Spectrum (Time Warner Cable, Charter, Brighthouse Networks) is one of the largest cable Internet providers. Subscribers get to choose from 5 tiers of subscription plan namely; 1G, 400 Mbps, 300 Mbps, 100 Mbps, and 60 Mbps. Unlike other cable network providers, Spectrum incorporates a network-approved modem with every plan, meaning you won’t have to pay for monthly rental. However, if you need a Wi-Fi and router, you need to rent at a cost upward of $5 per month. The only way to escape this Wi-Fi router cost is to buy your own.
Also, you cannot always trust that Spectrum will deliver the best modems at your door. Buying your own modem allows you to choose exactly what you want. Gladly, there is a large list of Spectrum-approved modems. However, this large list can give you a headache when it is time for you to choose from. We have trimmed that list down into the best modems for Spectrum—and you will see the reason why we picked each product.
Review of the Best Modem for Spectrum
If you need a voice network modem that is compatible with Spectrum, you must hire. This is because all the voice modems approved by Spectrum are not sold commercially. It is important to note that this information is only for home users. Commercial users need Spectrum-issued modems. Without further waste of time, let us take a look at the best modems for the spectrum.
Arris Surfboard SBG6900-AC – Best overall
Why rent a Wi-Fi router at a monthly cost when you can get a modem with a Wi-Fi router? Arris Surfboard SBG6900-AC is arguably one of the best Spectrum approved modems. This DOCSIS 3.0 modem is best suited for Spectrum’s 300 Mbps tier. This cable modem comes with an AC1900 Wi-Fi router and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, giving you a versatile wired and wireless connection to your favorite devices.
Arris Surfboard SBG6900-AC offers 16×4 bonding channels and the speed of the modem can reach 686 Mbps.it supports IPv4 and IPv6 which are the latest standards. The Wi-Fi makes use of beamforming technology to further boost range and performance. US customers that choose this modem router combo will also get 2-year warranty.
The inclusion of 2 USB ports in Arris Surfboard SBG6900-AC means you can easily share files in your hard drive across the network. This product has its subtle flaws. For example, it lacks Arris secure home internet by McAfee which is available in the latter version. Also, this modem router combo costs a fortune which may make it out of reach for budget buyers. However, it pays for its cost overtime.
- Combines DOCSIS 3.0 modem and AC1900 Wi-Fi router
- Comes with 2-year manufacturer warranty
- Beamforming technology boost range
- Includes 2 USB ports and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Lacks advanced Wi-Fi security
NETGEAR CM1200 – Fastest modem for Spectrum
Spectrum’s fastest subscription plan is the 1G tier. To match this speed, you need a fast modem that is compatible with Spectrum. NETGEAR CM1200 is one of the fastest in this category. This DOCSIS 3.1 is built for ultimate speed and most suitable for subscription plans of up to 2 Gigabits speed. It is engineered with 32×8 channel bonding as well as OFDM 2×2. More download and upload channels allow for more speed and fewer lags.
NETGEAR CM1200 gives you a broad connection option with four 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports. These ports support link aggregation. What this means is that you can pair two of the 1G ports to give a 2G port for faster wired Ethernet speed. This modem is compatible with most able networks. This should come in handy if you ever decide to change your ISP. Interestingly, setup and activation will only take about 5 minutes.
Unfortunately, NETGEAR CM1200 doesn’t come with a built-in router. If you need a wireless network, you need to purchase a router separately. In addition to incurring extra cost, it also takes up more shelf space. Thankfully, it is compatible with all routers. The high price of this modem can be a huge limitation too. Nonetheless, you can’t take away its superfast speed.
- Engineered with 32×8 channel bonding and OFDM 2×2
- Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Supports link aggregation
- Built on the DOCSIS 3.1 modem technology
- Lacks a Wi-Fi router
Linksys CG7500 – Best modem router combo for Spectrum
Linksys CG7500 stands out among other modem router combos approved for Spectrum. Firstly, the design is innovative and aesthetically appealing and will add a little beauty to your shelf. Also, it combines DOCSIS 3.0 modem with AC1900 Wi-Fi router. Inasmuch as it is most suitable for the 300 Mbps subscription tier, the Wi-Fi speed can reach 1.9 Gbps.
It is equipped with four Gigabit Ethernet ports which gives you a broad connection possibilities. The wired connections is up to 10x faster than the standard Ethernet. The Wi-Fi router makes use of dual band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) allowing you to prioritize your connection. This modem comes with 24 download channels and 8 upload channels for maximum efficiency and reduction of congestion.
Linksys CG7500 makes use of the Intel Puma 6 chipset. Inasmuch as it has been taunted as by the manufacturer as delivering cutting-edge data service, it has been problematic. Also, the price can be a turn off for those on a slim budget. However, it is rare to find a modem router combo in this category with 4 Ethernet ports which is what separates Linksys CG7500 form others.
- Combines DOCSIS 3.0 modem with AC1900 Wi-Fi router
- Up to 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Comes with 24×8 bonding channel
- Attractive design
- Puma 6 chipset is problematic
Motorola MG7700 – Best Wi-Fi modem for Spectrum
If you are searching for the best Wi-Fi modem for Spectrum, you need to pay attention to the security infrastructure. Motorola MG7700 has an inbuilt high-speed router with AC1900 3×3 dual-band and wireless power boost for improved speed and range. It makes use of AnyBeam Wi-Fi beamforming on its dual frequencies. Furthermore, it makes use of a Broadcom cable modem chipset for security from denial of service attacks. The combination of these features makes it one of the safest Wi-Fi modems.
Apart from its robust security architecture, Motorola MG7700 comes with a number of cool features that like 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports that allows you to connect more of your favorite devices at once. The vertical porous design minimize shelf space as well as improve cooling. To further preserve the integrity of this DOCSIS 3.0 modem, Motorola equips it with lightning and power surge circuit.
Motorola MG7700 comes with 24×8 channel bonding for better speed. Thus it can reach a download speed of 1000 Mbps and support a service speed of up to 650 Mbps. One of the major issues with this product is the high price. This can limit to a certain class of users. Also, a USB port is a valuable feature that is missing in this device. Nonetheless, if your focus is on Wi-Fi security, none of the limitations should matter.
- Combines DOCSIS 3.0 modem with AC1900 3×3 dual band router
- Beamforming and power boost Wi-Fi technology
- Use Broadcom cable modem chipset for security
- Comes with 24×8 channel bonding
- Lightning and power surge circuit
- USB port is absent
NETGEAR N450 – Spectrum approved cable modem
There are a number of modems that have been approved by Spectrum because they meet their minimum network requirements. However, the modems in this category are not grouped into any network tier. One of the best among these ungrouped modems is the NETGEAR N450. This device combines DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem with a Wi-Fi router. In addition to this, you will get 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports.
These features allow you to connect multiple devices at the same time. The inclusion of USB allows you to transfer your hard disc files across devices connected on the network. One thing you have to note is that the Wi-Fi makes use of a single band (2.4 GHz). This modem makes use of 8×4 channel bonding with a speed of up to 340 Mbps. To improve the performance of this modem, it is suggested you use with N900 adapter like NETGEAR WNDA4100.
NETGEAR N450 has a built-in DOCSIS 3.0 modem which is 8x faster than the DOCSIS 2.0. The Wi-Fi range is suitable for medium to large homes. It will interest you to know that it makes use of the WPA/WPA2 wireless security. This modem is also fairly affordable which is a huge plus. However, there is a huge danger that it may be delisted from Spectrum approved modems.
- Combines DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem with Wi-Fi router
- Comes with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports
- Good Wi-Fi range
- WPA/WPA2 wireless security
- Single band Wi-Fi
- Channel bonding could be better
- Possibility of delisting from Spectrum approved modems
Arris Surfboard SB6121 – Best for tier up to 60 Mbps
Spectrum’s lowest subscription tier has a speed of 60 Mbps. One of the best modems for this category is the Arris Surfboard SB6121. It can reach a maximum download speed of 172 Mbps which makes it highly suitable for this subscription tier. The vertical design frees up shelf space. Also, the design allows the manufacturer to fit ventilators on both sides which improves cooling. Better ventilation also helps to safeguard the integrity of your device.
This DOCSIS 3.0 modem makes use of 4×4 channel bonding to ensure seamless connection and lower lags. It has five front-facing LED indicators that allows you to know the status of the modem at a glance. Arris Surfboard SB6121 is affordable therefore making it accessible to everyone. It is compatible with the IPv6 internet protocol which is the internet standard.
Arris Surfboard SB6121 has its own limitation. Firstly, the absence of a wireless router and the presence of solitary Ethernet port means you will only be limited to the use of one device at a time. The only way around this would be to buy a separate router. This will not only strain your budget but also eat up your shelf space. Arris tries to compensate this flaw with a 1-year limited warranty.
- Slightly affordable
- Five front-facing LED indicators
- Minimalistic design with good ventilation
- Comes with 1-year limited warranty
- Lacks a wireless router
- Solitary Ethernet port
NETGEAR C3000 – Best for tier up to 100 Mbps
For Spectrum’s 100 Mbps subscription tier, one of the modems that stand out is the NETGEAR C3000. It makes use of SPI and NAT firewall protection making it harder for hackers to gain entry into your network and personal files. The Wi-Fi is protected by the advanced WPA/WPA2 – PSK security. It also has a Denial of Service (DoS) attack protection. It supports IPv6.
This device combines DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem with N300 Wi-Fi router. Also, you will get 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 USB port which gives you the ability to share files over the network. The inclusion of a wireless router allows you to save up the money you should have paid to rent one from Spectrum. This DOCSIS 3.0 modem has 8 downstream and 4 upstream channels.
NETGEAR C3000 can reach a speed of 340 Mbps which makes it suitable for this subscription tier. With the NETGEAR Genie App, you will be able to manage your network from anywhere. Inasmuch as this wireless router is affordable, its router has a limited coverage and most suitable for very small to medium properties. Choosing this modem router should be an easy choice.
- Makes use of SPI and NAT firewall protection
- Denial of Service (DoS) attack protection
- Comes with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 USB port
- Manage network with NETGEAR Genie App
- Channel bonding can be better
- Wireless router has limited coverage
TP-Link CR700 – Best for tier up to 300 Mbps
The first thing that will catch your interest with the TP-Link CR700 is the unique slim design. However, beyond the fancy design lies six internal antennas and high powered amplifiers that boost signal strength and lower interference. It makes use of beamforming technology to improve range and performance. This DOCSIS 3.0 modem has 16 downstream and 4 upstream channel bonding.
In terms of speed, this modem can reach a 680 Mbps download speed. However, the Wi-Fi speed can reach 1750 Mbps. It makes use of dual band Wi-Fi. The 2.4 GHz band can reach 450 Mbps while the 5 GHz band can reach 1300 Mbps. In addition to this, you will get 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB ports. This gives you a broad wired and wireless connection possibility.
Spectrum allows you to activate this modem using self-activation wizard on their website. Another obvious plus to this device is its broad acceptance among different ISPs. If you ever want to switch your provider, you can easily move along with it. TP-Link CR700 is also fairly affordable. The major complain among users has been frequent loss of connection. Nevertheless, it is a great bargain.
- Six internal antennas and amplifiers
- Beamforming technology to improve range
- Comes with4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB
- Self-activation wizard is possible
- Frequent loss of network
- Security can be an issue
Arris Surfboard SBG7400AC2 – Best for tier up to 400 Mbps
Among all the best modem router combo for Spectrum approved for the 400 Mbps subscription tier, Arris Surfboard SBG7400AC2 will easily catch your attention. It combines DOCSIS 3.0 modem with AC2350 dual-band Wi-Fi. If you prefer a wired connection, it will interest you to know that this modem has 4 Gigabit router. In addition, you will get 1 USB port which allows you to share your files across the network.
You can easily setup and manage your network using the Surfboard Manager app. Arris Surfboard SBG7400AC2 has 24 downstream and 8 upstream channels. You can surf with higher peace of mind, thanks to the McAfee secure home internet. It is suitable for subscription plans of up to 600 Mbps. However, its download speed can reach 1900 Mbps. Thus, you can count on it for 4K streaming.
Like all the other products on this series, you will get full tech support when you get this product. The only potential problem with this device is the price. Although it pays for the cost overtime, not everyone will feel confident enough to splash over $100 on a modem. Also, the range is questionable particularly with the absence of beamforming technology. Nevertheless, it stands out in all ramification.
- Combines DOCSIS 3.0 modem with AC2350 dual band Wi-Fi
- Comes with 4 Gigabit router and 1 USB port
- Integrated McAfee secure home internet
- Great channel bonding
- Range is questionable
NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1100 – Best for tier up to 1G
The fastest 1G subscription tier from Spectrum requires DOCSIS 3.1 modem to be able to handle the speed. NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1100 has this and a lot more that will catch your attention. The vertical design conserves shelf space as well as allows for the introduction of better ventilation. Improved ventilation helps the modem to keep functioning at optimal without damage from overheating.
NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1100 offer 32 downstream and 8 upstream channels giving you maximum speed with minimal chances of network drop-offs. In addition to this you will get 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports which support link aggregation. What this means is that you can merge the two 1-Gigabit ports to deliver 2Gbps speed. This modem is backward compatible with the previous DOCSIS standards.
NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1100 does not come with built-in router. Therefore, if you need a wireless network, you will need to buy a wireless router separately. The absence of a USB port is a major limitation too. This modem comes at a slightly high price which may not be easily affordable by many. For those that can, NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1100 was built with future upgrades in mind.
- Supports link aggregation
- Vertical design with improved ventilation
- Excellent channel bonding
- Lacks wireless router
Buying Guide for the Best Modem for Spectrum
When you buy a modem, you’ll know exactly how old it is. This is not the same with Spectrum delivering a modem at your doorstep. Apart from the 10 modems on our list, there are so many others approved by Spectrum. If you want to embark on your own research, that’s fine. However, there are a number of features that you need to pay attention to.
Buying a modem that is not compatible with Spectrum will amount to a total waste of money. You will run into activation problems. Therefore, it is important to go through Spectrum’s website to see if your target modem is approved. Also, Spectrum has a list of minimally approved modems. Inasmuch as they are still compatible with the network, buying a modem under this category is strongly discouraged because they can be delisted from the approved list at any time.
Spectrum has 5 tier subscription and each of the tiers has their maximum speed. You have to make sure that the modem you need to buy fits into your subscription tier. For example, buying a modem with a maximum speed of 600 Mbps for a 1G subscription tier will be counterproductive. In fact, you will need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem for the 1GB subscription tier. In the same way, a DOCSIS 3.1 modem will not make your speed faster if you are on the 60 Mbps tier.
Modem Router Combo
Some reviewers strongly discourage people from investing in modem router combo. The reason is because they are mostly not upgradable. However, when you look from another perspective you will discover that a modem router combo will not only help you to cut down cost but also free up space on your shelf.
The best internet modem for spectrum should have more than a single Gigabit Ethernet port. This is particularly important if the modem lacks a router. The more the number of Ethernet ports, the more the number of devices you can use on it at the same time. A cable modem with up to 4 ports should be your target.
If you want to buy a modem router combo, it is important to pay attention to the signal range. Products with beamforming technology tend to cover a wider range as well as allows you to focus the wireless network on a particular device. For a seamless experience, always buy a modem router combo that can cover your entire home.
With the increasing threat from hackers, it is important to invest in a modem with good security apparatus. Choose spectrum approved cable modems with security chips that can prevent Denial of Service attacks. For Wi-Fi routers, make sure they support WPA/WPA2 encryption.
The large number of spectrum approved cable modems increases the chance that you will find one that fits into your budget. However, we would always advice that you pay lesser attention on the price and more on the other features that will affect your experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use my own modem with Spectrum?
Spectrum has a list of approved modems which you can buy. However, this ISP does not charge a monthly fee on their modems unless you need a Wi-Fi service. Therefore, it makes sense to buy a modem router combo to help you cut this cost.
- What is the best modem for Spectrum?
The best modem for spectrum will vary from one user to another for factors such as coverage, price, and subscription tier. However, one of the modems that outperforms itself is the Arris Surfboard SBG6900-AC.
- What type of modem does Spectrum use?
Spectrum makes use of a wide range of modems. You can find the exhaustive list of all spectrum approved modems when you visit their page. Bear in mind that if you need a voice service, you must rent a modem from spectrum.
- What equipment do I need for spectrum Internet?
Spectrum Self-install Kit has all the requirements for setting up and running your new internet services. The equipment you will need include modem, Wi-Fi router, Ethernet cable, coaxial cable, and power cable.
- What router can I use with Spectrum?
For standalone modems, you will need a router to convert the cable signal to wireless signal for mobile devices. Spectrum approved modems are usually compatible with all types of routers.
When you choose to buy your own modem, you lose the privilege of calling Spectrum to send over a technical support. You now have to deal with your own problems as well as offsetting the bill that comes with any maintenance. However, when properly setup, a new modem should be able to last for years (at least three years) before needing maintenance. In this number of years, you should have saved up rental fees that would be enough to buy two or three other modems. Spending such a huge amount on owning your own modem might seem like a lot at first but it pays the cost overtime.