Netgear N600 Vs CM500 – How do they compare in performance?

Netgear is known for its high quality networking devices. Among them are the Netgear N600 router and CM500 modem. Take a look as we provide a detailed review, highlighting their major features to determine whether they are the right product for you.

In most home networking setups, a modem is used together with a router to provide Wi-Fi for the household. This is especially true if you use cable internet. One of the best duos to use today is the N600 router and CM500 modem, both by Netgear. While they are different devices, both are great performers in their respective categories. The CM500 modem is connected to the ISPs signal through a coaxial cable. A router, the N600, is the connected to the modem to provide wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi). The following table break down their differences further.

What are the differences between the Netgear N600 router and CM500 modem?

Netgear CM500
Netgear N600 (Winner)
Device type
Size dimensions
7.28 x 4.88 x 2.36 inches
8.8 by 6 by 1.2 inches
Gigabit Ethernet Ports
Processor chipset


Atheros AR7161680
256 MB
64 MB
Special features
MUMIMO, beamforming, WPA and WPA2 security, parental control, traffic meter

Netgear N600 vs Netgear CM500 – How do they compare?

Performance and speed

Being different networking devices, it may be difficult to dete rmine which is better than the other in terms of speed and performance. The N600 is a dual band router with excellent performance for both home and office use. It can do speeds of up to 300 Mbps. This is quite similar to the CM500 modem. The modem is rated at 686 Mbps but in reality, provides throughput speeds of 300 Mbps. In addition, the CM500 modem comes with features that enable such speeds to be reached and maintained constantly. Features such as DOCSIS 3.0 and spectrum analyzer boost the modem’s performance greatly. Netgear’s N600 router is also equipped with special features to boost performance. They include: MUMIMO and beamforming for seamless streaming, parental control, WPA security, among others. Overall, the Netgear N600 provides higher speeds than the N500.


Modems tend to have less gigabit Ethernet ports than routers because of how they operate. This is why the CM500 modem comes with a single Ethernet port and the N600 features four LANEthernet ports and one WAN. With a modem, the one port is enough since it is connected to the router. The N600 allows more devices to be connected. On top of Ethernet ports, there are also two USB 2.0 ports that increase versatility. Lastly, the router has one power port. On the other hand, there is an additional coaxial port and port for the CM500 modem. All in all, the N600 beats out the CM500 since it provides more versatility through multiple ports


When it comes to design, there are two major factors to look at: attractiveness and practicality of the device. The practicality refers to how easy the device can be positioned in the house. N600 features a matte black color while the modem is glossy black. This means that you get more dirt and fingerprints on the CM500. In addition to these, the router comes with a stronger stand for support making it the overall winner in this category. Once again, the N600 is better due to a more practical design.

Installation and ease of use

Another major consideration is how easy the device is to setup and configure for first time use. Here, the CM500 modem excels due to the fact that it is a plug and play device. Plug and play feature allows for quick setup, about five minutes. On the other hand, the N600 router takes time and is more complicated to setup. First, a mobile app known as Genie by Netgear has to be used for installation. The process takes between fifteen minutes and may even take longer for a first timer.

Netgear N600 vs Netgear CM500 – A comparison review

Netgear N600

NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router (WNDR3400)
  • Faster WiFi Speed: N600 Dual Band WiFi delivers 300 + 300Mbps
  • Ideal WiFi range for medium to large homes. System Requirements: Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10,Vista, XP,...

One of Netgear’s oldest and top selling routers is the N600. It is a dual band router than offers excellent speeds for home use, IT inclined consumers and even small businesses such as cafes. The piece is also quite affordable and offers super value for money. Being a dual band router, devices can connect to either the 2.4 GHz band or 5 GHz band with the latter offering higher speeds. Also, its 300 Mbps speed rating translates to about 95 Mbps in a real world environment. With such speeds there is almost nothing you cannot do from gaming, streaming in high resolution and more. It is also equipped with performance boosting features such as MUMIMO. Furthermore, the router provides some of the best area coverage in the game. It covers about 1500 square feet with minimal loss of bandwidth over distance

When it comes to design, the N600 does not disappoint. It is a gorgeous model that comes in only black. The covering features a matte finish that prevents prints and dirt from accumulating on the surface. It is also strong and solid for durability. For versatility, it comes with 5 Ethernet ports: four LAN and one WAN. However, it lacks a gigabit Ethernet port which is rather disappointing for router in its caliber.


  • N600 offers very high speeds ideal for intensive internet use
  • It features a lovely design that compliments the interior décor
  • Solid build ensures durability
  • Wonderful coverage of up to 1500 sq. feet


  • It lacks a gigabit Ethernet port
  • Too huge for small spaces

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Netgear CM500

NETGEAR Cable Modem CM1000 - Compatible with All Cable Providers Including Xfinity by Comcast, Spectrum, Cox | for Cable Plans Up to 1 Gigabit | DOCSIS 3.1, Black (CM1000-1AZNAS)
  • Compatible with all major cable internet providers: Including certification by Xfinity by Comcast, COX,...
  • Save monthly rental fees: Model CM1000 replaces your cable modem saving you up to dollar 168/year in...

The Netgear CM500 is an excellent mid-entry level modem idea for the modern day home. With speeds of up to 300 Mbps, this modem ensures there is seamless connection for streaming, gaming and downloading large files from the internet. To enable such performance, the modem comes with 32 down channels and 8 up channels allowing channel bonding. The CM500 is also fitted with DOCSIS 3.0 for stability in performance. Furthermore, the modem is quite affordable and costs less than fifty bucks. This coupled with the top performance you’re getting ensure that there’s excellent value for your money. If you’re looking to replace the ISP provided modem (that you pay for), this may be the best choice for you. When it comes to the design of this modem, it’s nothing too fancy. It features a tower based design that requires it to always be placed vertically rather than horizontally. This may be a problem for people with limited space since the device is also huge, standing at over 7 inches. It also features a glossy black covering that compliments your home’s interior décor.


  • Great compatibility with cable internet providers
  • Wonderful design that compliments your home décor
  • It supports IPV6 technology
  • Very easy first time setup and use


  • The LEDs are too bright any may be a problem when trying to sleep

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In conclusion, these devices may be the perfect match for setting up a high speed network within your house. They provide similar speeds and are generally affordable.

Final Verdict – So which is better, Netgear CM500 or Netgear N600?

Overall, the N600 is a better and higher quality device than the CM500 modem. This is because it has more ports and is more versatile in its uses


  1. Does the N600 modem offer security?

Yes. The router boasts robust WPA, WEP and WPA 2 for protection against internet-related attacks

  1. Is the CM500 prone to overheating?

Yes. Due to its design, cooling is hindered in the modem and therefore, it may get too warm.

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