The most effective cable modem

By David Murphy

This submit was completed in partnership with The Wirecutter, a purchaser’s information to the perfect know-how. Learn the complete article right here.

After researching 88 cable modems this yr, the Arris SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS stays the cable modem we advocate for most individuals. It is suitable with seven of the 9 largest ISPs—together with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, and Constitution—and it helps the Web speeds out there to the overwhelming majority of People. Our decide is well-liked and dependable, and it provides you probably the most flexibility for switching suppliers should you transfer some place else (or in the event you’re fortunate sufficient to have a number of ISPs to select from).

Who ought to (and should not) purchase this

In the event you’re paying a charge to lease a cable modem out of your ISP, you should purchase a cable modem. For instance, Comcast and Time Warner Cable cost between $eight and $10 per 30 days to lease a modem, so should you purchase a $70 cable modem, you will begin saving cash inside one yr. (Although some ISPs, like Constitution, combine the modem rental payment into their costs, so you will not save any cash when you purchase your personal.)

You also needs to get a brand new modem if yours does not help DOCSIS, the present iteration of the Knowledge Over Cable Service Interface Specification that governs how cable operators ship excessive-velocity Web. Should you’ve had your modem for a number of years, give the mannequin identify a fast Google search; you may nonetheless be utilizing a modem that helps solely DOCSIS

Do not buy our cable modem picks when you’re utilizing DSL or fiber, which use completely totally different requirements from DOCSIS. Additionally, do not buy it for those who use your cable supplier for phone service: The fashions we cowl right here do not have telephone ports. Lastly, in case your Web plan has obtain speeds of one hundred fifty Mbps or larger, you will want a better-finish modem just like the Arris SURFBoard SB6183.

How we picked

All DOCSIS modems help no less than 4 downstream channels and 4 upstream channels. Downstream channels are extra essential as a result of they influence streaming and obtain speeds—and your new cable modem ought to help a minimum of eight.

An eight&occasions;four cable modem—with eight downstream channels and 4 upstream—provides most individuals loads of overhead to improve to quicker service later. It additionally does a greater job of dealing with your ISP’s community congestion than a four&occasions;four cable modem, as a result of every channel is nearly like a separate connection: If one channel is congested, one other channel might have capability. Though Comcast recommends individuals purchase a sixteen&occasions;four modem, and Cox prefers a 24&occasions;eight mannequin, these are each overkill for many Web plans slower than one hundred fifty Mbps.

We began our analysis by going by way of all the DOCSIS modems that work with the nation’s eight largest ISPs—Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Constitution, Cablevision, Suddenlink, Mediacom, WideOpenWest, and Cable One—in addition to Cox. We did not embrace (and do not advocate) modems that double as wi-fi routers.

No one actually evaluations cable modems—it is troublesome to do as a result of you possibly can’t know whether or not it is the modem or your ISP that is accountable for slower speeds, so the few evaluations that exist aren’t very scientific. We additionally do not have the power to check a number of modems on a number of ISPs ourselves. We seemed on the Amazon critiques of those modems to ensure that individuals who owned them did not have any points with the units or their producers’ buyer help.

Our decide

The best cable modem

Earlier than January 2016, SURFboard SB6141 modems like this one have been co-branded with Motorola, however new ones have solely the Arris model. Photograph: Grant Kindrick

The Arris SURFboard SB6141 cable modem is the only option for most individuals as a result of it is suitable with six of the eight largest US cable ISPs—together with the highest three—in addition to Cox. It helps speeds a lot quicker than most individuals’s Web plans, and it has hundreds of glowing Amazon evaluations and a historical past of reliability.

The SB6141 has an eight&occasions;four channel configuration, which suggests it ought to work for all Web plans as much as about one hundred fifty Mbps. It is also inexpensive than an a 16×4 modem, letting you recoup your cash quicker. Plus, in case your Web plan does not require a sixteen&occasions;four modem, you are unlikely to get a velocity increase through the use of one as an alternative of an eight&occasions;four modem.

Our decide is the preferred buy for guests at Purchase A Cable Modem. On Amazon, the SB6141 is the location’s greatest-promoting cable modem, with a score of four.four stars (out of 5) throughout 9,450 critiques. Although the SB6141’s one-yr guarantee appears brief, cable modems are extraordinarily dependable—a lot in order that you would even purchase a refurbished or used model of the SB6141 to economize. If it really works for the primary week, likelihood is it’ll work for a very long time as a result of there are not any shifting elements to wear down.

For top-velocity plans

The best cable modem

You will want the SB6183 for very quick Web plans like Comcast’s 250Mbps or Time Warner Cable’s 300Mbps choices.

The Arris SURFboard SB6183 is a sixteen&occasions;four cable modem that works with the quickest listed Web plans from the nation’s three largest ISPs (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Constitution), in addition to from Cox, Suddenlink, and Cable One.

The SB6183 has sixteen downstream channels—twice as many because the SB6141. Only a few individuals have an Web plan quick sufficient to wish a sixteen&occasions;four modem, however some ISPs require one for plans that an eight&occasions;four modem might theoretically deal with. For instance, you will want a sixteen&occasions;four modem just like the SB6183 on Comcast’s Excessive 250 plan, Time Warner Cable’s 300Mbps plan, and Cox’s Final tier.

On Amazon, the SB6183 is the second greatest-promoting cable modem (after the SB6141), with a score of four.5 stars (out of 5) throughout 1,473 critiques. On Purchase A Cable Modem, the SB6183 is the perfect-promoting sixteen&occasions;four cable modem.

Care, upkeep, and setup

A cable modem does not have any settings you want to regulate; you do not even replace the firmware your self. Your modem’s producer will deploy firmware updates on your ISP to ship to your modem (so long as your ISP nonetheless helps the modem). Simply join the modem to your cable firm’s coaxial line, join your modem to your router with an Ethernet cable, and plug the cable modem and the router in.

As a result of its configuration web page doesn’t require a login, the Arris SURFboard SB6141 is weak to cross-website-scripting assaults that trick you into rebooting your modem or restoring it to manufacturing unit settings. Such an assault is extra annoying than harmful, however it might trigger you to lose your Web connection for anyplace from a few minutes to half an hour. To stop this type of assault, go into your router’s configuration web page and block entry to the IP tackle hundred.1 (the modem’s configuration web page) for anybody inside your community.

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