Best Modem-Router Combo in 2020 (Reviews and Guide)

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Best Modem-Router Combo

These are the best of modem-router combos on the market today.

If you use cable internet, you probably rent a modem from your internet service provider (ISP), and you also have a standalone router for your home internet needs. But suppose you are planning to upgrade your network system to enjoy higher speeds and more reliable connectivity. In that case, you’ll need the best network devices, and nothing will bring your dreams to reality faster than the best modem-router combos. Not only are these combo devices efficient and fast, but they are also a cheaper alternative to buying a separate modem and a router.

The modem-router combos offer the most effective way of streamlining your home internet access through the use of one and not two clunky devices.

It’s worth noting that in as much as your rental modem might seem to work well, you will always incur high rental fees, and having two devices for internet access might not offer the best experience, which is why we recommend the modem-router combos. The combo unit allows you to maximize the power and the performance of your devices, and in some cases, you’d enjoy an expanded wireless coverage at high internet speeds.

The only catch is that choosing to buy the combo modem and router would make it a little more difficult for you to stay on top of the newest technologies, and upgrades would call for replacement of the entire unit. Other than this, you get to deal with a lot less clutter, great performance, and the best part is that buying one of the best modem-router combos means that you will have the best internet setup for your home.

So, which are the best modem-router combos on the market today?

Best Modem-Router Combos – Comparison Table

Best Modem-Router Combos
Best for
Features
Price
NETGEAR Orbi Built-in-Modem-Router Whole Home Mesh WiFi System
Best Overall Modem-Router Combo
DOCSIS 3.0

32×8

Dual-band, AC2200

ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem & AC2350 WiFi Router
Best Gigabit Speeds Modem-Router
DOCSIS 3.1

32×8

Dual-band, AC2300

NETGEAR C3700 N600 (8×4) WiFi DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router
Best Budget-Friendly Modem-Router Combo
DOCSIS 3.0

8×4

Dual-band, N450

NETGEAR Nighthawk CAX80 Cable Modem WiFi 6 Router Comb
Best WiFi 6 Modem-Router Combo
DOCSIS 3.1

32×8

Dual-band, AX6000

Motorola MG7700 Cable Modem and Router
Best Design
DOCSIS 3.0

24×8

Dual-band, AC1900

 Reviews of the Best Modem-Router Combos

  1. NETGEAR Orbi Built-in-Modem-Router Whole Home Mesh WiFi System – Best Overall Modem-Router Combo

NETGEAR Orbi Built-in-Modem Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with all-in-one cable modem and WiFi router and single satellite extender with speeds up to 2.2 Gbps over 4,000 sq. feet, AC2200 (CBK40)
  • Delivers seamless internet connectivity and creates a Mesh WiFi network that blankets your home in super...
  • Eliminates WiFi dead zones and buffering — 4,000 square feet of consistent coverage — at speeds up to...

If you are looking to upgrade your modem-router setup to enjoy high internet speeds, and experience whole home internet coverage with no struggles over dead zones, then this Netgear whole-home combo modem router mesh WiFi system might be the best option for you.

This modem-router combo offers the fastest wireless access, and you get to enjoy full home coverage thanks to the design of this device with the built-in DOCSIS 3.0 protocol for the modem, which allows you to enjoy high internet speeds. The mesh system means that you will enjoy using this device in large spaces, including large homes and offices, and the best part is that it allows for multiple device connectivity across the space thanks to MU-MIMO support. Not that the cable modem boasts very high internet speeds thanks to the 32×8 channel bonding, and the power of this network device is amplified by the 710MHz quad-core processor. It promises top speeds of up to 2.2Gbps.

Its speed and WiFi performance is enhanced by the 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, which allow for wired connections for your digital devices, including your TV, laptops, and gaming consoles, etc.

It is also a tri-band mesh system with a dedicated 5GHz backhaul channel that allows you to enjoy maximum throughput at all times. The performance of the 2.4GHz band could be better, though.

You may also like this combo modem-router mesh system because of the easy network management made possible by the app. This app features a user-friendly interface, and it also features a single SSID configuration, which further ensures ease of network management.

Pros

  • Excellent network performance
  • 4 Ethernet ports for gigabit-speed connectivity
  • Simple setup and network management
  • 32×8 channel bonding, DOCSIS 3.0
  • Compatible all the major ISPs
  • The modem supports speeds of up to 500Mbps from the ISP

Cons

  • Performance of the 2.4GHz band could be better
  • Not future-proof

View Price on Amazon

  1. ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem & AC2350 WiFi Router – Best Gigabit Speeds Modem-Router

ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem & AC2350 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router, Approved for Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity & others (black)
  • 3 products in 1: DOCSIS 3 1 Cable Modem, AC2350 Dual band Wi-Fi, 4 port Gigabit Router (cable digital...
  • Compatible with major U S Cable Internet Providers including Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity & others Cable...

The price for this ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 modem-router combo might be out of the way for most people, but if you are looking for the best performance, a future-proof network device for your home or office, this could be the best option for you.

The modem is based on the DOCSIS 3.1 protocol, which means that you will be able to enjoy the best wireless performance, even as the 32×8 channel bonding allows you to enjoy high-speed downloads and uploads. This DOCSIS 3.1 modem offers impressive download speeds of 3.78Gbps, and it’s future-proof, and it also features the 2×2 OFDM technology that boosts the performance of the modem.

Then you have the dual-band router, which pushes the performance of the modem/router unit further. The 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports incorporated ensure reliable wired connections.

You might also like this device because it’s compatible with all the leading cable service providers.

Pros

  • Reliable performance
  • Future-proof DOCSIS 3.1
  • Easy setup and app management
  • 32×8 channel bonding
  • 11ac2350 dual-band router for fast wireless internet
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports

Cons

  • Lacks USB ports
  • Expensive

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  1. NETGEAR C3700 N600 (8×4) WiFi DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router – Best Budget-Friendly Modem-Router Combo

NETGEAR N600 (8x4) WiFi DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router (C3700) Certified for Xfinity from Comcast, Spectrum, Cox, Spectrum & more
  • ELIMINATE MONTHLY CABLE MODEM RENTAL FEES Up to $120 per year
  • Two in One DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem + WiFi Router with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 USB 2.0 port.System...

You don’t have to break the bank for that home WiFi system upgrade, and thanks to this Netgear C3700, you get to enjoy the best internet connectivity on a budget.

This combo unit boasts a sleek design, it won’t take up too much space, you won’t have to deal with clutter from cables, and it allows you to enjoy the best wired connectivity from the two Gigabit Ethernet ports. You also get to enjoy an excellent range thanks to the dual antennas incorporated into this unit.

The performance of this modem-router unit is good, as it boasts dual-band WiFi support from the 2.4GHz band that boosts the range/ coverage of the device along with the 5GHz high-speed wireless range. While you won’t experience blazing fast internet speeds, this modem-router unit features a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with the relatively fast 8×4 channel bonding. You will be happy to note that these features and the maximum speed of up to 340Mbps from the modem will allow for HD video streaming and even gaming.

DoS is also incorporated into this device, allowing you to access a secure home network. It is compatible with most cable ISPs, and it’s easy to use.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Affordable unit
  • Wired performance for solid performance
  • Reliable speeds
  • DOCSIS 3.0; 8×4 channel bonding

Cons

  • Could use additional gigabit Ethernet ports

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  1. NETGEAR Nighthawk CAX80 Cable Modem WiFi 6 Router Combo – Best WiFi 6 Modem-Router Combo

NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi 6 Router Combo (CAX80) - Compatible with Cable Providers Including Xfinity by Comcast, Spectrum, Cox | Cable Plans Up to 2 Gigabits | AX6000 WiFi 6 Speed, DOCSIS 3.1
  • COMPATIBLE WITH ALL MAJOR CABLE INTERNET PROVIDERS: Including certification by Xfinity by Comcast,...
  • SAVE MONTHLY RENTAL FEES: Model CAX80 replaces your cable modem and WiFi router saving you up to $168/yr...

If you don’t mind splurging on one of the best Netgear modem-router combos on the market, this Nighthawk CAX80 might be the best option for you. It is a future-proof unit with a DOCSIS 3.1 modem boasting a 32×8 channel bonded support, as well as a WiFi 6 router boasting blazing high wireless internet speeds. The modem allows you to enjoy full gigabit speeds, and most importantly, 2×2 downstream and upstream OFDMA channel setup that allows for the best performance and blazing speeds. It is compatible with most cable ISPs.

You might also like this network device because it allows you to enjoy gigabit speeds for gaming with either a single PC or a complete gaming gig. This is made possible by the 2.5Gbps Ethernet port. In addition to this, it also offers next-gen 802.3ad link aggregation, meaning you get to enjoy maximum throughput, even if yours is one of the busiest home networks.

This network device is also set up to support maximum speeds of 2Gbps from ISPs. It offers a large area coverage reaching a maximum of 3000sq.ft, and it will work with at least 45 connected.

You also have the dual-band router with 4 Ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 port for fast file transfers.

Pros

  • Future-proof
  • Advanced WiFi 6 and DOCSIS 3.1 technological support
  • Link aggregated 2.5Gbps Ethernet port
  • High-speed performance
  • Good coverage and range
  • Compatible with cable ISPs

Cons

  • Expensive

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  1. Motorola MG7700 Cable Modem and Router – Best Design

Motorola MG7700 24x8 Cable Modem Plus AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router with Power Boost, 1000 Mbps Maximum Docsis 3.0 - Approved by Comcast Xfinity, Cox and More
  • Fast 24x8 DOCSIS 3.0 cable Modem Plus a built-in AC1900 Dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi Gigabit Router...
  • Eliminate up to $156 per year in cable Modem rental fees. (Savings are shown for Comcast Xfinity and vary...

For a beautifully designed and a high-functional modem-router combo unit, this Motorola MG7700 would be a good option for you.

You get to enjoy fast download and upload speeds thanks to the 24×8 DOCSIS 3.0 modem along with the built-in and dual-band 802.11ac router fitted with 4 Ethernet ports for wired connectivity. It also offers an excellent power boost WiFi amplifier function to boost the performance of this modem-router unit. It supports ISP speeds of up to 650Mbps, but the power of the modem pushes up to 1000Mbps. The router offers a maximum throughput of 1900Mbps.

It also boasts reliable security features, including denial of service attacks, thanks to the Broadcom cable modem chipset. And back to the design, this device takes up minimal space on the shelf, and it boasts excellent cooling functions. Its design is simple, and you won’t have to worry about unwieldy wiring or other forms of clutter.

Pros

  • Great security features
  • Easy setup and use
  • Unobtrusive design
  • Great performance and wireless speeds
  • Dual-band, high-performance router
  • Reliable DOCSIS 3.0 modem setup

Cons

  • Not suitable for large homes or big offices

View Price on Amazon

Buying Guide for the Best Modem-Router Combos

Before you buy a modem-router combo, there are certain considerations that you need to keep in mind. These are features and functions that would affect the overall performance of the device you choose, and it will also set apart some of the modem-router combos from the others on the market. Some of the considerations that you need to keep in mind include:

  • The Supported Internet Speeds

One of the main considerations that you need to keep in mind in your search for the best modem-router combos is the speeds offered. First, you need to consider the plans offered by your service provider and the plans that you’d like to sign up for – this will be guided by your needs and lifestyle. With the ISP plans in mind, you can now begin your quest for the best modem-router combo, specifically, the one that will support the desired internet speeds.

Note that the speeds quoted for the router bit of the device are theoretical numbers, but the plan you subscribe to will determine whether you enjoy speeds close to what the router and the modem can support or not.

The highest internet speeds you get to enjoy will also be determined by your needs. For example, if you are a heavy gamer or if you stream HD content often, you might want to look out for the modem-router combo that supports the highest internet speeds for smooth, lag-free, and buffering-free gaming/ streaming experience.

  • Channel Bonding

For modems, one of the most important considerations that you need to keep in mind during your search is the modem’s channel bonding setup. Channel bonding is the feature that determines the speeds and the overall performance of the modem, and a modem with more bonded channels is one that offers the fastest internet speeds.

To understand how the channels influence the speed of the modem, you need to think of the channels as the total number of lanes on the highway. With more lanes, the highway is naturally able to move more cars through a specific area at the same time. In the case of the modems, the channels refer to the lanes through which digital information travels, in and out of your home.

To determine if the modem part of the router you are considering is fast or not, you need to look at the numbers for channel bonding. There always are two numbers, the downstream or download channels, which come fast, and the upload channels. In this case, you’d have a 32×8 modem, which translates to 32 download channels and 8 upload channels. These setups guide the speeds of the modem, and the example above offers the highest download and upload speeds.

Thanks to channel bonding, there is an aggregation of several downstream or upstream channels, hence the delivery of high speeds for your downloads and uploads.

  • DOCSIS

DOCSIS or Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification refers to the international standard and a common feature in modems that allow for the easy addition of high-bandwidth data transfer systems to your existing coaxial cable TV system, hence the delivery of high internet speeds, with no need to replace the coaxial cable network. Keep in mind that in the ideal world, we’d all have access to Fiber home services, but the reality of this possibility is that it’s just too expensive, which means the need for a more practical solution.

DOCSIS is the practical solution here, as it allows users to choose their preferred DOCSIS standard, and consequently, the speed and performance of their cable internet connections.

The modem you choose today will be based on the DOCSIS 3.0 or DOCSIS 3.1 standard, and these numbers show the advancement levels in DOCSIS protocols and the fact that you now get to enjoy very high internet speeds compared to the people who used modems running on the older DOCSIS protocols.

That said, it’s worth noting that DOCSIS works via its two main components – the MAC Layer for media access control, and the PHY layer, which denotes the physical layer that has everything to do with cable and wire routing, and also the data transmission frequency, hence fast speeds inferring better or the best performance. The MAC layer constitutes the design of the DOCSIS system for the modem but in relation to the intelligent setup of the equipment and, in consequence, the ability of this system to handle massive amounts of information processed at any given time, with a few ‘traffic jams’ as possible. By working together, these two layers of DOCSIS ensure high-speed connectivity and the best performance of your modem.

Now that you know what DOCSIS is, you’ll be happy to note that the DOCSIS 3.1 modems are faster and more robust than the DOCSIS 3.0, but even the DOCSIS 3.0 modems still offer the best performance.

  • WiFi Performance

The other thing that you should be looking at as you look for the best modem-router combo is that WiFi performance of the device. The good news is that you can tell more about the wireless performance of the modem-router combo by looking at the specifications of the device, specifically, the wireless protocol and the number of radio bands. The best modem-router combos have routers set on the high-performance 802.11ac standard, which offers high internet speeds, and they often dual-band units with reliable 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

The difference between the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band is that while the 2.4GHz band offers a long-range coverage, it offers slow internet speeds, even as the 5GHz band offers a shorter range, but at higher speeds. There also are differences in the number of channels for the two bands – there are11 channels for the 2.4GHz band and 23 channels for the 5GHz bands.

Note that the 802.11ac protocol also amplifies the range and the coverage of the radio bands.

  • Ports

You also need to look out for the modem-router combos that feature a good number of Ethernet ports for easy connection to your devices, allowing you to enjoy fast internet connection. Also, look for a device with USB ports.

  • Coverage and Range

The other important consideration to keep in mind is the coverage of the device, and whether the range it offers is adequate for your needs. Besides the stated specifications, you also need to look out for features like additional external antennas with support for beamforming and MU-MIMO, among other technological features.

FAQs

Is there a reason why I shouldn’t buy the modem-router combo?

Although the combo setup saves you some money and you won’t have to deal with a big wiring mess, the combo unit makes it harder for upgrades because you’d have to upgrade each unit individually, and this costs more.

Which is the right modem for fiber optic internet?

Unlike your cable modem, the fiber optic internet systems do not use modems, but they use the optical network terminals (ONTs) instead. The technology used by the ONTs is different, even though it works much like the cable systems. The other thing to keep in mind is that there are limited third-party ONTs, and you’d have to lease it from your ISP.

Is WiFi speed affected by the modem-router combo setup?

Yes. The modem affects the overall WiFi speeds for your device, and this often happens because of the splitting of channels/ signals from your modem to the router, and there is also further splitting from the use of the network signals by multiple devices.

Conclusion

The best modem-router combo units are compatible with most ISPs, and they come with features that allow you to meet most of your basic internet needs by only investing in one device and also saving money otherwise spent on modem rental. These combo units mean that you wouldn’t have to worry about the configuration complexities that come from having two separate devices, and with everything in one place, you can enjoy seamless connectivity. The modem-router combos reviewed here are some of the best options on the market today, and you can get any of them depending on your needs.

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Mathew Blake
Hi my name is Mathew Blake. My love for technology stemmed from a curiosity and fascination is small gadgets ever since I could remember. The Globe is a hotbed for rapidly advancing technology that has brought us a multiple gadgets, appliances and devices and I am here for it. Techprojournal.com is a blog that is very enjoy writing and researching for. My passion for tech led me to specialize in several technology-related fields, the main being IT. As an IT specialist, my main job is to cater to technical needs in many businesses. I enjoy working all tech related- fields especially ones that allow me to interact with the consumer.

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