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Maksim Samsonov
Maksim Samsonov

What Cable Modem Should I Buy For Xfinity

Super informative article! I have a 1400 square foot townhome. Cutting cable and going to buy either modem router combo, or separate devices. Have Xfinity. All we do is watch/stream TV, and have 2 cell phones, and one tablet. Not gamers, nothing special. What is your recommendation for Xfinity internet plan/speed?Thank you!

what cable modem should i buy for xfinity

If your cable internet provider charges you an expensive modem rental fee every month, consider buying your own modem instead. A modem generally pays for itself in the first year of ownership, and most will give you speedy internet for years to come. After researching nearly 100 cable modems over the past six years, we recommend the Motorola MB7621 as the best cable modem for use with most internet service providers (ISPs) and internet plans.

If you have a gigabit or multi-gig internet plan and your ISP allows you to use your own modem, the Motorola MB8611 is the best of the DOCSIS 3.1 modems that are widely available right now, thanks to its relatively low price and two-year warranty. You need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem to guarantee gigabit speeds from most cable ISPs, and some ISPs like Sparklight recommend DOCSIS 3.1 modems for new cable modem activations.

The MB8611 supports gigabit internet plans (up to 1000 Mbps or 1 Gbps) as well as multi-gig plans (between 1.2 and 2.5 Gbps). It supports those faster speeds using a 2.5 GbE (2.5 gigabit Ethernet) port on its back panel, just above the usual coaxial (round Cable TV-style) cable. The modem's port will connect to older routers with 1 gigabit Ethernet ports up to single gigabit speeds, and newer routers and mesh networks with 2.5 GbE ports at 1.2 to 2.5 gigabit speeds.

Get the best cable modem, and you no longer have to worry about hidden fees popping up on your internet bill. That's because supplying your own modem gets rid of the equipment rental fee your internet service provider could be charging you if you're using the ISP-supplied modem they gave you with when setting up your service.

You'll need to find a modem that works with your internet service, but that's not a huge challenge. All of the best cable modem contenders we've assessed work with major ISPs in the U.S. So really, all you need to do is find a modem that's easy to hook up and comes with a generous warranty. Here's what we'd recommend based on testing assorted cable modems over the years.

If you have gigabit or even a multi-gig internet plan, you're going to need a DOCSIS 3.1 compatible modem to take full advantage of the speeds you're paying for. The ARRIS SURFboard S33 is one such modem that's compatible with Comcast, Spectrum Cox and most other major U.S. cable internet providers.

The ARRIS SURFboard S33 is a bit more expensive than the other cable modems in this guide with a list price of $219 though it's usually available for around $200. For the price, you get a future-proof device that's well suited for high-speed internet plans thanks to its gigabit and multi-gig Ethernet ports. In fact, this device can reach a top speed of 2,500 Mbps.

The Motorola MB7420 is the best cable modem for most homes. In fact, managing editor at Tom's Guide Philip Michaels has been using the MB7420 for nearly two years without a single complaint. If you can find the MB7420 for $60 or less, it's hard to track down a better value.

There's not much separating the Motorola MB7420 from the Netgear CM500 as both performed dependably when we tested each modem. But the edge goes to Motorola because it offers a two-year warranty to Netgear's one-year of coverage. That means better protection for your investment, as the best cable modems tend to last for several years.

The Netgear CM500 remains one of the best cable modems available, and you can usually find it for a $5 to $10 less than the Motorola MB7420 most of the time. Anytime you can find a new CM500 for around $50, that's a good buy.

The Netgear CM500 works with the biggest cable providers and supports speeds of up to 300 Mbps, which should be enough for the vast majority of Internet users out there. (If you've got a high-speed plan, look for a faster modem.)

There's actually very little performance difference among the best cable modems in our testing, so it's seemingly slight distinctions that separate these devices. Opt for Netgear's CM500, and you'll get a modem that's just as capable as the Motorola MB7420 or the Arris SB6183. However, Netgear only offers a one-year warranty, compared with two years for those rival modems.

While most homes opt for internet plans that promise speeds of around 100 to 300 Mbps, some people prefer higher-speed service. If your plan promises download speeds that top 300 Mbps, you'll want a cable modem that can take advantage of that greater performance. Netgear's CM600 is the best cable modem for those higher speeds, though you'll pay a little bit more than you would for the CM500.

The Arris Surfboard SB6183 was once our pick for the best cable modem thanks to its solid performance that will satisfy most home internet customers who don't pay for high-speed service. Like the CM600, some retailers are charging more for this harder-to-track-down modem, but if you can find the SB6183 for around $60, then it's worth getting.

At 5.2 x 5 x 2.1 inches, the all-white SB6183 can be tucked unobtrusively next to a router, cable box and whatever other hardware you have on hand. The coaxial-cable connector is a little too close to the power connector for my taste, but you're likely to have to deal with that only when setting up the modem.

A 16 x 4 cable modem delivers enough speed to effectively serve the majority of cable customers. That kind of modem typically costs $70 or less, and if you keep an eye out for deals, you might be able to find a top-rated modem for $50 to $60. Modems that support the emerging DOCSIS 3.1 standard start typically cost $180, though sales may let you get these modems for less.

These days, makers of home networking gear seem to favor modem-router combinations over standalone cable modems. It may be tempting to buy one of these hybrid networking devices instead of a separate modem and router, as you can take care of two tasks with one device. We'd advise against modem-router combos, though.

If you're thinking of upgrading to a multi-gig internet plan, you're going to need the right cable modem to make the most of your new plan. While cable modems with DOCSIS 3.0 top out at 1 Gbps, devices with DOCSIS 3.1 can reach all the way up to 10 Gbps. Although these newer cable modems may be more expensive, they're also future-proof since you won't need to replace your modem when moving from a gigabit plan up to a multi-gig one.

While most of the devices in this guide are compatible with DOCSIS 3.0, we're in the process of testing out cable modems that support this new telecommunications industry standard. At the same time though, DOCSIS 4.0 is currently in development but it will be a few years until cable modems that support it are released.

We test each cable modem on Comcast's Performance Pro home internet service. After running speed tests to make sure the modems are delivering their promised download speeds, we use the modems as part of regular networking setup to gauge dependability.

In addition to using the modems in a home with multiple connected laptops, smartphones and tablets, we also evaluate the indicator lights on each modem to see that they're visible. We look at how easy the modems are to set up. And because the primary reason to get your own cable modem is to save on monthly rental fees for ISP-supplied modems, we heavily weight the length of a modem's warranty.

To summarize, the Netgear CM1100 is a more easy-to-handle cable modem for Comcast that works well for high-speed home or office connections. And its link-aggregation support is what separates it from the herd.

The modem majorly lags in this department with only one Ethernet port. It supports Gigabit plans and speeds, with the 800 Mbps panned out at 797 Mbps and 214 Mbps, respectively, for downloads and uploads. An upgrade in speeds means your gaming and streaming experience should improve, as I noticed a drop in ping value from 10ms to 8ms.

After comparing compatibility, user satisfaction, DOCSIS technology, and max wired connection speeds, we recommend the Motorola MB7621 as the best cable modem for most Comcast Xfinity plans.

The Motorola MB7621 is an Xfinity-certified cable modem that comes with wired internet connection speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps.1 That covers pretty much every single Xfinity internet plan (aside from its extremely limited 2,000 Mbps plan).

For anyone looking for the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology and the ludicrous speeds it brings, the ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 and NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2050V are top-rated contenders. And those looking to replace the Xfinity xFi Gateway without having to buy a router as well should consider the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000 modem and router combo.

No, it's not. While Verizon FiOS uses Miltimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) technology, Xfinity's modem technology is Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS). And because MoCA uses existing internet cables in people's home, MoCA modems won't be compatible with existing DOCSIS cable connections.

If you have a fiber-to-the-curb setup, you need a cable modem or a DSL modem, depending on the connection entering your home. You can ask your internet provider more about what type of fiber connection you have.

That being said, there are some, not exhilarating but necessary, things you should be aware of. For instance, modems are only supported by specific ISPs. For this article, we will be discussing the best cable modems for DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1, which is the main protocol used for cable internet.

Now that we have gotten some of this other stuff out of the way, the first thing you should look for in a modem is compatibility. If the modem does not support your ISP, it will be completely useless.

We are starting our list with the ARRIS Surfboard SB8200, which is one of the most reliable cable modems on the consumer market. Surfboard SB8200 supports the latest DOCSIS 3.1 protocol, which is ten times faster than DOCSIS 3.0. However, apart from Comcast, the supported ISPs send the data through DOCSIS 3.0, which is why the transfer rates of this modem are only better theoretically. This makes this cable modem a future-proof product that should be useful for other ISPs once they officially support the DOCSIS 3.1 protocol. 041b061a72


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