Top 10 Best Cable Modems [2021]

Best Cable Modem
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A cable modem is a type of hardware that connects your devices with your Internet service provider (ISP) using a coax cable. They’re used to modulate and de-modulate signals so that your computer or another device can understand the data being transmitted or received. Before you decide on which cable modem to buy, there are a few factors you need to consider first.

What to Look For in a Cable Modem

ISP Compatibility

The most important part is to make sure that your cable modem is compatible with your ISP. If the modem isn’t compatible with your ISP, it just won’t work.

To avoid this mistake, you can research which cable modems are compatible with your ISP. There may be a list of compatible modems available on the ISP’s website, or you could find reviews from other people who use the same ISP as you.

The cable modem itself may come with a manual that includes a list of service providers that it is suitable for. You could do some research on the cable modem’s website, or a PDF version of the manual is available online.

Finally, the best way to ensure ISP compatibility is to directly contact your service provider for a list of compatible modems. They may just refer you to their website or tell you over the phone or via email. This way, you’ll but reassured of which cable modems would be best suited for you.

Download and Upload Speed

To get the most out of your cable modem, you need to think about the speed. The speed advertised along with a modem is always the download speed as upload speeds are often much slower. The download speed is how much the modem can pull from your ISP.

It’s important to remember that you can’t get more speed from your ISP than what you pay for. If your ISP speed is capped at a certain number, then the cable modem will only be able to reach that amount. To avoid spending too much money, you should consider cable modems with only a slightly higher speed than your ISP to guarantee that you’ll be able to reach it.

Downstream and Upstream Channels

In many cable modem descriptions, you’ll often find a number that looks like 8 x 4 or 16 x 4. This tells you how many downstream and upstream channels that the modem has.

The first number shows you how many downstream channels there are. The number of download channels is associated with the amount of download data your ISP can provide you with at any time.

It’s recommended that your new modem should have no less than 16 downstream channels. The higher the number, the better. If the cable modem has less than 16 downstream channels, then it’s more likely to be underpowered or an older model.

DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification)

Each cable modem has a DOCSIS standard that determines how fast information travels both to and from your home and your ISP.

The most common DOCIS standard is DOCSIS 3.0. This version can have up to 1,216Mbps in download speeds, depending on your location and ISP package.

Other cable modems have a standard of DOCSIS 3.1. This version can have up to 10Gbps in download speeds and 1Gbps in upload speeds, again depending on where you live and your ISP package.

It seems likely that DOCSIS 3.1 is the future of modems, but if your ISP isn’t compatible with this version, then your best bet is to go for DOCSIS 3.0. However, backward-compatible DOCSIS 3.1 modems are available, meaning that they will work with 3.0, but these modems are on the more expensive end of the market.

Best Cable Modems

Netgear CM1000 Cable Modem

If you’re looking at getting the most out of your ISP speeds or thinking of upgrading to faster ones, you can’t go wrong with the Netgear CM1000 Cable Modem.

Suitable for lots of different internet providers, this cable modem will likely be compatible with your ISP. A full list of suitable internet providers can be found online and includes Comcast and Spectrum companies.

Built with speed in mind, this cable modem uses a DOCSIS 3.1 standard but is also backward compatible, allowing it to work with DOCSIS 3.0. The maximum download speed is1000Mbps, making it ideal for ISP plans of up to 1Gbps.

The modem is powered by the Broadcom BCM3390 CPU, which includes 256MB of RAM and 128MB of flash memory. Other technology includes the32 x 8 channel bonding for plenty of downstream and upstream power and the 1Gbps Ethernet port, allowing it to connect to any Wi-Fi router.

Netgear CM500 Cable Modem

A bit less powerful than its CM1000 counterpart, the Netgear CM500 Cable Modem is still an excellent model for users who have a slower ISP speed.

The CM500 is just the same as the CM1000 but with slightly older technology. Nevertheless, it still holds up to today’s standards with its 16 x 8 channel bonding and DOCSIS 3.0 standard. It also has a 1Gbps Ethernet port to connect to your Wi-Fi router or computer.

Able to support download speeds of up to 300Mbps, this modem is perfect for the average internet user. If you have a high-speed ISP plan, a faster modem would be more suitable. A list of compatible ISPs can be found online and includes major brands such as Spectrum and Comcast.

This cable modem is equipped with a Broadcom BCM33843 CPU, 128MB of RAM, and 8MB of flash memory in terms of hardware.

Arris Surfboard SB8200 Cable Modem

With super-fast speeds and powerful hardware, the Arris Surfboard SB8200 Cable Modem is definitely one of the top models available on the market.

Ideal for internet users with fast ISP speeds, this cable modem can reach up to 2Gbps in download speed. There’s a full list of compatible brands available online, so you can easily check if this modem is the right choice for you.

The DOCSIS standard for this cable modem is version 3.1, giving the modem two OFDM upload and download bonded channels, but it can also support version 3.0 as a result of beingbackward compatible.With DOCSIS 3.0, there are32 x 8 bonded channels, meaning that it’s far from being underpowered by today’s standards.

Other hardware statistics for the SB8200 include its Broadcom BCM3390 CPU, 3GB of RAM, and 128MB of flash memory. There are also two 1Gbps Ethernet ports that are capable of link aggregation.

Netgear Nighthawk C7000 Cable Modem

One of Netgear’s most reliable cable modems, the Nighthawk C7000, is ideal for your home with its easy setup and fast internet speeds.

This cable modem has a maximum download speed of 400Mbps, perfect for getting the most out of ISP plans up to 400Mbps. Just like other Netgear products, this cable modem is suitable for most internet providers, but there’s a full list available online, so you can be sure.

Built with DOCSIS 3.0, the modem is engineered with 24 x 8 bonded channels for great downstream and upstream speeds. Additionally, four 1Gbps Ethernet ports and two USB ports are available for fast direct connections to any of your devices.

The cable modem is powered by a Broadcom BCM3384 Wi-Fi chip and has a decent 256MB of RAM and 128MB of flash memory. As a result, it can provide Wi-Fi coverage up to 1800 square feet or up to 30 devices.

Arris Surfboard SBG10 Cable Modem

When compared to other cable modems, the Arris Surfboard SBG10 is a bit different in that it has a built-in Wi-Fi router.

Suitable for ISP plans of up to 400Mbps, the unit is engineered with DOCSIS 3.0 and can reach up to 400Mbps in download speed. A full list of compatible providers can be found online, but it does work with major ISPs such as Cox and Xfinity.

The modem is engineered with 16 x 4 channel bonding, which is the bare minimum by today’s standard, but this does not affect its fast download speeds. There are also two 1Gbps Ethernet ports for simple wired connections.

Although it is a modem/router combo, you are still required to have a cable internet service. Having a modem/router combo means that you only need to manage one device. It can bed setup and manage easily with the Surfboard Manager app that can be downloaded onto any mobile device.

Motorola MB7621 Cable Modem

A great choice of cable modem, the Motorola MB7621 allows for fast internet speeds, can be set up easily, and is affordable.

Built With DOCSIS 3.0 and 24 x 8 bonded channels, this cable modem can reach internet speeds of up to 650Mbps, perfect for ISP plans of 650Mbps and slower speeds of 300Mbps. It’s also backward compatible with the older DOCSIS 2.0 and 1.1 versions.

There’s a set of instructions included in the packaging, or an online version can be found on the Motorola website for easy setup. It’s compatible with most of the major cable internet providers, but it’s always good to check with your ISP to help you make a decision.

The cable modem comes with one 1Gbps Ethernet port for a direct connection to the router or a different device. It’s powered by a Broadcom BCM3384DU CPU chip and has 128MB of RAM and 8MB of flash memory.

Motorola MB7220 Cable Modem

Although it’s not as fast or powerful as the MB7621, the Motorola MB7220 cable modem is still reliable, with a brilliant performance for internet users that have slower internet speeds.

The modem has a DOCSIS 3.0 standard with 8 x 4 channel bonding for decent downstream and upstream speeds. As a result of this technology, the MB7220 can reach a download speed of up to 343Mbps, perfect for the average internet user.

It’s compatible with many of the major ISPs, such as Xfinity and Cox. To set up the device, instructions can be found inside the packaging to help set up the device for your home. Installation is fairly easy, but tutorials are available online in case you need extra assistance.

There’s one Ethernet port installed on this modem for a direct connection to a computer or router. The modem is powered by a Broadcom BCM3383D processor, but the amount of RAM and flash memory is unrecorded.

TP-Link Archer CR700 Cable Modem

The TP-Link Archer CR700 is a great choice for people who want to have both a cable modem and a wireless router combined into one unit.

On the modem side, the CR700 has a DOCSIS 3.0 standard with 16 x 4 bonded channels. This hardware gives it a fast download speed of up to 680Mbps. It’s compatible with most of the major ISPs, including Comcast and Cablevision.

For the router part, the unit has an AC1750 wireless router that can reach speeds of up to 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band. It’s important to note that you still need to have a cable internet service for the Wi-Fi to work despite there being a built-in router.

This cable modem/router combo is powered by a Broadcom BCM33843 chipset and has 256MB of RAM and 16MB of flash memory. Other features include four 1Gbps Ethernet ports and two USB ports.

Arris Surfboard SBG8300 Cable Modem

Another cable modem combined with a wireless router, the Arris Surfboard SBG8300, is a powerful machine and can bring high-speed internet to your household.

This unit is one of the best-ratedDOCSIS 3.1 standard modems available on the market. There are two downstream and two upstream OFDM channels for DOCSIS 3.1, but it’s also backward compatible and has 32 x 8 bonded channels for DOCSIS 3.0.

The modem is able to reach a super-fast download speed of up to 4Gbps, making it ideal for people with high-speed ISP plans. On the router side, the AC2350 router comes with dual bands that can reach speeds of up to 1900Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 200Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

Powered by the Puma 6 chipset, the modem has 3GB of RAM and 128MB of flash memory. Other hardware includes four 1Gbps Ethernet ports available for direct connections to any computer or other device.

Linksys CM3024 High-Speed Cable Modem

The final product within this list is the Linksys CM3024 High-Speed Cable Modem. This cable modem is brilliant for your home. It’s easy to set up and will provide you with fast speeds.

This cable modem uses DOCSIS 3.0 standard with 24 x 8 bonded channels. This technology allows it to support up to 960Mbps in download speed, making it one of the faster options out there. It definitely one of the better models for users with faster ISP plans.

Compatible with major ISPs such as Comcast and Cablevision, the cable modem is super easy to set up and get going.

Operated by the Puma 6 chipset, the modem has 3GB of RAM and 128MB of flash memory. However, it’s important to be aware that the Puma 6 chipset has had performance issues in the past, though there have been software updates to try and correct this.

Final Thoughts

Overall, buying a cable modem instead of renting one will add up to be less expensive in the long term. Always make sure that the one you’re buying is compatible with your ISP and that it’s suitable for your internet speed.

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Amar is the Chief Nerd at Near Bear and can be mostly found binge watching Netflix, researching tech, shooting things on PS4, and arguing over who is the strongest Avenger.
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