Imagine this… you’re right in the middle of your gameplay, fingers flying over the keyboard, eyes glued to the screen, and just as you’re about to beat your opponent, the visuals start to lag, and you see that dreaded buffer… then the connection drops. ‘Frustrating’ is an understatement.
The solution? Get the best modem for gaming. This will allow you to enjoy a reliable connection, unrivaled convenience, and split-second download speeds, and will eliminate your worry about lost connections and lags.
If you want to find the perfect gaming modem, read on further.
The Best Modems for Gaming: Ranked and Reviewed
We took the time to research, curate, and rank the most promising gaming modems available on the market today, taking into account essential factors like specs and value for price. Below, you’ll see a detailed review of the best gaming modems in 2021.
Our top pick for the best modem for streaming is the TP-Link TC-7610, which brings a wide array of exciting features to the table. This modem makes use of high-speed fiber-optic internet that can handle download speeds of 343 Mbps and upload speeds of 143 Mbps.
In other words, aside from being a budget-friendly option, it’s also much faster than your standard DSL modem. As a matter of fact, even if it sometimes can’t reach optimum speeds (which is a common issue among fiber-optic modems), you’re still getting considerably faster internet connections than you would from a DSL modem.
This highly rated modem boasts of a channel bonding feature that increases your bandwidth speeds while also forming exceptional thruway bandwidths by combining channels. This channel bonding significantly increases internet speed, even in high-congestion areas.
- Guaranteed high speeds
- Suitable for congested areas
- Enhanced security features
- 2-year warranty included
- Free 24/7 customer support
NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200
Vying for second place is the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200, which is one of the most reliable gaming modems on the market, and is guaranteed to work with just about any internet provider. With the Nighthawk CM1200, you can work and play worry-free, knowing that it can handle any task you throw its way.
This impressive equipment features an aesthetically slick design that isn’t too flamboyant or attention-seeking, but looks elegantly beautiful nonetheless so that it can add a nice touch of style on your gaming desk without crowding it or weighing it down.
Its best feature lies in the way it utilizes link aggregation to give you one 2G port through the intelligent combination of two 1G ports. What this means is that your gaming console or desktop PC is always sure to get an insanely fast and stable internet connection.
- Channel bonding (32×8) + OFDM (2×2)
- Best-in-class DOCSIS 3.1 technology
- Supremely quick wired ethernet speeds
- Supports internet-standard IPv6
- 4 gb ethernet ports
ARRIS SURFboard SB6190
Also considered by many as the best cable modem for gaming is the ARRIS SURFboard SB6190, which makes use of DOCSIS 3.0 technology. It’s a highly affordable option for a gaming cable modem that is ideal for gamers who aren’t particular with constantly upgrading to the latest gadgets.
This mid-entry level modem is reliable, cheap, and packed with all the must-have features you’re looking for in a modem for gaming. It’s also quite easy to use even if you’re new to wireless routers and cable modems, and it works on both your laptop and gaming console.
What’s even better is that even with its use of DOCSIS 3.0, you’re getting much better 40 high-speed channels with this modem, as compared to most others’ 32 high-speed. This allows you to enjoy superior 1.7 Gbps data transfer speeds. Talk about impressive!
- Wide compatibility with various providers like Xfinity and Cox
- Works for multiple devices, gaming, and streaming in UHD
- 32×8 channel bonding, supports IPv6 and IPv4
- 2-year warranty (US customers only)
Another exceptional choice from NETGEAR is the NETGEAR CM600, which is a high-speed cable modem that delivers as high as 400 Mbps of reliable internet speed with 8 upstream and 24 downstream channels- perfect for gaming, HD streaming, and so much more.
It makes use of DOCSIS 3.0 technology and is certified for use with various cable internet providers including Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Cablevision, and Spectrum. It can support up to 400 Mbps internet plans, and works with just about any Wi-Fi router.
Setting it up is easy, too, and only takes five minutes. All you have to do is plug the coax cable into this modem, then activate it either by connecting your computer to an ethernet cable and following the setup on screen, or activating the modem via phone. Finally, connect your Wi-Fi router to the modem with an ethernet cable. That’s it!
- Works with all major cable internet providers
- Max cable internet speed of 400 Mbps
- Channel bonding and DOCSIS 3.0
- Easy to install and use
Another good modem for gaming is the MOTOROLA MG7540, a well-designed piece of equipment that flaunts a smart and slim aesthetic with its chic black construction. Of course, its design isn’t the only good thing about it; you’re also getting exceptional performance.
For starters, it makes use of the latest technologies and complements these with a great set of features. We’re talking about DOCSIS 3.0, an advanced firewall, and other safety and security features to make your internet connection as strong, reliable and incorruptible as possible.
The MG7540 is ideal for small and medium setups in home and mini-office settings, and is particularly great for families with young kids, since it comes with some parental control functions to help ensure that younger users are safely participating in the online world.
- Fast and stable cable internet connection
- 16×4 channels for uploads and downloads
- Strong security feature for safe connections
- Comes with 4 ethernet ports
- Budget-friendly option
Up next is the NETGEAR CM700, which comes from a brand that also makes the best modem router for gaming and UHD streaming applications. This one’s a cable modem that is perfect for gaming since it offers crucial 32×8 channel bonding. Truth be told, it’s popular among beginner and intermediate gamers alike.
Much like the other modems on this list, the CM700 also uses DOCSIS 3.0 technology to provide high-speed internet connection with a maximum of 1.4 Gbps data transfer speed using a gigabit ethernet port. That is 32x faster than those older DOCSIS 2.0 modems!
One thing that we really like, however, is that this cable modem is compatible with all major operating systems such as Android, Apple, Linux, and Windows. It works on all devices running on TCP/IP networks, as well as all sorts of gaming consoles. Plus, you’ll also get an ethernet cable, a power adapter, and a set-up guide with the modem package.
- Wide compatibility with various internet service providers
- Ensures smooth and fast gaming and 4K UHD streaming
- Strong and reliable connection with 32×8 channel bonding
- Works for cable internet plans of up to 500 Mbps
- Easy and straightforward set-up
Asus Modem Router Combo
If you are looking for the best gaming modem router combo, check out this one from Asus, which gives you a compact 2-in-1 device that won’t crowd your gaming desk space by packing a modem and router in a single package.
Now, you may shy away from the expensive price tag, but know that this Asus gaming modem router combo can give you the best-in-class performance, quality, sensitivity, and transmission range thanks to its four Wi-Fi transmits. It even works regardless of whether your desktop PC or gaming console is directly wired up or synced to your Wi-Fi.
With dual bands featuring the latest technology in channel bonding, this modem router combo can deliver download speeds of up to 1.3 gbps. And, with its MU-MIMO technology, it’s the perfect choice for serious gamers who have multiple set-ups.
- Compatible with Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum
- Makes use of a powerful Intel processor
- Completely configured, plug-and-play set-up
- Dual built-in USB 2.0 ports
- 32×8 channel bonding
NETGEAR C7800 (Old Model)
You’ve seen what NETGEAR modems can do through our reviews earlier, so you can expect that this old model of the NETGEAR C7800 can also do a great job. You won’t be let down, either. This 2-in-1 gaming modem router combo supports WiFi speeds of up to 3.2 Gbps, perfect for playing games without any lag or buffering.
It also passes telecommunication standards when it comes to upload and download speeds, with 1 Gbps for upload, and 10 Gbps for download. And, it makes use of beamforming to cover blind spots and boost the signal.
Unfortunately, one issue is that it’s not compatible with bundled voice services such as AT&T, Verizon, and Spectrum, but even so, you get a lot of other beneficial features such as remote network monitoring, issue troubleshooting through its smartphone app, and protection against Denial-of-Service attacks.
- Ideal for 4K streaming and multiplayer games
- Suitable for use in large buildings
- 3.2 Gbps maximum Wi-Fi speed
- 2-in-1 modem powered with a dual processor
- Dual bands for minimized interference and maximized speed
Enjoy an immersive multiplayer gaming experience with the best gaming monitors in 2021.
CenturyLink Prism TV Technicolor C2100T
You might also want to check out the CenturyLink Prism TV Technicolor C2100T, which is a VDSL2 standard compliant modem that offers superiorly fast internet access that’s able to maintain a stable connection and can deliver enough bandwidth for net surfing.
With this modem, you can enjoy smoother and faster performance even with heavy multimedia usage, like when playing games and streaming video content simultaneously. It even comes with a dedicated port for gigabit ethernet WAN, which allows for one CPE on GPON and DSL networks. Meaning, it can double as a port for gigabit 5th LAN.
Furthermore, you’ll also enjoy the 802.11n technology, which, along with the 3Tx2R antennas, provide extended coverage, improved speed, and reduced dead zones. Simply put, this modem is a great choice if you want to enjoy reliable, stable, and high-speed wireless connections, especially with up to 300 Mbps data transfer rates.
- Enhanced security and robust protection
- Automatically detects network setting configurations
- Works with Prism TV, ADSL2+, ADSL, and VDSL
- Secure and simplified WLAN setup with WPS
- Great value for money
Finally, we also have the MOTOROLA MD1600, which is a highly suitable choice for those looking for non-vectoring and non-bonded VDSL and ADSL services from Fairpoint, TDS Telecom, Windstream, and Frontier.
This is yet another gaming modem router combo that is guaranteed to provide lightning-fast internet to both your ethernet and WiFi devices. The built-in router in this device comes with AC1600 wireless, WPA/WPA2 wireless security, four Gig-E ports, IPv6 and IPv4 support, VPN capability, and a firewall.
More importantly, this modem can deliver speeds as high as 100 Mbps depending on your internet service provider. It also supports media sharing (DLNA) with the use of the host USB 2.0 port for NAS. and, it’s easy to set-up and install, doesn’t take up too much space, and works on computers, smartphones, tablets, HDTVs, and game stations.
- Compatible with non-vectoring, non-bonded DSL providers
- Stable signal with 100 Mbps data transfer rate
- Friendly customer support
- 2-year warranty
How To Choose The Best Modem For Gaming
If you’re a serious gamer and dread having your gaming marathons cut short because of a poor internet connection, then you need a good modem for gaming. But in order to find the best gaming modem, you need to take into account a few important factors and essential features, such as:
ISP Support / Compatibility
First and foremost, you need to make sure that the modem you’re eyeing is compatible with your internet service provider, for the simple reason that if the modem doesn’t support the network of your ISP, it’s just going to be paperweight. The good thing is that most modems today are widely compatible with all the major ISPs, but there’s no harm in double checking.
It’s also important that your modem is compatible with your devices, including your desktop PC, the best gaming laptop under $600 you’ve ever bought, your gaming console, smart TV, and your smartphone. The best way to ensure that your modem and devices are future-ready is to get a modem that features DOCSIS 3.0 technology with 1.0 backward integration.
Your cable or wireless internet plan may promise a certain maximum internet speed, but your modem is ultimately what determines the actual data transfer speeds that you can enjoy. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Higher-end modems offer higher data transfer speeds, although interestingly enough, wireless connections are slower than their wired (ethernet) counterparts. To give you an idea, wireless connections have a transfer speed ranging from 1.7 to 2.5 Gbps, whereas with ethernet connections, you get as much as 10 Gbps.
To be fair, even with a lower speed, you can play online games without much issue.
There are different versions of DOCSIS available on today’s gaming modems, but so far, the best is DOCSIS 3.0, which allows for more data transfer channels that are high-bandwidth, which means you get higher data transfer rates.
You’re buying a new modem to guarantee a reliable internet connection, and as such, it’s only natural that you first check whether the modem you’re planning to buy is capable of giving you that stable connection so you don’t have to stand up from your comfortable gaming chair and scowl at your router every time the connection slows down, or worse, drops.
Like we mentioned earlier, wired connections are better than wireless connections. Not only do they make for faster data transfers, but also keep a consistent connection to the internet. With a Wi-Fi connection, you’re bound to experience common issues such as network interference from things like microwaves and walls, and over-congestion from too many connected devices.
Your gaming modem plays the role of being the source of your connection to the internet, but, with wireless connections becoming more and more prevalent today, modems are often built with a serious lack of ethernet ports.
This is a problem because, again, wired is better than wireless, especially for gaming. Hence, even if it’s a bit more cumbersome, try to spend the extra effort of finding a good modem for gaming that comes with sufficient ports so you can enjoy a stable and fast connection.
At the very least, two ports would be enough. This way, you can hook up your main gaming rig and a router for other devices to connect to. You’re getting a more stable connection for gaming purposes, and a convenient and accessible wireless connection for your day-to-day needs.
Modem Router Combo: Yes or No?
You may have noticed from our reviews above that some modems readily come with a router, which means the modem and router are built in a single, more compact package. Whether you want a gaming modem router combo or a stand-alone modem is up to you. Both options are equally effective, with a few key differences.
On one hand, modem and router combos are simple, cost-effective, and space-saving. These are guaranteed to work excellently since both devices are working in tandem. But, since they’re sharing the same resources and internal components, when it comes to maintenance, repairs, and upgrades, you have to deal with the whole package.
On the other hand, separate modems and routers work best for gaming purposes since you can handpick each device to meet your gaming needs. These two being separate also helps make for a better gaming performance, and you’ll be able to place the router in the best spot in your home where your family members can enjoy access equally.
The issue with buying separate modems and routers is that, one, it costs more money, and two, you might end up facing compatibility issues and deal with the hassle of installing drivers.
Watch this Youtube video on how to install a gaming modem on your home network.
Aside from the things we already discussed, there are a few other features you might want to take into account before you choose a modem unit. These include multiple USB and ethernet ports, included tools and cables, quick and easy set-up, plug-and-play usage, and so on.
Do keep in mind, however, that not all the features a gaming modem is advertised with are actually useful. In some cases, these are just gimmicks that won’t give you any improvement whatsoever in terms of performance, and are only designed to drive up prices.
Finally, don’t forget to check for the warranty of the product you’re planning to buy, as this will protect your investment over the long run. Besides, a long warranty period is also a sign of excellent build quality. The best modems for gaming will ideally come with a lifetime warranty, but as you’ve seen with our reviewed products, most only offer a 2-year warranty period.
Additionally, it’s also great if you’re buying from a brand or manufacturer that offers friendly and reliable customer support so you can get useful help when dealing with any issue that might arise while you’re using the modem.
Playing your favorite online games is only fun if you can actually play it- meaning, you have access to a reasonably fast and reliable internet connection that won’t cause frustrating issues with lags and buffers.
This is totally possible if you have the best modem for gaming. Thankfully, manufacturers have recognized the need for modems and modem router combos that are designed specifically for high-speed, demanding, and power-hungry online activities such as gaming and streaming.
So, you won’t run out of options when shopping for a gaming modem. Just make sure that you know what you need to look for, and you’re good to go. Happy gaming!