The Come to Dinner button will let you block all Internet, persuading kids to leave their gadgets and come eat. The model supports 24 downstream and 8 upstream channels, covering at least 8 high-bandwidth users and ~20 less demanding electronics.
The instructions are lacking.
The ARRIS SURFboard SBG7400 is aimed at smart homes that are filled to the brim with smart devices. With this modem, you can supply them with a sufficient Internet connection and control them all. Plus, the unit works with most US cable Internet providers.
24 downstream & 8 upstream channels, Wi-Fi speed - up to 2350 Mbps, Best for cable internet speed plans up to 600 Mbps
Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity, and others
4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 x USB port, 1 x coaxial port
2 years limited
The integrated security protocols include WiFi Protected Access® (WPA/WPA2—PSK) and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). The unit also provides double firewall protection and DDoS attack prevention. The Gigabit ports come equipped with auto-sensing technology.
The modem requires occasional rebooting.
Large families occupying sizable premises cannot go wrong with the NETGEAR Combo C6250. Covering ~1,500 square feet, this device will ensure a secure and reliable connection between ~20 devices without blind/dead spots. The model supports Xfinity's Blast and Extreme plans as well as the Spectrum Maxx Internet plan.
16 downstream & 4 upstream channels, Wi-Fi speed - up to 1600 Mbps, supports plans up to 300 Mbps
Xfinity/Comcast, Cox, and Spectrum
2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 x USB port, 1 x coaxial port
The 6 internal antennas and high-powered amplifiers will increase the signal strength, reducing interference. The Beamforming technology will give you a more targeted wireless connection, focusing the bulk of the signal towards those devices that require it the most.
The WPS button is located close to the On/Off button, so you can accidentally choose the wrong one.
The TP-Link Archer CR700 will accommodate parents first and everyone else second. Using the management page, parents will be able to safeguard the network, establish surfing schedules, restrict access, filter certain websites, and more, preventing kids from accessing dangerous content.
16 downstream and 4 upstream channels, up to 680 Mbps download speeds, up to 1750 Mbps AC Wi-Fi speed, 2.4GHz (up to 450 Mbps) + 5GHz (up to 1300 Mbps)
Xfinity/Comcast, Cox, Spectrum, and more
4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2 x USB ports
The SURFboard Manager app will let you establish user profiles, manage access, and provide you with notifications when unknown users try to access your network. The LED indicators will simplify and streamline installation and troubleshooting.
You need to call Spectrum to activate it.
An average household will not need more than what the ARRIS SURFboard SBG10 is offering. Supporting the latest Internet standard (IPv6), the modem eliminates address exhaustion issues. Plus, the same protocol can facilitate route aggregation and expand routing tables.
16 downstream & 4 upstream channels, Wi-Fi speeds up to 1600 Mbps, DOCSIS® download speeds up to 686 Mbps, Best for cable internet service plans up to 400 Mbps
Xfinity/Comcast, Cox, Spectrum, and more
2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 x coaxial port
2 years limited
The glossy housing gives the unit a polished appearance. The stand makes sure the device remains stable even on an uneven surface. Weighing just 0.6 pounds, the model enables easy relocation. The CD-less installation also makes things pretty easy from the get-go.
Some find the unit huge.
There are very few cable Internet service providers that do not work with the NETGEAR CM500 and they are small-time firms, not major contenders. The model will enable multiple users fighting lag-free online battles and streaming Ultra HD content without buffering.
16 channels download up to 680 Mbps,4 channels upload up to 132 Mbps
Xfinity/Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cablevision, Bright House Networks, Cox, and others
1 x RJ45 - Gigabit Ethernet port
ARRIS SURFboard (SBG7400AC2)
The ARRIS SURFboard SBG7400 is not for posers who don't even surf. On a more serious note, this is a powerful machine that works with the biggest US cable Internet providers, including Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity, and others. But while its performance is commendable, the model's appearance is a little bland. Not necessarily escaping the mold that most home modems fit, this unit presents the same black box with 5 LED indicators, a WPS button, and a USB port below it. The LED icons provide you with information regarding the network that you can use to diagnose issues. The model measures 7.7 x 2.25 x 9.5 inches and weighs 2.6 pounds, which is more or less standard.
While the front is pretty basic, the backside looks a little odd. Color-coded and labeled to the point that anyone should be able to work with the Surfboard, we appreciate making the interfaces on the back newbie-friendly but, from an aesthetics perspective, the colorful backside looks almost garish. On the upside, both from installation and troubleshooting viewpoints, even the least tech-savvy users will have no problems figuring these interfaces out. There are 4 Ethernet ports there, each with a maximum gigabit throughput.
24 Download Channels
Supporting the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, the model gives you download speeds that rocket towards 600 Mbps per channel. But its more impressive quality is supporting 24 download channels and 8 upload channels. Between these extra channels, this unit can communicate with several devices on the network without losing efficiency. Since homes today are filling up with assistant speakers and Wi-Fi kettles, a device like this that can support 2 dozen download channels will come in handy. Assuming that your ISP gives you enough, this modem can maintain 8 high-bandwidth users and almost 20 less demanding devices.
The model outsources its security features to McAfee Home Security. Using the pretty capable app that the digital security industry giant is offering here, you'll be monitoring your network from anywhere. You can also protect the network from new threats as they emerge without micromanaging these protections. The app will let you create user profiles, outline limits on how they can access the network, establish blacklisted and whitelisted sites, and so on.
Bottom line, households with home automation systems/smart home solutions that include dozens of smart devices will benefit from the ARRIS SURFboard SBG7400 immensely.
|Last updated price||$185.99|
NETGEAR Combo C6250
The NETGEAR Combo C6250 replaces cable modems and Wi-Fi routers, combining both devices into one unit. With this unit, you can make sure that the entire house enjoys a reliable and sufficient connection. What sells this product first and foremost is the 16x4 channel bonding feature, ensuring excellent speed during peak hours. With this feature, multiple people connected to the same network can enjoy seamless gaming and streaming with practically nonexistent lagging and buffering. As always, the company's networking equipment automatically selects between 2 bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), minimizing interference and assigning different devices the band they require. Where coverage is concerned, this unit follows in its predecessors' footsteps, covering at least 1,500 square feet, which means that this model will be able to accommodate pretty sizable premises.
What's not necessarily sizable, however, is the unit itself. No, measuring just 7.8 x 2.5 x 7.6 inches, this is one compact device that most shelves or entertainment centers can fit with relative ease. The people behind the product even claim that its weight caps at 1.2 pounds, which is a little improbable but, at the very least, the device is quite lightweight, there's no doubt about that. Plus, with countless ventilation holes on the sides, the unit offers great heat dissipation, preventing its internal components from overheating. Still, the modem requires occasional restarting.
DDoS Attack Prevention
Examining the model's performance, the NETGEAR Combo C6250 supports Wi-Fi speeds up to 1600 Mbps and plans up to 300 Mbps, meaning that this modem can work with Xfinity's Blast and Extreme plans as well as Spectrum Maxx Internet plan. Looking at the interfaces, aside from 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, the model houses a USB port. With this port, you can connect printers, storage drives, and game boxes to the Internet in a wired fashion. Of course, the 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports are not complete without auto-sensing tech.
On the security front, this device also fits the company's mold, offering WiFi Protected Access® (WPA/WPA2—PSK) and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). Besides that, the model supports double firewall protection (SPI and NAT firewall) as well as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack prevention.
Long story short, the NETGEAR Combo C6250 is the best option on this list for large families living in medium-sized and even relatively spacious houses.
|Last updated price||$149.40|
TP-LINK Archer CR700
Two USB Ports as Well
TP-Link Archer CR700 is excellent in its own right. The one thing that we would like to change is putting the WPS button not as close to the On/Off button as it is right now, making sure that you do not accidentally choose the wrong one. Removing the button layout from the equation, we have no complaints regarding this device, not one. Even the general layout is quite alright, primarily the 2 USB ports that you'll find above the 4 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. With these ports, you can establish a wired connection between the network and most USB-enabled devices, including printers, game boxes, thumb drives, and so on.
As you'd imagine, the Gigabit Ethernet ports make this modem compatible with most major cable ISPs, not excluding Xfinity, Comcast, Cox, Spectrum, and more. All you have to do is use a coaxial cable to connect the model to your computer or router, and contact your Internet service provider to activate the modem. When you're done, the LED icons will tell you if the connection's working as intended or if there's some issue with it. Using these indicators, you can troubleshoot the issue, so even inexperienced users should be able to find out what the problem is and fix it without consulting professionals. Plus, the instructions that come with this device are pretty thorough and straightforward, so you can always consult them first before giving up and calling for professional assistance.
With networking equipment from TP-Link, certain features come without saying. In this case, these features include six internal antennas and high-powered amplifiers boosting the signal strength and reducing interference. These features also include Beamforming tech, delivering a more targeted and more efficient wireless connection. Owing to this technology, the modem focuses the signal towards specific devices instead of spreading the signal in all directions. As a result, high-bandwidth users receive a strong, stable, and reliable signal, whereas more passive devices are not allocated more data than they require.
Last but not least, the management page will give you access to parental and access control, safeguarding the network, establishing surfing schedules, as well as restricting access and content.
In closing, people that are conscious about what their children are browsing on the Internet and what content they're consuming should look towards the TP-Link Archer CR700.
|Last updated price||$91.22|
ARRIS SURFboard (SBG10)
The ARRIS SURFboard SBG10 is a little more humble and tame than its step-up stablemate that we've reviewed above. Unlike the said stablemate, this device caps at 16 downstream and 4 upstream channels, which is still great, just not as great as 24 and 8 respectively. That being said, even households that entertain numerous guests on a frequent basis and have quite a few smart devices will seldom find 16 downstream and 4 upstream channels insufficient. Not unlike its more expensive relative, the model also works with Xfinity, Comcast, Cox, Spectrum, and more cable Internet service providers. The difference here is that, with Spectrum, you'll have to call the company's customer support to activate it, which is not always the case with the SBG7400. From where we're standing, the model's more budget-hostile sibling looks a little more aesthetically pleasing. But, with both sides featuring ventilation holes and cutouts, this unit is better at dissipating heat, so even at the highest load, the modem remains cool to the touch and will not fry its internal components.
On the backside, the interfaces are color-coded and labeled as well, making sure that those users that are not necessarily tech-savvy can figure out the connections themselves. These connections include 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 coaxial port. We're fine with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports since very few users need more than that but the lineup could use a USB port. Sure, we're not surprised it isn't there considering the product's value-oriented disposition but the port is missed nonetheless. What's not missed, however, is the model supporting IPv6, which is the latest Internet protocol version that solves its predecessors' address exhaustion issues, facilitates route aggregation, expands routing tables, and more.
Remote Network Management
Besides supporting IPv6, everything else that this model offers is pretty pedestrian, though not disappointing. The 2.4/5 GHz dual-band concurrent connection can minimize network interference. The energy-efficient Ethernet interfaces can prolong the modem's lifespan and provide noticeable cost savings.
Finally, the SURFboard Manager app lets you manage the network from your phone. With this app, you'll be able to establish multiple user profiles, restrict access, receive notifications when new users attempt to access the network, and so forth. So, unless you're working with 2 dozens smart devices at home, there's no reason to overpay and go with anything more expensive than the ARRIS SURFboard SBG10.
|Last updated price||$119.00|
Covering an Average Household
The NETGEAR CM500 is the most inexpensive model on this list. At ~$60, there are very few households that will find this unit a financial burden. Needless to say, considering that the model costs two or even three times less than your average modem for Spectrum and other high-speed cable Internet connections (including Xfinity, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cablevision, Bright House Networks, Cox, and others), the unit entails certain disadvantages.
First things first, its download throughput caps at 680 Mbps and upload at 132 Mbps. Is that a huge disadvantage? As far as an average household is concerned - not at all. With this connection, multiple people can enjoy seamless online gaming and Ultra HD (4K) streaming without buffering. In fact, the people enjoying online gaming can also stream their gameplay since the 132 Mbps upload speed covers at least 2 people streaming Full HD content. With these numbers, the model will be perfect for Xfinity's Internet Blast and Extreme plans. Time Warner Maxx customers will also be able to appreciate what this device can do for them.
Of course, aside from covering most cable ISPs, the model also works with pretty much all Wi-Fi routers, so you won't have to replace your old router. As you'd expect, these include the company's routers as well, which are usually quite great in their own right.
Appearance-wise, the model borrows inspiration from its less affordable NETGEAR relatives. The big black box looks sleek, with a glossy housing giving the unit a polished front. The stand keeps the device stable, so there's very little chance you'll be able to accidentally knock it down. At 2.35 x 4.88 x 7.28 inches, the model is not necessarily huge but, taking the specs into account, some might find its size a little excessive. What's not excessive is the unit weighing 0.6 pounds, enabling effortless relocation.
The interface department is where this product displays its economy price point the most. Where most modems come equipped with at least 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 coaxial port, this one removes the coaxial interface and reduces the number of Gigabit Ethernet ports to 1. On the plus side, the port supports auto-sensing technology, keeping the connection stable from the get-go. To add more, not unlike its mid-range peers, the model offers CD-less installation.
All things considered, the NETGEAR CM500 will usually suffice, working with most cable Internet service providers, including their highest-speed plans.
|Last updated price||$59.99|
What customers say about this product
What Is a Modem for Spectrum?
A cable modem is a network bridge that enables bi-directional data communication on coaxial cable infrastructure, modulating and demodulating electrical signals. Ditching technical language, cable modems are boxes that connect home networks to the Internet. Most standalone modems come equipped with two ports tops: one that connects to the outside world, and an Ethernet jack that pairs the modem with computers or routers. Routers, like the name suggests, route data between connected devices and between those devices and the World Wide Web.
While understanding the difference between these two is important, the devices that we've listed and reviewed here are both modems and routers, so they connect you to the Internet and also allow you to share that connection between multiple devices. They're compatible with the majority of the biggest US cable Internet service providers, including Spectrum. With these modems, you can enjoy a stable and secure high-speed connection that lets an entire family stream movies, play games, and browse the Internet without experiencing buffering or delay.
What Features to Compare
Where the telecommunication standard is concerned, the choice is usually between DOCSIS 2.0 and DOCSIS 3.0. The main difference between the two is that the second protocol raises the maximum throughput ceiling. Using multi-channel bonding (utilizing multiple channels at the same time while downloading or uploading), DOCSIS 3.0 can give you speedy download and upload speeds that its predecessors cannot. Bonding multiple channels, the updated protocol provides multiple times the bandwidth of DOCSIS 2.0 modems that rely on separate channels.
Since we're primarily reviewing DOCSIS 3.0 modems, the speed subject covers not just the devices' bands and maximum throughput but also the channels that they can utilize simultaneously. With more expensive models, you're usually offered somewhere around 24 downstream and 8 upstream channels. With more affordable modems, these numbers are reduced, normally giving you 16 downstream and 4 upstream channels. In terms of maximum throughput, high-end models can transmit up to 2,000 Mpbs, covering the most premium cable Internet plans.
As always, the problem here is that there are very few people who need this much, who can afford this much, and who also have a connection like that available to them in their area, so most people will benefit from high-end modems about as much as from mid-range and, sometimes, even budget modems. Looking at the maximum download and upload speeds that the modem supports, make sure you keep in mind your Internet connection.
Every modem that we've gathered and listed here supports Spectrum, hence the name. Setting Spectrum aside, they are compatible with Xfinity/Comcast, Cox, and most US cable Internet service providers, usually including Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cablevision, Bright House Networks, and so on. In addition to supporting these companies, the modems on this list also support their premium plans, including Xfinity's Blast and Extreme plans, Spectrum Maxx Internet plan, Time Warner Maxx plan, and more.
These modems always come outfitted with at least one Gigabit Ethernet port, that goes without saying. More often than not, they integrate more than one port, so you can have multiple Internet connections distributed via one device. At times, they also incorporate USB ports, enabling a wired connection with USB-endowed devices.
Ensuring Wi-Fi Security
Most devices these days, from computers to tablets and smartphones to smart speakers, are connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. Needless to say, this wireless network protocol family makes things pretty easy and plenty comfortable for an average user. The issue here is that the aforementioned devices usually contain private and sensitive information that can be hacked and leaked when the network is not secure. So, how do you make sure your network is secure?
First, home Wi-Fi networks are normally created and accessed via physical devices called broadband routers, also known as hubs or wireless routers. To check its security settings, you'll need to access the router. Generally speaking, these settings are abundant, but the most important ones are the administrator password, the wireless security key, and the encryption method. The simplest method that will let you check these settings will involve you connecting to your wireless network from a new device for the first time. When you do that, the router always asks for the wireless security key. Assuming you have not changed it before, you can usually find this key on the router's base.
If the router didn't ask for a key the first time you connect to the network, then your network is not secure. If you have to provide a key before the device you're using can communicate with the router, then the network is encrypted. That being said, just 'cause the network is encrypted doesn't mean that the router is using the best encryption method.
To make sure your network is secure, first off, we recommend changing its name. The network's default name is referred to as Service Set Identifier (SSID), which is the name that routers use to identify the network. You can change its SSID, making it more difficult for hackers to identify the router's manufacturer and figure out its default settings. Of course, for privacy reasons, we would also advise against using names that will identify you (your surname, date of birth, etc) and suggest you stick with something a little more random. While most modern routers hide their SSID from plain sight, there are countless tools available online that can let intruders discover hidden networks.
Choosing a strong password comes without saying. What does not necessarily come without saying is using the strongest encryption method available. In layman's terms, wireless encryption scrambles the messages that are sent via wireless networks, preventing hackers from accessing them without breaking the encryption first. With this in mind, we recommend you enable encryption on your router's security settings page. There are multiple encryption forms and methods but most people should stick with Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) since it is more secure than Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and its flaws have been laid out years ago.
Apart from that, make sure your device is not automatically connecting to available open Wi-Fi networks. When you do that, you run the risk of connecting to potentially dangerous networks that can steal your information.