Time Warner Cable has become one of the largest Internet service providers in the United States following several recent mergers with smaller Internet service providers.
Now that the company is in talk of a third major merger, this time with AT&T, you are now even more likely to find yourself using a service on the Time Warner network.
Whether you use TWC Ultimate, Spectrum Internet, Bright House, legacy Road Runner, or something entirely new, you are likely to be swindled into renting your networking equipment.
Currently, the average equipment rental fee across these services is $10 per month, but you only need to spend about $70 to buy your own cable modem to keep permanently.
Time Warner makes this easy with an accomodating list of TWC compatible modems. This list is identical no matter which brand of TWC service you get.
All suggested modems are DOCSIS 3.0 modems, which will continue to serve as the cable Internet standard for many years. So we’ve done the dirty work of researching which ones provide the best combination of performance, features, and value.
Before you get started on the path to modem liberation, you’ll want to verify what tier of Internet speed you’re on. Whether you get Standard, Turbo, Extreme, or Ultimate speed should be a be a key factor in your equipment choice.
Once you select the right modem, simply plug it in and follow these directions from Time Warner’s website. The total process should take less than five minutes.
As for returning a leased modem, simply bring the unit and power cable to your nearest TWC Equipment Return and Pickup Store. There are no phone calls required.
Just keep in mind that you will also need a router to send your wireless signal through your house, preferably an AC router. You can also some money by opting for a a modem/router combo unit instead, though they usually aren’t as effective as individual units.
However you go about it, resolve to buy your networking equipment outright so you have one less monthly fee to worry about.
1. ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 Cable Modem
Of all the networking equipment companies out there, Arris is compatible with the most ISPs by far. Their SURFboard SB6141 modem is recommended by every major cable provider, including all variations of TWC Internet.
The SB6141 is a standalone modem that pairs with a WiFi router to provide download speeds of up to 343 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 131 Mbps.
These speeds are well above the advertised 50 Mbps you get from TWC Ultimate Internet, and will allow you to maximize your speeds when paired with an equally well-performing router.
It has two ethernet ports that allows you to connect it to a router and a wireless bridge if you use one. Like most modems, the SB6141 has convenient status LEDs which make for simple troubleshooting.
Even more valuable is the massive support network of thousands of other people who have used and set up this router before. Ultimately, its solid pricing and powerful support network will likely win you over.
Price: $59.97 (10 percent off MSRP)
2. Netgear CM400-1AZNAS Cable Modem
Netgear is yet another highly reputable source for networking equipment, and their entire line of cable modems bear the TWC seal of approval. This includes major workhorse modems like the CM500 and the CM700, but for residential needs, their entry-level CM400 will suffice.
This relatively compact modem has a removable stand, which allows you to rest it in the corner of the room or mount it on a wall. It is closely comparable to Arris’ SB6141 in performance, offering a download speed of 340Mbps and an upload speed of 131Mbps.
It only has a single ethernet port to connect to a router, but since the CM400 is currently discounted to $15 cheaper than the SB6141, it is a great value pick for its speed ratings.
Price: $44.49 (36 percent off MSRP)
3. TP-Link TC-7620 Cable Modem
The TP-Link TC-7620 is a little larger and a little pricier than the aforementioned modems. However, this high speed unit employs a bit of future-proofing to ensure you won’t need to upgrade your modem when the next tier of Internet speeds finally emerges.
It goes beyond the standard 8 downstream channels and 4 upstream channels with its 16×4 configuration. This helps the TC-7620 provide an impressive 680 Mbps for download and 143 Mbps for upload.
This modem doesn’t offer anything special in the way of form factor, nor does it offer any extra ethernet ports, but if you want a modem that takes channel bonding to the next level, then this is a great pick.
Price: $78.98 (12 percent off MSRP)
4. ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 Cable Modem
If we’re talking about future-proof devices, it would be foolish not to revisit Arris and highlight their impressive SURFboard SB6190. This is the definitive overkill modem, offering up to four times the top download speed of the SB6141.
This modem has a max download speed of 1.4 Gbps, and a max upload speed of 262 Mbps. Considering that fiber connections are the only kind that even get close to this transfer speed, these ratings are more for peace of mind than improving your network speed.
After all, your router or wireless card would likely create a bottle neck even if you could get these kinds of speeds from Time Warner.
Still, having 32 downstream channels and 8 upstream channels is a nice benefit for a house that does a lot of uploading.
The SB6190 also has two ethernet ports for router chaining, plus the same relatively compact case mold as the cheaper SB6141. If you need the most robust router at the heart of your home network, then by all means, stop your search here.
If you’re looking for the best deal, then use a free utility like Speedtest.net and see what kind of speeds you are really trying to accommodate.
Price: $111.99 (25 percent off MSRP)
5. ASUS CM-16 Cable Modem
As is expected from ASUS, their CM-16 modem is without a doubt the coolest looking modem we’ve reviewed. But does it perform like it looks? Kind of, yeah.
The CM-16 supports a downstream of up to 686 Mbps and an upstream of up to 131 Mbps, so its performance is overall pretty excellent. Its price is fairly reasonable for its performance as well.
It’s not that modems aren’t universally compatible with routers of other brands, but networking companies are notorious for denouncing certain hardware combinations as incompatible. That’s your warning to shop carefully.
6. Linksys CM3008 Cable Modem
Linksys is one of the best recognized names in networking, and their CM3008 cable modem is the newest addition to their networking lineup.
This modem is the successor to the DPC3008, which was their best-selling model when they were still owned by Cisco.
The CN3008 gets solid transfer speeds of 340Mbps down and 120Mbps up. The modem’s Intel Puma 5 chipset is recognized for delivering excellent speeds, and is preferred over modems with the newer Puma 6 chipset. Apparently the Puma 6 is still awaiting a firmware update for its known issues.
This modem has a lone ethernet port, a small and compact casing, and a plug-and-play setup. Aside from that, there isn’t much more that you can ask for out of this well-priced piece of hardware.
Price: $49.99 (29 percent off MSRP)
7. SMC Networks D3CM1604 Modem
SMC Networks may seem like a no-name manufacturer, but their D3CM1604 modem has made the cut as a compatible modem that works with all major cable services.
This small and boxy modem delivers 640 Mbps downstream and 120 Mbps upstream at a competitive price, and gives the bargain hunter little reason to consider other brands.
SMC does not have as large of a customer support service as bigger manufacturers, so this modem is best left to those who are moderately comfortable setting up their Internet. You do, however, still get a standard two year warranty.
8. D-Link DCM-301 Cable Modem
D-Link is a company that abstained from jerking their customers around and releasing constant “updated versions” of the same product over and over again. This certainly cannot be said about some other companies on this list.
Instead, their DCM-301 has been their go-to budget modem for the last couple of years. It is built on the same standard specs as other units offering speeds of 343 Mbps down and 150 Mbps up.
Like all modems, the DCM-301 is backwards compatible with other DOCSIS standards, like 2.0 and 1.1. If you are on TWC it is highly unlikely that you are on anything but the current standard, but you never know when you have an older legacy service like Road Runner.
This modem is compact and thoroughly ventilated, which means it should silently disappear into the corner of your room while you enjoy flawless Internet service.
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9. ZyXEL CDA30360 Cable Modem
Taiwanese manufacturer ZyXEL has always offered reliable and economical networking gear for those with simple networking needs. Its CDA30360 mode is nothing special, until you consider its fantastic price-to-performance ratio.
With a max download speed of 400 Mbps, the CDA30360 definitely represents the highest performance you’ll get for under $50. There is no official figure regarding its upload speed, but that is presumably fast as well.
If cable networking was a little more complicated, there would probably be a caveat to this deal. But because fast, working Internet is all that this modem promises, it is able to meet its goal with ease.
Price: $48.97 (61 percent off MSRP)
10. Motorola MB7420 Cable Modem
Though Motorola is now owned by Arris brand modems, the company produces one last line of modems before ceding their right to sell products under the Motorola name.
This is the MB7420. It is a fairly high-end modem that outperforms many of the above modems in download and upload speeds, but all said and done, might be overkill if you just need a basic hookup.
This modem offers a full band capture digital tuner, upgraded power handling to protect against power surges, and improved heat sinks, all of which give it an edge over the competition.
It sports a mid-tier max speed of 686 Mbps down, and 150 Mbps up. It has a single ethernet port, which makes this yet another simple modem to set up.
It comes in white or black, which makes it easier to blend in with your decor, and is about the average size for a modem unit. Just plug it into a nearby coaxial port, and you are good to go.