop all the time and never had an issue. Then about 2 or 3 weeks ago I’ve started seeing drops and now once or twice a day. I contacted Netgear and they want to charge my $90.00 to help me analyze the problem. I just want to send it back. I’ve checked a wifi channel analyzer and split my router out to a channel not being used. As I’ve looked at forums seems to be a common problem and Netgear has not really resolved. Just my luck to pay top dollar and have the vendor want more money to fix their poor quality product. I’ve always been a Netgear customer. Not anymore. Now I need to find a replacement.

  5. I am currently bundled phone, cable and internet. I have TWC. My bill is too high. I told them I wanted started tv, same cable and phone and they said it would be almost $200.00. What I want to do is cancel the cable and phone, keep the internet but buy my own modem and router. I’m going out to get a TV antenna and I have Hulu and Netflix. My question is should I get a modem with the router or get each separate? Then which would you recommend? How easy is installation? Thanks,