The 6 Best Gaming Modems for 2021 Reviewed
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Making use of a gaming modem that can accommodate the internet speed of the plan that you have subscribed to is a great way to avoid bottlenecks and ensure that you are really getting the best and most optimal internet connection.
In this guide and review, we will help you find the best gaming modem for your needs. To do so, we explored the wider market while considering each modem’s:
- Internet Speed Capacity
- DOCSIS & Channels
Upon finalizing our research, we had over 14 qualifying products. Then, we narrowed down our list to the best six, which we then reviewed and compared.
There are more details on each of the six modems below.
How is a Modem Different from a Router?
While the typical modem can easily be confused with a router, it’s important to note that both types of devices have their responsibilities in helping establish a strong connection to the internet in your property.
Your modem is responsible for connecting your entire home’s network to the wider internet while your router allows all wired or wireless devices connected to your internet network to talk to one another without the need of doing so over the internet.
Your internet service provider (ISP) will provide you with a single box that serves as both a router and a modem. But still, not all modems have routers and not all routers have modems in them. As a result, in order to provide an internet connection to all devices in your home, you need a good router that matches your internet speed and needs.
The sole goal of this guide and review is to provide you with a list of great gaming modems that are also worth their value for money. To create this list of modems for gaming, we conducted extensive market research. At the end of it, we had a list of 14 different modems for gaming.
We then narrowed down our selection, picking the modems that offered the highest internet speed capacity, offered the most value for money, and were as future-proof as possible.
At DiamondLobby, we always strive to make the most confident and unbiased recommendations so that you, our valuable readers, can shop with utmost confidence.
To pick the best modems for gaming, which you will see further down below, we considered each modem’s:
There are two different types of modems on the market – those that come in one with a router and those that do not. Generally speaking, it doesn’t matter whether your router and modem are separate devices or merged into a single unit. You do, however, need to have both in order to establish a successful connection to the internet.
As every gamer’s needs are different, we made sure to include a fair number of modem-only devices as well as a few great modems that come with an integrated, high-performance router for gaming.
Internet Speed Capacity
As your modem is responsible for establishing a connection between your home and your internet service provider, to make the most out of your current internet plan, it is essential that you have a modem that can handle the internet speed that you are receiving from your ISP.
With each passing day, more and more remote and central locations around the country and the world gain access to faster and faster internet – many of which have access to Gigabit internet speeds.
To satisfy the needs of every gamer, regardless of whether you have the fastest internet in the country or have settled for an affordable internet plan, we have ensured to provide you with a number of modems for gaming that have a wide range of internet speed capacity to prevent any bottlenecking in performance.
DOCSIS & Channels
Cable modem channels are seen as “downstream channels times (x) upstream channels.” As an example, 8×4, 24×8, or 32×8. On the other hand, DOCSIS is a standard that you need to keep in mind when shopping for your next modem for gaming. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the DOCSIS tier, the better performance you can expect from your modem.
In essence, the more channels your cable modem hosts, the more data your home computers and devices can quickly send and receive. In turn, this will make your gaming, streaming, and general online experience a whole lot better.
Do keep in mind that the better performing modems are generally a little bit more expensive and that you should first check your internet speed before buying a modem. You don’t want to buy an expensive modem that won’t make full use of your internet speed.
|Cable Modem & Router||Up to 6,000 Mbps||3.1|
After finalizing our market research, we concluded that the NETGEAR Orbi is the best, at least in our opinion, gaming modem. From supreme coverage to high internet speed capacity, this modem truly has it all.
The price at the time of writing was $349.99.
If you aren’t too tech-savvy but want to best performance out of your gaming modem, then this particular model is great as you can set it up within minutes using the Orbi Application. From there, you can easily manage your WiFi settings, test the speed of your internet, and monitor data usage.
One of the most notable features of the NETGEAR Orbi is that the model is compatible with any internet service provide up to 2 Gbps, including cable, satellite, fiber, and DSL. Essentially, whatever internet you have, the Orbi can be of great help.
With coverage of up to 5,000 sq. ft. and the ability to connect over 40 different devices to the network, rest assured that no matter how large your property, you will always have a stable connection to the internet. If you do happen to live on property larger than 5,000 sq. ft., then you can purchase an additional satellite, which can extend the coverage up to 2,500 sq. ft.
Thanks to the fast AX4200 Gigabit speed complemented with the WiFi 6 technology, you can enjoy uninterrupted streaming and HD video gaming. The Orbi modem features 3x Gigabit Ethernet ports on the modem itself and 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports on the satellite for getting the best possible connection regardless of where you are in the property.
As far as cybersecurity is concerned, the NETGEAR Armor powered by Bitdefender will protect your home devices from viruses, malware, and data theft thanks to the 30-day free trial. Once that runs out, you can explore the opportunity for upgrading your plan.
|Cable Modem||Up to 686 Mbps||16×4||3.0|
If you are on a tight budget or are simply not currently subscribed to the best internet plan that your service provider offers, the Linksys CM3016 should be able to provide you with everything you need on a budget.
The price at the time of writing was $59.99.
This particular product by Linkys is a cable modem (no Wi-Fi router) that is fully compatible with Comcast Xfinity, Charter, Cablevision, Cox, Time Warner Cable, and more. If your ISP is Verizon, AT&T, or CenturyLink, unfortunately, this model will not work for you.
Thanks to the featured Intel Puma 6 chipset, this modem can achieve high speed downstream and upstream performance of up to 686 Mbps, making it ideal for HD media streaming, online gaming, web surfing, and more.
The CM3016 is also capable of handling high bandwidth transfer rates over your existing cable lines with ease, thanks to the 16 download and 4 upload bonded channels and DOCSIS 3.0 standard certification.
To install the modem, all you need to do is simply plug-and-play, making the transfer from your old modem to the new one a super quick and easy process.
All in all, if you have an internet service plan that is advertised for providing you with an internet speed of up to 250 Mbps, then this modem is a great and affordable choice for you.
|Cable Modem + Router||Up to 6,000 Mbps||3.1|
The ASUS AX6000 is another high-performance gaming modem designed for now and for the future. If you have plans on upgrading your internet speeds as they gradually increase over the years, then this modem is going to be the perfect long-term solution for your needs.
The price at the time of writing was $349.99.
The ASUS AX6000 is a great cable modem plus router device that can take care of your needs, regardless of what they may be. Thanks to its high-efficiency WiFi 6 technology and 160MHz bandwidth support, you can enjoy ultra-fast speeds of up to 6,000 Mbps (802.11ax).
If you are after a LAN connection, you can use any of the four Gigabit Ethernet ports for achieving the fastest internet speeds. Do note that your router or modem will not make your internet faster. The internet plan that you have subscribed to with your ISP will have the biggest impact on your internet speed.
One of the best features of this modem is the DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which offers huge progress in download and upload speed. Whatever your internet plan is today or in 5 years, rest assured that this modem can easily be performing enough to prevent bottlenecks.
Despite its small and elegant design, this modem and router is embedded with a WiFi antenna, which makes it one of the smallest DOCSIS 3.1 WiFi 6 cable gateway on the market for modems and routers. It only measures 8.07″ (L) x 5.31″ (W) x 4.72″ (H) with a total added weight of 1.96 lbs.
Please bear in mind that this modem doesn’t support the ASUS router app or the AiMesh.
Other Great Modems for Gaming
Didn’t quite find what you were looking for? Below, you can check out three other great modems for gaming.
NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000
|Cable||Up to 2,500 Mbps||32×8||3.1|
Looking for the perfect middle ground when it comes to value for money? Check out the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000. From high internet speed capacity to featuring one of the latest DOCSIS standard certifications, this model is a great choice for any gamer looking to make the most of their current internet plan.
The price at the time of writing was $199.99.
The Nighthawk CM2000 by NETGEAR is built for providing your home with the fastest multi-gig speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps thanks to the integrated WiFi 6 technology and 32×8 channel bonding.
One great advantage of this modem is its versatile nature in regards to compatibility. The Nighthawk CM2000 is compatible with all major cable internet providers including Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity. Do note that it isn’t compatible with Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL providers, DISH, DirectTV, and any other bundled voice service.
If you want to establish the fastest possible connection, you can use the single Ethernet port on the back of the modem, which can deliver you an internet speed of up to 2.5 Gbps.
|Cable Modem + Router||Up to 1,750 Mbps||16×4||3.0|
If you don’t have the fastest internet in your area and have settled for a cheaper internet plan, then the TP-Link AC1750 would be a great addition to your network.
The price at the time of writing was $119.99.
The TP-Link is actually a cable modem with an integrated router. This modem and router is also equipped with six internal antennas and high-powered amplifiers, which are capable of boosting the strength of your signal while reducing any interferences.
It is able to operate with internet speeds of up to 1750 Mbps. The 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are capable of handling internet speeds of up to 450 Mbps and 1300 Mbps respectively. To put this into real-life perspective, this modem is great for gamers with an internet speed of up to 300 Mbps when using Infinity from Comcast, Spectrum, Cox, Sudden Link, Wow, and Mediacom.
With this modem, you can eliminate all monthly rental fees while enjoying high-definition streaming and gaming without slowing down your entire network.
Should you decide to go for this product, you can take advantage of a 2-year warranty and free 24/7 technical support should you have any trouble setting the modem and router up.
|Cable Modem||Up to 2,500 Mbps||32×8||3.1|
The Motorola MB8611 is another fantastic and relatively affordable pick that can easily meet the needs of the large majority of the gaming population.
The price at the time of writing was $169.99.
First and foremost, as this is a modem-only device, you will need to have it connected to a router in order to distribute the wireless signals throughout your property.
One of the most notable features of this modem is that it has the capacity to pair with any WiFi router seamlessly. The Motorola MB8611 can work with Comcast Xfinity, Comcast Business, Charter Spectrum, Cox Communications, and other US internet service providers.
In regards to performance, the MB8611 by Motorola is capable of meeting the demand for internet speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps via its dedicated Ethernet port, which you can find on the back of the device.
In case your internet doesn’t come close to the capacity of the MB8611, you can also go for the cheaper Motorola MB7621, which is DOCSIS 3.0 standard certified with an internet speed capacity of 1 Gbps.
How to Pick the Best Gaming Modem for You
Before you buy your next gaming modem, check out some of our shopping tips from below to gain a better insight as to what you should be looking for and avoid overspending.
Don’t Purchase a DSL or Fiber Modem if You Have Cable Internet
Avoid spending more money on DSL or fiber gaming modems if you have cable internet. They won’t make your internet faster, and in most cases, they won’t work together as cable internet requires a cable modem.
Ensure That Your Modem Is at Least DOCSIS 3.0-Compatible
DOCSIS or “Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification” is a term used to specify how quickly information can travel from your ISP to your home and back.
The most popular DOCSIS standard in today’s world is the DOCSIS 3.0. This particular standard allows up to 32 downloading channels at once, which can support internet speeds of up to 1,216 Mbps.
Most people will hardly need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem since internet plans of 10 GB aren’t widely available yet.
Go for a Modem That Supports Your Internet Speed
There is no reason why you should spend a few hundred dollars on a modem that can support 1GB download speed if your plan with your internet service provider only goes up to 100 Mbps.
In such a case, your current internet plan will severely bottleneck the modem, meaning you won’t make the most out of your expensive purchase, ultimately leading you to waste money.
Now, if you do have plans to upgrade your internet to a faster plan, then, by all means, getting a modem that matches the advertised speed of your future plan isn’t a bad idea after all.
In the end, getting a gaming modem that is capable of accommodating your internet speed can easily fix lag spikes on your PC while gaming.
Picking the Right Gaming Modem for Your Needs
Can’t make up your mind as to which gaming modem to go for? Below, we will provide you with three highly relevant scenarios for which we will recommend you the most suitable gaming modem from our selection above.
Scenario 1: You live in a big city where fast internet speeds are widely available to the public and really want to get your hands on a gaming modem plus router that won’t bottleneck your internet speeds.
In this case, we’d recommend you our best overall pick, the NETGEAR Orbi.
Scenario 2: You don’t have the fastest internet in the world, and know that buying an expensive modem won’t really make a difference to your internet speeds. As a result, you are looking for a decent gaming modem on a budget.
In this scenario, we’d recommend you our budget-friendly pick, the Linksys CM3016.
Scenario 3: You have relatively quick internet and want to get your hands on a modem that can meet the demands of your internet speeds without spending hundreds of dollars.
In this case, we’d suggest that you go for the TP-Link AC1750.
Now that you are familiar with modems and how they are different from routers, it is time for you to choose a modem that works best for you. Go for one that offers at least DOCSIS 3.0 with enough channels to support your current internet plan. We’d highly recommend that you stick to reliable and industry-leading brands such as NETGEAR, Motorola, and ARRIS. You should always avoid going for any second-hand modems.
With the right internet plan and modem, cable internet can easily compete with the ultra-fast speeds of fiber internet.