Best Modem for Gaming in 2021
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Table of Contents
When it comes to networking, things get a little complex, especially if you throw gaming into the mix. There are a bunch of technical terms that can be confusing and can leave you a bit perplexed as to what products to buy to make your system lag free, ensuring there’s no jitters in the heat of battle.
One specific area in which people fall down is modems and in this article, we aim to make that as simple as possible for you with a full list of gaming modems as well as providing you with the definitive answer to what is the best modem for gaming.
How We Choose
When curating the best gaming modems we looked at a number of different aspects in an effort to not only bring you the top selections, but also something for everyone so no matter what your gaming setup is.
We looked at areas such as speed capacity, ISP compatibility, and DOCSIS version as we believe that these aspects make for a well-rounded gaming modem and will provide you with the best overall experience once hooked up.
Best Modem for Gaming
Best Modem Router Combo for Gaming
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800
First up we’ve got the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800. This is a networking device that has multiple purposes, not only providing you with everything you need in the modem aspect, but also allowing for WiFi functionality too through it’s secondary router nature.
Without even looking at the specs, right off the bat you know you’re getting quality thanks to the NETGEAR brand who have been around for years and years, creating the top networking devices. With its Nighthawk branch though, they’ve gone full force into gaming and giving you gamers the essential tools to make your connection as stable as possible while maxing out speeds.
In terms of those specs though, it really does shine. Initially looking at the speeds, it supports plans of up to 2Gbps which is probably far and above what you’re currently paying for, ensuring that you’ll be fully utilizing what’s going through those cables. What this also means is that the C7800 is certainly a futureproof modem for gaming and will keep you going until tech in the home reaches the next stage.
Looking at that router portion of the Nighthawk, we can see that the stellar specs don’t stop. You can reach speeds of up to 3200Mbps over WiFi and coverage of up to 3000 sq. ft. which is pretty impressive considering that it’s packed in alongside the modem. If you’re more of a wired fan though, there’s 4 Gigabit ports which can be taken full advantage of if your gaming setup is close by.
For compatibility, you can rest easy with all cable providers being supported. This includes the likes of Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum which is ideal and making it likely you won’t need to change ISPs.
Best Modem for Gaming
NETGEAR Nighthawk CM1200
If the first NETGEAR Nighthawk didn’t take your fancy, what about another variant? Well, the CM1200 is just that offering up a slightly different approach by dropping wireless functionality and focusing on just the modem aspect.
You can take advantage of the up to 2Gbps support which again, is probably more than you’ve got going into your home at this current time but it’s always nice to know you’re good for a few years.If you do want a faster option, NETGEAR do manufacture a 2.5Gbps option if you’re that way inclined. There’s also 4 gigabit ports on the back of the modem as well as DOCSIS 3.1 which is ideal.
Setup of the Nighthawk CM1200 is extremely easy with a simple plug and play into your router for fast access to your internet. You can be up and running in 5 minutes thanks to the intuitive technology making it a pretty pain-free process.
In terms of compatibility, you’re looking at the same list of providers as the previous Nighthawk supporting companies like Cox and Spectrum so you should be all fine with the big cable providers.
Best High Speed Modem for Gaming
Taking a break from NETGEAR, here’s a brand that might find surprising when considering the best modem for gaming – Motorola.
If you were surprised by Motorola making the cut, you’ll be even more surprised to hear that the max speeds you can get from the MB8600 are 6Gbps which is pretty eye-watering considering we’re only just at the 1Gbps stage in our homes. This makes it the most futureproof gaming modem for this aspect and an attractive choice for those who don’t want to be replacing it in a couple of years.
A great feature that’s perfect for gaming is Active Queue Management (AQM) in which reduces Internet latency on both DOCSIS 3.1 and 3.0 services. This tries to provide you with a lower overall ping and remove any time difference between your button presses and what your online character is doing.
As you would expect from a gaming modem of this calibre, it is compatible with all the leading cable providers and is simply plug and play. If you want to hook up a router for wireless functionality simply slot in an ethernet cable into one of the gigabit ports and away you go.
The Motorola MB8600 really is a great choice when looking at the best modems for gaming; it boasts an insane max speed and is approved by providers offering gigabit connections.
Bes Mid Range Modem Router Combo for Gaming
A brand that’s huge in PC gaming and the industry as a whole is ASUS and while you might traditionally be looking at their more popular products like monitors, they actually manufacture a solid gaming modem that more than deserves a spot on this list.
The CM-32 boasts up to 2.4Gbps speeds which again is faster than that of the Nighthawk variants we spoke of earlier coupled with the usual gigabit ethernet ports and two USB slot. However, the ASUS is limited to DOCSIS 3.0 and lacks the 3.1 where the NETGEAR options prevail.
As alluded to in the name, it is in fact a modem router combo providing you with that router functionality and removing the need to go out and buy a separate device. There’s also dual channels built into the WiFi function which is great, especially if you want your gaming setup to be on a totally different wireless channel.
Best Budget Modem Router Combo for Gaming
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000
Finally, we’ve mentioned two NETGEAR Nighthawks already but why not throw in another to round it off.
The C7000 is almost like the baby brother of the C1200 both in terms of price and the speeds you can expect it to max out at. You’re looking at a limit of 400Mbps which is a lot lower than all of the other options we’ve listed but with the average household not even receiving a gigabit line at this point, a 400Mbps limit might be just right for you. It does have gigabit ports on the back of this device despite the 400Mbps limit which is a nice addition and one that can be taken advantage of.
Again though, it is a modem router combo which allows for that wireless connectivity. This definitely gives it a plus and certainly a more attractive for those who are looking for more of a budget modem for gaming.
Things To Consider
Modem vs Modem Router
As shown with a couple of the above best modems for gaming, you can actually get models that offer more than just modem functionality providing you also with router capabilities. Usually, when you sign up with your ISP, you’ll get a modem and have to go out and get a router yourself so buying a device that has both in one certainly has its advantages and we’d almost always recommend it.
However, if you’ve already gone out and purchased a good router already, then it would be wasteful to now buy a modem router combo. It’s completely your choice though and when it comes to gaming, it might actually be better to revamp your whole networking setup so that you can ensure you’ll get a lag free experience.
If you’re paying for a high speed internet connection from your supplier, you want to obviously be receiving that while gaming. This means purchasing a modem that’s capable of coping with whatever internet speeds you throw at it. Nowadays, modems are actually pretty futureproof in this aspect, offering up above and beyond that of ISPs.
We’d recommend picking up a modem that’s capable of 2Gbps as this is perfect for now and still gives that bit of room for improved speeds as the tech is developed in homes.
NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800
So, we’ve reached the end of this review but what is the absolute best modem for gaming? In our opinion, the top selection is the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800 Modem Router Combo. We think it offers the best overall specs for a gaming modem while also providing that router function that others in its price range simply do not.
If you’d rather just a simple modem however, we’d probably still recommend you go down the Nighthawk route with the CM1200 as it offers up almost identical qualities of the C7800 Modem Router Combo making it an ideal choice for getting your game on.