Our first product comes from ARRIS. ARRIS is one of the most widely recognized tech manufacturers in the world, with 6000 experts working for it across 30 countries. It’s also constantly innovating, and trying to bring you new and improved products. So far, it’s the first company that successfully managed to digitally insert MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, and is a pioneer in voice-over IP and broadband data handling. ARRIS holds 14 technical Emmy Awards for its products and innovations so you know its modems are top-notch.
When talking about the ARRIS SURFboard, this is actually a 3-in-1 product. It’s a regular modem, but also a dual-band Wi-Fi router (N600) and a 4-port Gigabit router. The modem is compatible with all internet providers in the US, so you can rest assured that you won’t need to change your provider if you decide to go with this ARRIS router. You should also know that this applies only to cable internet, and doesn’t work with other types of internet.
When it comes down to features, you have 8 download and 4 upload channels that allow for speedier data-sharing. The modem supports both IPv4 and IPv6, and a N600 (2.4GHz N300 and 5Ghz N300) Wi-Fi router. The device is able to cover an area of 2,500 square feet, making it an excellent device for use in residential homes and small offices. The modem has been clocked at 343 Mbps for Ethernet and at 300 MBps for Wi-Fi. The device also features a 2 x 2 antenna that can move in all directions.
If you don’t have the time to read the entire review, here’s a short list of features:
All in all, this is more than a solid modem for everyday usage in private homes and small offices. Its speed is good, and the fact that it can adapt to all providers is greatly appreciated. Not only that, but the device is perfectly suited for Wi-Fi, and supports both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.
When it comes to modems and routers, TP-Link is one of the greatest manufacturers. In China, it’s the number-one manufacturer, as it is in many other countries. It operates in over 50 countries, with its user numbers hitting about 10 million. TP-Link is constantly trying to improve its products, as well as come up with new ones that will be cheaper and more efficient, with greater internet speeds and more configuration options. TP-Link is also highly efficient when it comes to mass production, overwhelming the market with its stellar products.
Today, we’re presenting to you one of its best and most diverse products, the TP-Link Wireless Cable/Router. Like the first item on our list, this is also a multi-functional device; it encompasses a modem and a router within itself, so you don’t have to pay monthly rent to your provider. This device is a breeze to set up—it will only take about 10 minutes to get it up and running. It has 8 downstream and 4 upstream channels that make sure your connection is strong and reliable when you’re gaming or streaming (or both).
The modem enables very fast internet, and is clocked at 300 Mbps. The device also features 4 Gigabit Ethernet, and can be used in conjunction with Comcast’s XFINITY, Cox, Suddenlik, WOW, Mediacom, Spectrum, Time Warner Cable, and Charter. Further, it also comes with a 2-year warranty, and you’ll be able to contact the tech support 24/7.
As before, here’s a summary of the modem’s best features:
In the end, what you’re left with is one amazing product. The device is very versatile and can accommodate many providers. It also enables your Wi-Fi to flow through it at 300 Mbps, which is an impressive speed at this price point. On top of that, it has 8 downstream channels and 4 upstream ones, thus securing and strengthening your network’s signal. Overall, an excellent product, as expected from TP-Link.
Zoom is one of the oldest companies in the business, founded back in 1977. It’s currently in possession of several communication companies and brands, such as Zoom (its native brand), Global Village, and Hayes. It’s based in Boston, but it ships from San Diego, while its facility is located in Tijuana. Its products are made to facilitate high-performance, but are also very easy to set up and use, which is most appealing to the customers.
Today, we’re talking about the Zoom Cable Modem. This is a solid combination of router and modem, with similar capabilities to our previous products. The device allows for a maximum Wi-Fi speed of 343 Mbps, as far as downstream is concerned, with 143 Mbps upstream. This is, overall, not much quicker than the two we’ve already presented, but it does cost a few dollars extra.
The modem supports both IPv4 and IPv6, as well as all DOCSISs, from 1.1 to 3.0. The modem also includes an energy-saving cube that’s designed to shave a few bucks off your power bill, as well as a modem stand, an Ethernet cable (and a single Ethernet port), plus a Quick Start flyer. The device is compatible with Cox, Brighthouse, Cable ONE, and Comcast.
As before, here is a list of the most prominent of the modem’s features:
In the end, Zoom might be a bit more expensive than most of the devices we’ve presented so far, but it also comes with a few extra features, like DOCSIS 1.1 and 2.0 compatibility, as well as the energy-saving cube. Quick to set up and undeniably reliable, Zoom is perfectly suited for personal use, and will do a great job keeping the link stable every time you go online.
Talking about venerable telecommunications companies, it’s hard not to mention Motorola. This company was founded back in 1928, and is most famous for its flip and clam phones that appeared in the 90s. However, Motorola is very diverse in its dealings, so it decided to introduce itself to the internet equipment industry as well. And, aren’t we lucky it did—because some of the best modems and routers come directly from Motorola.
One of its best devices is certainly the Motorola 16x4 Cable Modem. This is one of the fastest devices on the market, allowing internet speeds of up to 686 Mbps. Not only that, but the device has 16 downstream channels, which is twice the number of channels the other devices have. However, it still has only 4 upstream channels. The modem works with DOCSIS 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0 devices. It’s also compatible with almost every major US provider.
However, there is one problem with the device—it doesn’t have a wireless router built in; it’s a cable-only modem. The modem is also very limited as far as ports are concerned; it only has one. Aside from that, the modem is very slick and modern-looking, made to take up as little space as possible, and is made with improved cooling capabilities to ensure longer service life. On top of that, it comes with a 2-year warranty, plus excellent power surge and lightning protection.
Here’s a summary of the modem’s defining features:
In the end, this is a superb cable-only device. This Motorola modem could surely benefit from a wireless router, but, if you don’t need one or are already in possession of one, this device will be a perfect addition. With high internet speeds and long service life, you can’t go wrong with the Motorola 16x4 Cable Modem.
Netgear is one of the most diverse internet gear manufacturers out there. Not only does it deal in modems, but also in streaming, storage solutions, and even remote home monitoring. It makes items for both personal and residential use, and office and provider use. With that, it has tons of experience, and you can expect nothing but the best from it.
Our last item for today is its DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem. This product performs much like the others, with similar capabilities. Aside from being compatible and used in conjunction with most internet providers in the US, the modem is also compatible with DOCSIS 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0 devices and services. It should be noted that the device is not compatible with AT&T, CenturyLink, or Verizon. The modem is just as fast as others, being clocked at around 340 Mbps.
However, this modem costs much less than the other similar devices on the list, almost giving it better value for the money. This being said, the modem is Ethernet-only, and doesn’t come with a Wi-Fi router. This, in turn, can be used as an explanation for why it has such a friendly price.
Here’s a short bullet list that summarizes the product’s features:
In the end, what you get is a very good Ethernet-only device at a very low price. This modem stands as an excellent substitute for more expensive options if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a modem. It performs very well, and offers a stable connection through its Ethernet port.
When buying a modem, one of the first things you need to consider is the device’s compatibility. This is, in fact, the most important thing to know, as the device will be worthless to you if it’s not compatible with your current provider. In that case, you’ll either have to get another device or change the provider, both of which will become quite expensive and arduous endeavors. You also need to focus on the modem’s DOCSIS. While most modems nowadays use DOCSIS 3.0, some providers (like Comcast) have started deploying 3.1 versions. However, the majority of providers still use 3.0, so you needn’t worry about that just yet.
Another consideration when getting a modem is its design. While not essential, having a good, contemporary, and well-thought-out design is vastly beneficial. Some of the modems on our list feature special self-cooling features that help increase the devices’ service lives. On top of that, you’ll probably want to have clear visual indications of the link, channels, and everything else—usually displayed by LEDs, which is why a modem has to have these clearly indicated.
Next up, you need to take a look at the modem’s devices and speed. Most home devices nowadays have 8 downstream and 4 upstream channels, with maximum internet speed of 343 Mbps. However, there are devices with 16 downstream channels, which doubles the maximum speed.
However, when it comes to speed, you needn’t buy a 16-downstream device if your provider caps at 150 to 200 Mbps, as it will be pointless to use such a device. The general rule is that you need to be able to hit the maximum speed your provider enables you to hit, and you need a device that can go slightly over that cap, as your speed might be even lower in actuality, as more people connect to your home Wi-Fi (if you’re using Wi-Fi).
You also need to consider if the device has a Wi-Fi router included, or if the device is an Ethernet only, in which case you will have to acquire a Wi-Fi router separately. A wireless internet router is also very useful if you’re trying to connect more devices to it, such as an Alexa thermostat, a nanny cam, or your brand new smart curved TV.
When it comes to price, most home modems have a similar cos; most of them cost around $80 and include a Wi-Fi router. There are also cheap models (which we didn’t include due to poor quality or little value for cost), along with more expensive ones. One of the models we’ve reviewed is quite a bit more expensive, but it also offers 16 downstream channels, instead of the regular 8. However, this is an Ethernet-only model, which begs the question: is the modem really worth it in terms of what you need?
Talking about the features, there are some core characteristics that each device must have. For starters, and we’ve already mentioned this, a modem should be equipped with DOCSIS 3.0 technology, as most providers are still deploying these kinds of devices. A good home modem should have an 8 x 4 channel configuration, with a speed cap of 343 Mbps. With that, many have Wi-Fi routers included, which is a great addition as most of us prefer to have Wi-Fi in our homes so we can use our phones and other smart devices besides the computer.
To summarize what we’ve said so far about the features, here’s a short list of them:
Naturally, the construction of the modem, as well as its design, can play a major role in its popularity with the users. A well-designed and well-constructed device is something you’re guaranteed to enjoy for many years to come—and so it should be made of durable, not to mention somewhat attractive materials. A modem is not a device you need to change every two years, and most modems have been designed to last you for some time. Modems aren’t terribly expensive, but that doesn’t mean they need to be flimsy and badly built, so that you must replace them constantly. One more thing to watch for in your new modem is the efficiency and visibility of its built-in lights; as mentioned earlier, they should be easy to read and work well.
When it comes to ease of use, this pertains in great measure to the design of the device. Many manufacturers strive to create devices that are very easy to set up, and that provide stable connections. A modem is not the type of device that you’ll constantly mess around with, so manufacturers make them as autonomous as possible. The only thing you need to do is connect it, install the drivers, and you’re all set to go.
When performance is concerned, this is related to the device’s channel count and internet speed. Like we said, speed is not as important, as is compatibility; but you do need to get a modem that will allow you to use the internet speed your provider offers to the fullest. Again, we urge you not to go overboard, as there’s no point in buying a 16 x 4 device if your internet speed doesn’t exceed 200 Mbps.