Internet access has been declared a fundamental utility in different countries. It is essential for freedom of speech, education, healthcare, and healthy democracies. There are some devices needed for the provision of the internet in the homes and offices; the devices that go unappreciated is the router and modem.
There are different brands, speeds, ranges, and other properties of router/ modems. One of the main properties that people always seek answers for is, “what are the pros and cons of modem-router combo?’
What is a modem-router combo?
Are routers and modems the same thing? To answer this simply, No! We will explore the differences between a modem and a router and also look at the combination of both in one gadget.
For some service providers, a modem/ router combo is called a gateway. The device gives you both a connection to the internet and a Wi-Fi connection.
The combo is thus a device that will give you both the modem features and the router features discussed below.
What is the best modem/ router combo (gateway)?
We did some tests on some of the combos and combined our reviews with those on the major e-commerce sites. These are our best modem/router combos:
|Property/ Strength||Best modem router Combo||Bands & Speed||Check it out on Amazon|
|Best modem/ router combo||Netgear Orbi CBK40 Built-in-Modem||Tri-band (Up to 2.2Gbps)||BUY NOW|
|Best modem/ router for up to 400Mbps internet speeds||Asus CM-32 AC2600 Combo modem||Dual band (Up to 1.3 Gbps)||BUY NOW|
|Best modem/ router combo for 1Gbps internet speeds||Netgear Nighthawk C7800 Modem/ Router Combo||Dual band (Up to 2000Mbps)||BUY NOW|
|Best budget modem/ router combo||Arris Surfboard SBG10 Cable modem||Dual band (Up to 300Mbps)||BUY NOW|
|Best design/ compact combo||Motorola MG7700 Cable modem combo||Dual band (up to 1000Mbps)||BUY NOW|
Netgear Orbi CBK40 Modem Router Combo (The best modem router combo 2020)
This device has consistently shown reliability, speed, and innovative technology for security and coverage. Netgear Orbi CBK40 combo has a built-in DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem in an excellent router. It is one of the best modem combos for Comcast(Xfinity), Spectrum, Cox, and other ISPs.
The device is able to cover a large home or office because of the extender. It covers space of up to 4000 square feet. This is because of the mesh technology where you can add a satellite whenever needed. Thus it eliminates all the dead spots in your home.
Because of the Tri-band technology, the device is able to provide fast internet to all devices. This is because the device is able to move devices to the faster band wherever you are in the house.
The device also comes with increased security and parental controls. Circle Smart Parental Controls helps to limit what the children are watching and also making sure dinner time or sleeping time is free from devices to use. The Netgear AmorTM security ensures there is no virus infection and protects data from theft or deletion.
Netgear Orbi CBK40 works with Alexa and Google Assistant. This enables you to be able to use voice commands for Wi-Fi function controls in your home or office.
Finally, this device is easy to set up with the Orbi app. The app also helps to manage the Wi-Fi and even test the Wi-Fi speeds after setup. So what are the pros and cons of the Netgear Orbi CBK40 modem router combo?
What are the advantages of Netgear Orbi CBK40?
- The device offers seamless internet connectivity through the Mesh Wi-Fi network. The mesh enables the internet to cover up to 4,000 square feet thus leading to no dead spots.
- The device offers fast internet of up to 2.2Gbps. Through the Tri-band technology, the internet speeds are maintained at fast speeds in all devices in all areas of the house Wi-Fi network.
- Netgear Orbi CBK40 is very easy to set up and manage. This is easily done using the Orbi app.
- This combo device comes with improved security and parental control.
- It works with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands within the network.
- It is also beautiful to have in your house or office.
What are the cons for Netgear Orbi CBK40?
- This device being a combo device will be hard to replace or upgrade when needed.
Netgear Nighthawk C7800 Modem/ Router Combo (Best modem/ router combo for speeds of 1G)
This is the device to take your network performance to the next level. Netgear Nighthawk C7800 is a marvel at the speeds of the internet it can provide.
The device comes with a built-in DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem and 32X8 channel bonding. This is the latest technology to support the high broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps for downloads.
These broadband speeds were previously the domain of fiber connections. For this reason, Netgear Nighthawk C7800 works with all the cable providers such as Comcast, COX, and Spectrum (with some problems) among others.
This device can deliver excellent Wi-Fi speeds to a range of up to 3,000 square feet because of the amplified antennas and beamforming technology. This is the size of most of our homes.
This is done while delivering AC3200 Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3,200Mbps. The speeds are delivered as 1Gbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2.2Gbps on the 5GHZ range.
For people with devices that work best with Ethernet, the Netgear Nighthawk C7800 has 4 Gigabit LAN ports. This makes devices like PCs or gaming consoles fast to work with. In addition, it has 2, high-speed USB 3.0 ports to ensure that you can connect other devices for storage and printing among other devices.
Netgear Nighthawk C7800 also comes with a built-in Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) support. These standards and guidelines help in communication and sharing media files with other DNLA products connected to your network. The devices include smart TVs, Blu-ray Disc Players, Home theater receivers, and games consoles among others.
The device is easy to setup. The setup will only take less than 5 minutes whereafter connection to the coax cable, you can either call the cable provider to activate or use an on-screen setup on your computer when the device is connected via the Ethernet cable.
It also has safety and security features, and parental controls. So what are the pros and cons of the Netgear Nighthawk C7800 modem router combo?
What are the pros for Netgear Nighthawk C7800?
- The device comes with a built-in DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem. This helps to get the fastest broadband internet speeds of up to 1Gbps. This is unlike all other DOCSIS 3.0 devices which ISPs will give you up to 600Mbps internet speeds.
- The device is certified as compatible by Xfinity by Comcast and COX. This way you are sure that you will get excellent specifications when using the device with these providers.
- The product is easy to setup
- Netgear Nighthawk C7800 can provide excellent internet speeds to up to 45 devices. This works perfectly well with the current smart home devices such as locks, phones, TVs, thermostats among other devices.
What are the cons for Netgear Nighthawk C7800?
- The device customers reported problems with using the COX or Spectrum networks.
The Asus CM-32 AC2600 Combo Modem features can be read here. We will give the highlights of this combo modem:
- It has a built-in DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem with 32X8 channel bonding to ensure you get full bandwidth when combined with the WiFi AC2600 router.
- The device therefore can support speeds of up to 1.3Gbps although most of the ISPs recommend it for an internet tier plan of up to 400Mbps.
- The device also has 4 antennas that enable it to transmit the internet for a long range with the utmost sensitivity.
- It also has 4 Ethernet ports and 2 USB ports to ensure connectivity through the Ethernet cable is seamless while also giving you an opportunity to connect to the printers and storage devices.
- It is IPV6 enabled.
- Setup for Asus CM-32 AC2600 Combo Modem is just a breeze.
What are the reasons for not buying for this device?
- Asus CM-32 AC2600 Combo Modem has a problem with updating the Firmware. This means that the device can occasionally stop working due to bugs.
- The company does not offer live chat support. This means any queries have to be done via email thus taking the time.
- It does reset once in a while thus disconnecting the smart devices at home.
Motorola MG7700 Cable Modem/ Router Combo (best aesthetic/ compact modem)
This compact device combines both a fast DOCSIS3.0 24X8 channel bonding cable modem with an AC1900 Dual-band router for fast internet. Because of its compact and aesthetic value, the device can easily sit on your shelf.
Motorola MG7700 Modem/ Router Combo has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect the devices which work better with an Ethernet connection. These devices may include personal computers, printers, laptops, gaming consoles among other devices.
The device provides Wi-Fi supported by power boost Wi-Fi amplifiers with beamforming technology. This ensures that it can provide Wi-Fi signals for a long-range. The device can provide internet speeds of up to 1000Mbps. However, it is recommended for internet tiers of up to 600Mbps.
Because of the compact nature, Motorola MG7700 Modem/ Router Combo minimizes the space taken on your shelf. It also improves the cooling of the device.
It also comes with a 2-year warranty, to assure you that the device will work for you.
Arris Surfboard SBG10 Cable modem
The Arris Surfboard SBG10 Cable modem combines a dual-band router with a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem to give you internet connections you can rely on. One of the reasons for you to get this router is its compatibility with major US cable internet service providers. In this regard, it is compatible with Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity among other cable providers.
It is good for most homes because it can connect you to fast Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection for ISP plans of up to 300Mbps. This indicates that it is compatible with ISP tiers what most Americans subscribe to.
It is easy to set up using the SURFboard manager app. The app will help you to set up the connection in addition to managing your internet.
- It is very compact meaning it does not occupy much space
- Arris surfboard SBG10 is compatible with the common internet service providers
- It can support internet plans of up to 300Mbps meaning it can cover most of the American homes subscriptions
- This device comes at a good price thus meaning you can cut off the ISP rental for your modem easily
- It has only 2 Ethernet ports thus can not comfortably cover all devices for people with many wired devices.
What is a modem/ what does a modem do?
A modem only connects a single device to the internet. This device helps to bring the internet to your home using a public IP address. In most cases, the modem is connected to a coax cable from an internet service provider (ISP) to provide internet.
The modem thus picks the ISP signals and changes them to signals that the wide-area network (WAN) devices in your home can use. It also picks signals from your devices and translates them to signals that the ISP can transmit.
There are several brands of modems that can be used for different internet speeds. To choose a modem, you have to consider the following:
- The internet speed plans that you have subscribed for: There are several modems in the market. The different modems work best at different internet speeds. Different ISPs give a list of recommended modems for different speeds. The service providers include Spectrum (Charter), Xfinity(Comcast) Consolidated communications, CenturyLink, AT&T, and Cable one among others.
Internet speeds depend on the DOCSIS, Channels, and other specifications of the modem.
- The ISP compatibility: The different ISP give different lists of recommended products also depending on the compatibility. Before picking any modem it is good to check if it is compatible with your ISP.
- Security of your data and parental control: There are several hackers, viruses, and malware that are available on the internet today. To get a modem that will protect your data should be one of the highest priorities. Different modems provide different levels of protection. In addition, parental control of the materials being observed by your children should also be a high priority.
- The design: There are different modems with different designs. For aesthetic and space considerations, it is good to check the modem design.
- Do you want a modem-router combo or separate: There are several pros and cons of a modem-router combo. We will discuss these below.
What is a router/ what does a router do?
It is a device that connects your devices to the modem and to each other. The router thus connects the modem to internet-enabled devices such as laptops, televisions, printers, phones, tablets, and other smart devices.
A router assigns a local IP address to all the devices on the LAN. This enables the router to sort out the information and lead it to the required device.
The router uses either an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi signals to connect your devices to the internet. This means that the router creates a local area network (LAN) within your space. This enables data sharing with other devices in the house like a printer, the router, or other devices.
The router can sort all the information that is transmitted within your devices and lead them to the intended destination. This is important if, for example, you need to print a document from your laptop in a printer located in your house/ office.
In some cases, you do not need a modem for the router to work. The LAN can connect all the devices in the cycle. This way you can send information from one device to another without the use of the internet.
A good router is supposed to create a firewall to prevent your information from being stolen, destroyed, or altered. The firewall thus prevents most of the security breaches in your network. Most of the routers available in the market today are also able to handle parental controls.
A guide on how to choose a router:
- Your internet service providers: There are some routers that are not recommended for some ISP networks. It is always important to find out if the device is recommended or certified for an ISP.
- Internet speeds available: Different routers provide different levels of internet speeds in your home. Therefore, before buying a router, check the speed of the internet that the device is recommended for.
- Range of coverage: A router is able to provide the internet via Ethernet cable and Wi-Fi. For Wi-Fi coverage, it is good to check the area that the router will cover with Wi-Fi signals. Some people will thus choose a mesh network or other long-range routers.
- The number of devices: Different routers connect to a number of devices on Wi-Fi either through Ethernet ports or through Wi-Fi. Our digital homes and offices currently have so many smart devices. Therefore, it is great for you to check the number of devices that a router can support before buying it.
- The number of Ethernet ports: Some of the devices available at home can only be connected to the internet via the Ethernet ports. These may include printers, older PCs, and other devices. If you have several of these devices, it is also good to consider the number of these ports thus getting the best-wired router for your home or office.
- Buying a modem/ router combo: If you have no modem in your house, you may consider buying a combo. But what are the pros and cons of a modem/ router combo?
- Price: The price of different routers varies depending on the other factors. The price should be the last thing to consider when buying a router since there is some variety to choose from.
What are the pros and cons of modem router combo?
There are several reasons for you to use separate modems and routers or a combo. The tables below explain the pros and cons of a modem/ router combo and separate devices.
The following are the advantages of gateway and separate modem and router:
|Pros for modem/ router Combo (gateway)||Advantages of separate modem and router|
|It takes less room since it is one device||They provide less features than separate devices|
|It requires one power outlet and has fewer wires||They are easier to replace or upgrade. If the router breaks down, you can replace it and still have the modem intact.|
|It is easy to set up because it is just one device||It gives you an option of having the latest and innovative technologies: Options for better options in routers like the mesh technology|
|Some of the gateways like Comcast provide additional features on the combo||There is flexibility in cost because you have different choices in the market|
Cons for separate or gateway (modem/router combo)
|Modem/ router Combo (gateway) Cons||Disadvantages of separate modem and router|
|It is rigid and risky. In case of breakdown of any part you have to replace the whole device||To connect you require several wires and power outlets. This is because you connect two or more devices|
|The router section of the combo is always lacking/ technologically not the best||It is harder to setup as compared to the combo|
|It is hard to upgrade one part of the combo since they are all combined||They take more space in the house since they are two devices|
There are some advanced modem/ router combo boxes available in the market today. The devices made by the networking vendors provide more features than the combo boxes provided by the internet service providers.
Getting your own advanced modem/ router combo will also save you the rental fees and give you more features.
The technology reviewer recommends that you buy a separate modem and router. This helps in upgrades, replacement, and internet speeds. However, in the article, we have explored some of the best modem/ router combos that will give you the best internet service.