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Best Gigabit Modem Router Combo for Your Internet Service

Get help finding the best Gigabit modem router combo for your ISP. Learn the differences between modem router combos vs. separate devices and the factors to consider when buying one.

Linksys Router and Zoom Modem Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Last Updated: August 15, 2022

Written by Brandon Jones

There are many modems, routers, and modem router combos for sale and rent, making it challenging to choose which one to get. These devices also might all sound the same if you're new to setting up your cable internet yourself, so I'm here to help with this.

In this article, I'll explain the differences between modem router combos vs. separate devices and the factors to consider when buying one, along with helping you find the best Gigabit modem router combo for your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Choosing a Gigabit Modem Router Combo

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To better understand what to look for when buying a Gigabit modem router combo, it's best first to know what a modem router combo is, along with separate modems and routers.

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What Is a Gigabit Modem Router Combo?

A standard modem router combo combines a router and a modem in one device. These combos add flexibility and are a lot cheaper in the long term. This all-in-one device works similarly to a separate modem and router, with trade-offs and benefits.

A Gigabit modem router combo is similar to standard combos but can handle a faster internet connection or local network transfer speed.

Gigabit is a measurement of data transfer speed. Gigabit internet means that data can transfer up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gb/s) or 1,000 megabits per second (Mb/s). With that high transfer speed, you could download or locally share a full HD movie in just a few minutes.

What Is a Modem and Router?

A router sends and receives data packets between your local network and the Internet. Devices like computers or phones connect to a router to obtain internet access via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi.

A cable modem is a device that communicates with your Internet service provider's equipment via a coax cable. It connects to your router via an Ethernet cable.

Best Cable Modem

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Modem Router Combo

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Combo or Separate for Gigabit Speeds?

While a modem router combo does have its benefits, it's best to get a separate gigabit modem and router. Individual devices also are easier to upgrade separately in the future and have more flexibility. There is also a more expansive selection of modems and routers compared to combos.

If you want to know more about the differences, I compare the two choices: Modem Router Combo vs. Separate Modem & Router.

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Is It Supported by Your ISP?

Gigabit modem router combos support most internet service providers (ISP), but it's always good to check the description of the product you're purchasing. It might also be good to check with your ISP to see if it's supported, although sometimes it will work even if it's not officially supported.

Ethernet Ports

Like routers, modem router combos have Ethernet ports for connecting multiple devices via an Ethernet cable. Ethernet connections are more reliable and can be faster than Wi-Fi. These ports come at different speeds, usually labeled as "Gig" or Gigabit. For example, a 4 GigE (Gigabit Ethernet) port supports up to 4 Gbps. That speed is plenty fast for most tasks.

Most modem router combos come with 4 Ethernet ports. If you want to connect more devices, then you'll need an Ethernet hub, like this one that I recommend: TP-Link TL-SG108 - 8 Port Gigabit Unmanaged Ethernet Network Switch TP-Link TL-SG108 - 8 Port Gigabit Unmanaged Ethernet Network Switch Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

For more details on which speeds each Ethernet cable type supports and our recommended cables, check out the Types of Ethernet Cables section of my Ultimate Cable Internet Wiring & Optimization Guide.

Speed & Signal

Most routers are Dual Band, meaning they have both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi signals.

2.4 GHz signals are commonly used for older devices but can be used on newer devices and support speeds of 450 Mb/s to 600 Mb/s. 2.4 GHz offers coverage at a longer range but transmits data at a slower speed.

5 GHz signals provide less coverage range but send data at faster speeds up to 1300 Mb/s.

Extra Features

Some modem router combos include an app for easily setting up the device, guest management, usage monitoring, speed testing, parental controls, network security alerts, and more. If any of these features are important to you, be sure to check if the router you're going to buy has the best features for your needs.

DOCSIS

DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) is the international data transfer standard for existing cable television systems (CATV). DOCSIS makes it possible for a cable modem to connect to the Internet by using the coax cable in your wall. Coax cables are the cables often used for cable TV.

There are multiple versions of DOCSIS available. DOCSIS 3.1 is the current standard, and DOCSIS 4.0 will be available in the future. The different versions of DOCSIS mainly determine the speed of your Internet connection coming from the coax cable. DOCSIS 3.0 is good enough for slower connections, but DOCSIS 3.1 is ideal for future-proofing performance.

The downside to getting a DOCSIS 3.0 modem is that most internet service providers (ISPs) no longer fully support it, even though it may still work. So we recommend getting a DOCSIS 3.1 modem.

DOCSIS Versions - Speed Comparison
DOCSIS VersionMax DownloadMax Upload
3.0 1 Gb/s 200 Mb/s
3.1 10 Gb/s 1-2 Gb/s
4.0 (Future) 10 Gb/s 6 Gb/s

Learn more about how internet speed can be affected by which cable modem you use in my article, Does a Modem Affect Internet Speed?.

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Best Cable Modem Router Combo: Motorola MG8702

  • Find the Motorola MG8702 on Amazon (affiliate link).

  • Comes with a smart Wi-Fi app for easy set-up, guest network management, usage monitoring, parental controls, and security alerts.

  • Works with Comcast Xfinity, Cox Communications, and Charter Spectrum.

  • DOCSIS 3.1, which allows for faster speeds and better network stability.

  • Up to 3.2 Gb/s data transfer speeds.

  • USB 3.0 port for shared network storage. Motorola MG8702 Motorola MG8702 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Runner-Up Cable Modem Router Combo: Netgear Nighthawk C7000

  • Find the Netgear Nighthawk C7000 on Amazon (affiliate link).

  • Works with Comcast Xfinity, Cox Communications, and Charter Spectrum.

  • Get up to 1800 sq ft of wireless coverage.

  • Connect up to 30 devices with speeds up to 1.9 Gb/s.

  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

  • 2 USB ports for connecting printers, storage drives, or other devices to your network.

  • Only supports DOCSIS 3.0, which may not be supported as long. Netgear Nighthawk C7000 Netgear Nighthawk C7000 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

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Best DOCSIS 3.1 Modem: Motorola MB8611

  • Find the Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem on Amazon (affiliate link).

  • 6 Gbps max speed.

  • 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port.

  • Lightning and power surge protection.

  • Active queue management, which can reduce internet latency.

  • DOCSIS 3.1, which allows for faster speeds and better network stability.

  • Works with Comcast Xfinity, Comcast Business, Cox Communications, and Charter Spectrum.

  • It does not have a built-in wireless router.

  • It does not have telephone call capability. Motorola MB8611 Motorola MB8611 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Modem Router Combo vs. Separate Modem & Router

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Form-Factor

Modem router combos have a smaller form factor since you don't have to have two separate devices and cables going to each one and connecting each other. A modem router combo takes up less space overall compared to individual devices.

Can Be Cheaper Than Separate Devices

Individual routers can cost around the same as a modem router combo. While the upfront cost of buying a separate modem and router is more overall than combined, it can be cheaper in the long run.

You will have the flexibility to upgrade your devices separately, reducing your long-term cost. If you have a modem router combo, you'd have to replace the entire device. If you buy them individually, you can upgrade one device if any unfixable issues arise or new features you want that come out in the future. Modems can often outlive a router, so combining them can be limiting.

Set-Up

Modem router combos are the easiest to set up. Instead of two separate devices to connect, power, and run cables to and from, you'll only need to connect one device.

Modem router combo devices are generally easiest for beginners, including the set-up phase where you'll change settings, set passwords, and connect your devices.

Upgrading

Having a separate modem and router is easier to upgrade in the future because if you have both a router and modem, you can decide when to upgrade them separately. Your modem can outlive your router, so there's no need to upgrade both at once. If your router stops working, is outdated, or is no longer supported, you can buy a new router instead of both.

Router Placement

A separate router allows you to place it farther away from your modem. Individual devices will enable you to optimally position the router to receive the best Wi-Fi strength where you need it most.

A modem router combo restricts the flexibility of where you can place them. The coax cable that connects to your modem is limited and often thicker, making it hard to put across the room from the coax cable outlet.

Building Your Network

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If you want to learn more about cable internet equipment, networking, wiring, or troubleshooting, check out these articles:

Learn More About Modem Router Combos

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If you want to learn more about modem router combos, check out these articles: