Not a day goes by where the internet is not used in one way or another in our lives. It’s become a vital part of not just our personal lives but professional as well. Therefore, any hindrance caused in the connectivity can potentially have catastrophic effects. For a stable and a much higher speed internet, it is best to invest in the top quality hardware for your networking needs. ISPs provide their customers with a cable modem, but mostly, these modems turn out to be very mediocre.
Therefore, today we’ve gathered and compiled a list for the 5 best cable modems available as of now. Even if you’re not a tech-savvy, connecting a modem is easy as all you have to do is hook it up with the router. So keep reading on and find the perfect fit for your networking needs.
1. NETGEAR CM1000
Our Rating: 9.6/10
- Backwards compatibility with DOCSIS 3.0
- Minimum throughput losses
- Compatible with major ISPs
- Plug and play ensures connectivity in minutes
- No cable bundled voice services
DOCSIS version: 3.1 | Maximum speed: 686 Mbps downstream and 123 Mbps upstream | Bonded channel: 32 x 8 + OFDM 2 x 2 | Service providers: XFINITY by Comcast, Cox, Mediacom and more
The title for the fastest cable modem has been granted to Netgear’s CM1000. Ten times faster Docsis 3.1, speed of up to 1000Mbps and compatibility with almost every major ISP- this is the CM1000.
Netgear has a rather recognizable style of constructing their products. Users familiar with their hardware will find little out of the ordinary with the CM1000 as well. And that works in its favor since the build quality is strong and pleasing to look at. With triangular gratings all around, the front of this modem has an aluminum panel which has LEDs tucked behind it. This simplicity is uniform throughout this modem. Backports feature a coaxial port, LAN port, reset button, power button and finally, power cable port.
One of the first modems ever to adopt the new and improved DOCSIS 3.1, the CM1000 can deliver speeds up to 1Gbps for high speed gaming and HD streaming. With the newer Docsis 3.1, you will certainly be safe for the future so that when DOCSIS 3.1 does become mainstream, your modem has it covered. It has 32 downstream and 8 upstream channels for DOCSIS 3.0. As for DOCSIS 3.1, the OFDM 2 x 2 channels will provide a reliable internet for any needs. These 32 channels can give a total downstream bandwidth of 1.2Gbps whereas the 8 upstream channels can do 304Mbps. It is compatible with almost all of the major service providers and can quickly be activated when using Cox or XFINITY. One thing that users must be wary of is that it does not support bundled voice services provided by ISP- such as VoIP phones.
It will take some time before DOCSIS 3.1 becomes mainstream and available everywhere. Which is why the CM1000 might be a bit overkill for some. However, users with at least 50 Mbps bandwidth will find great use in this cable modem. It’s advisable to check with your ISP whether they support DOCSIS 3.1 or not. Regardless, the CM1000 delivers the highest and most reliable speeds as far as cable modems go.
2. Motorola MG7540
Our Rating: 9.2/10
- AnyBeam forming technology
- Supports AES traffic encryption
- Incredibly fast response time
- 5 Ghz channel sometimes does not show up in software
- Cox cable connections are sometimes faulty
DOCSIS version: 3.0 | Maximum speed: 686 Mbps downstream and 123 Mbps upstream | Bonded channel: 16 x 4 | Service providers: XFINITY by Comcast, Cox, Charter Spectrum, CableOne and more
This second entry in our top cable modem list is a two in one package, quite ironically. Motorola MG7540 is a modem and a router, making it an ideal choice for large buildings and homes. This combo does well to serve its high bandwidth consumers and makes sure that the connection delivered is absolute and reliable.
The MG7540 sits vertically on the table, with the Motorola logo at the front on the black strip. Underneath this transparent strip are LEDs indicating the important statuses. The body is very neatly constructed as well, with gratings on the top and sides to allow for greater airflow. On the back, you’ll find 4 Ethernet LAN ports, WPS, WLAN and power buttons along with a coaxial port. The build quality of this cable modem simply feels great, leaving no doubts about its durability.
A modem should simply be able to get hooked up and ready to work. The MG7540 does just that. Once you’ve set it up, contact your ISP to alert them so that they can start the process on their end and let MG7540 do its magic. With the DOCSIS 3.0 technology, a dependable and reliable connection is established so that you can live your life with no worries. It has 16 downstream and 4 upstream bonded channels for 686Mbps and 123Mbps speeds respectively. Additionally, the MG7540 can work as an AC1600 router as well. This router has dual band WiFi meaning it can handle 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz requirements.
Solely as a modem, the MG7540 works just as well- delivering high speeds and ensuring safe connectivity. However, the two main downsides with this are faults in the router end. At times, the 5Ghz band simply does not show up in the OS of this modem. Not only that, a lot of Cox cable users have reported unstable and unpredictable connections. However, the ones who have got the best out of MG7540 are singing high praises for Motorola. This modem is best used when a minimum of 75Mbps bandwidth is to be handled.
3. ARRIS Surfboard SB6183
Our Rating: 8.8/10
- Handles congestion control very well
- Minimum throughput losses
- Very easy installation
- Heats up quite a lot
- Power cable must be plugged out in order to turn it off
DOCSIS version: 3.0 | Maximum speed: 686 Mbps downstream and 131 Mbps upstream | Bonded channel: 16 x 4 | Service providers: Comcast, Cox, Charter Spectrum, Cablevision and more
With over 60 years of being in service and having sold more than 300 million modems, Arris modems have built themselves a strong foundation. This modem is priced at a significantly lower cost than the previous two in the list. Despite the low cost, the SB6183 manages to perform really good as far as household requirements go.
The SB6183, in all honesty, does not really have a defining design about it. It pales in comparison to the previous two modems, however with a price this low, it’s not too bad. The white color dominates the exterior body which has gratings on the sides to allow for air to flow. However, despite this, the SB6183 gets very hot which raises doubts over long use. At the back, there is one Gigabit Ethernet port, one coaxial cable port, and the power connection. There is no power button which means that in order to turn it off, the cable needs to be plugged out and then back in.
The SB6183 can entertain a maximum of 686 MBps downstream and 131 Mbps upstream. This too has DOCSIS 3.0 technology backing it up for a reliable connection. Despite the very ordinary body of this modem, it managed to perform incredibly well even under tough conditions. 4K streaming, fast uploading, lag free online gaming and much more was made a cinch with this cheap modem. This modem is recommended for internet plans of 300 Mbps+ however, with these big packages you’re better off using a 24 x 8 channel instead. Since the price of this modem is so low, buyers will find that even with packages of 200Mbps, the SB6183 quite fantastically.
Typically, products that get heated up fast don’t last as long as ones who stay cool. This is the primary concern with the SB6183 as it only raises questions about durability. However, we felt that with the low price that it has, you’ll not only get getting a very stable performance but save net cost as well. If overheating and having to pull the wire every time you need to turn it off is something you can live with, you’ll find that the SB6183 quickly becomes a friendly internet buddy.
4. TP-Link TC7610
Our Rating: 8.3/10
- Bang for buck performance
- Very rare disconnects
- Readily available throughout the world
- Reset button broke out
- No power button
DOCSIS version: 3.0 | Maximum speed: 343 Mbps downstream and 143 Mbps upstream | Bonded channel: 8 x 4 | Service providers: Comcast, Cox, Charter Spectrum and more
It is common knowledge that whatever networking oriented list there is, at least one of TP-Link’s products will manage to find its way there. They are one of the most popular selling brands in the market right now so you can be sure that their product will not fail you. For our fourth place, we have TP-Link TC7610, a relatively inexpensive solution to your modem requirements.
Like the Motorola modem, the TC7610 sits vertically upright on your table. It’s of black color and has gratings for air flow and ventilation. At the front are icons for various status indicators which have LEDs behind them that turn on when needed. This modem has a Gigabit Ethernet port, a coaxial port and a power supply connection. That’s all there is to it. Unfortunately, this too does not have a power button which means that direct power to it needs to be cut to turn it off. We were not alone in finding the reset button to be quite finicky. After some time, the reset button simply just stopped working and there is no one to blame except the build quality team.
DOCSIS 3. technology will make sure that you enjoy the fastest and most stable connection by maximizing modem performance. The TC7610 is built to provide speeds of 343 Mbps for internet and 143 Mbps for uploading. It is compatible with many major internet service providers, which makes set up a walk in the park. You can connect your router to the Gigabit Ethernet port at the back to have maximum throughput.
We recommend this modem to users with a package of something down the line of 150 Mbps. The TC7610 manages to do the job it has set out to, however as we move down the line of price, change in performance becomes fairly obvious. In terms of speed and stability, it is not on par with the other contenders but, this being a cheap solution, manages to find its sweet spot of number 4.
5. Linksys CM3008
Our Rating: 7.7/10
- Very small size
- Extra airflow must be ensured to counter heating
- Suitable for only low bandwidths
- Bugs encountered when setting it up for the first time
- Processes in the chipset choke the CPU
DOCSIS version: 3.0 | Maximum speed: 343 Mbps downstream and 143 Mbps upstream | Bonded channel: 8 x 4 | Service providers: Comcast, Cox, Charter Spectrum, Time Warner, Cablevision and more
Moving further down the line, we arrive at the final spot for the top cable modems. And to sum up the list we have Linksys CM3008. Due to its compact size and weight, it’s perfect for small buildings where there is not a lot of traffic.
One of CM3008’s selling points was its incredibly small form factor. Being measured at just 4 x 2.8 x 1 inches, this modem is able to fit nicely in enclosed places. Its entire body is covered with small holes to allow for air to flow through it. Being a small size, heating up is a problem for this modem. That’s why it is important that CM3008 not be kept in an isolated and covered place. It has a coaxial port, Gigabit Ethernet port and power supply connection at the top. This makes cable management very easy, especially when CM3008 is stuck to a wall.
Being certified for DOCSIS 3.0 technology, CM3008 can deliver speed up to 343 Mbps. Moreover, with the Intel Puma 5 chipset, both downstream and upstream speeds are delivered at high speeds. It offers 8 bonded channels for downstream and 4 bonded channels for upstream, which is fairly standard. A vast majority of users have reported a satisfactory grade performance with this modem. However, some have gone through some hoops in order to set it up properly. There are quite a number of bugs faced when ensuring a connection with the ISP.
CM3008 is an incredibly cheap piece of hardware that gets the job done surprisingly well. However, there is no room for improvement or growth with this modem as you’re locked in place. It’s recommended for bandwidths of up to 100Mbps and that feels like a stretch too. This is still a fairly good modem that has the majority satisfactory performance statistic to justify its place as the number 5 in our list.
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.