Best Gaming Modems To Buy

9 Gaming Modems to Boost Your Performance – Say Bye to Lag

The List of 9 High-Performance Gaming Modems

9 Best Modems for Gaming

Picture this: you’re one round from imminent victory in your favorite FPS’ ranked game. You tryhard and sweat as you actively communicate with your teammates via voice chat and pinpoint your enemies’ locations. And then… the unthinkable happens. Your character freezes. Not because you’re stunned or you’re dead, but because your internet just gave up on you. You then check your internet service provider’s (ISP) website and social media accounts and figure that it wasn’t on their end, it was your modem’s. Sounds familiar?

Your modem plays a huge part in your victories and wins.

After all, they are the middleman between your ISP and your PC. That is why it is essential that you invest in a modem that is consistent, top-notch, and won’t cost you your precious ranked games. In this 9 Best Modem for Gaming article, I will be guiding you through the 9 Gaming Modems I have tried and tested for months on end to help you shop and decide which gaming modem is best for your needs. Let’s begin!

5 Essential Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Gaming Modem

Looking for a gaming modem isn’t as straightforward as you think. In stark contrast to looking for a solid Internet Service Provider (ISP) where higher numbers and Megabits per second (MBPS) mean faster speeds, modems have various factors and specs that all play a part in keeping your internet speeds consistent and high.

Let’s now explore these factors one by one and figure out which ones are the most important for gamers like you.

1. Speed Compatibility and Limits

First and foremost is, of course, a modem’s speed compatibility and limits. This is important as this factor determines the upper limit of how much speed and MBPS your modem can support. The easiest rule of thumb to follow is to pick a modem that matches or is above the advertised speed of your ISP—meaning if you’re subscribed to a 100 MBPS plan, look for a modem that supports those speeds.

You can also get a modem that supports 150 MBPS or even 200 MBPS to allow for future-proofing, just remember to never go below your subscription plan’s advertised speeds as you will not be getting the full experience and worth of your plan!

2. Streaming Channels

This spec of a modem is something that’s a bit technical and probably something you’re unfamiliar with. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what streaming channels were before I did my research. In essence, every modem has a streaming channel description added to it. Depending on the device’s characteristics, the true figure appears to be 844 or even 328. However, if you are unfamiliar with the fundamentals of modems, this may be too technical for your taste.

The downstream channels are located on the left side of the multiplication symbol. It denotes the amount of download data provided to the user by the concerned ISP at any particular time. This amount is usually higher than the upstreaming figure on the right side of the multiplication sign, as we are all concerned with downloading speeds.

So if you just want to know which streaming channels are best and good for a modem, go for higher numbers as they’re more capable of handling your ISP’s speeds.

3. DOCSIS Protocols

DOCSIS Protocols is yet another spec of a modem that may be unfamiliar to you. In a nutshell, DOCSIS technology enables cable internet providers to transport data through coaxial cables, allowing them to provide internet access and broadband support. As a result, DOCSIS compatibility is required to achieve faster speeds. Versions 3.0 and 3.1 are optional and indicate the number of concurrently active channels as well as the pace of operations.

As a result, if your ISP offers internet rates of around 1 Gbps, you might want to explore modems that use DOCSIS 3.1 technology to keep up with the speed requirements. However, before making a purchase, it’s important to also consider your subscription package as you may be choosing a modem with DOCSIS protocols way above what’s required of your speeds.

Most modems nowadays, especially gaming ones, are equipped with the latest version 3.1 anyways which should give you peace of mind, futureproofing, and guaranteed best speeds.

4. IO and Ports

Another important aspect to consider when shopping for a modem is its input/output (IO) and ports. You can have all the features and speed in the world, but if your modem doesn’t support your ethernet cable, then it’s no use.

Don’t worry though as most modern modems support all types of ethernet cable nowadays. What’s important, however, is to look for modems that have more than one port for ethernet. If you have multiple devices that you’d like to hook up to your gaming modem, then it’s wise to pick up a modem that has 2-3 ethernet ports for your PC, PS5 and Xbox simultaneously.

5. Design and Aesthetics

Coming in last is what I think should be the least of your priorities when looking for a good gaming modem. If you think that a modem has already checked all the other factors that I’ve discussed above, then feel free to judge its design and aesthetics.

Most gaming modems nowadays are packed with gamer aesthetics anyway and would probably satisfy your gamer itch. However, if you’re looking for something a little bit more understated and sleek, then you may find it difficult to do so. But as gamers, it’s common for us to look for devices that have RGB, and that is where you won’t be disappointed!

Of course, this won’t give you better speeds (as the memes go), but seeing your modem’s RGB perfectly in sync with your other devices and accessories is just a sight to behold.


The 9 Best Modem for Gaming in 2023

With the basics out of the way, it’s time to guide you through the 9 Best Modem for Gaming that I have used for weeks and months recently.

All of these will of course be reviewed with the specs and factors I’ve discussed above, so if you’re wondering if any of these don’t qualify as a “decent modem” for gaming, worry not. Let’s start!

1. The Price-to-Performance Winner: NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000

The Price-to-Performance Winner: NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000

NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000

  • 2500 MBPS/2.5 GBPS speed limit
  • Equipped with DOCSIS 3.1 for futureproofing
  • Noticeable speed gain and boost after setting up

For gamers who are looking for the absolute best for their money, then the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000 won’t disappoint. This beast of a gaming modem shattered my expectations for its price point and I am certain that you will be pleased to have one of these bad boys at home.

Pros

  • 2500 MBPS/2.5 GBPS speed limit
  • Equipped with DOCSIS 3.1 for futureproofing
  • Noticeable speed gain and boost after setting up
  • Consistent and reliable
  • Sleek and unobtrusive design
  • Compatible with most ISPs

Cons

  • Only 1 ethernet port

For starters, this modem’s brand, NETGEAR, is one of the top dogs and household names when it comes to modems, so seeing them spearhead this list is already a good sign. Jumping into the modem itself, it’s truly built for gamers who want to milk every possible speed and MBPS out of their IPS.

With its 2500 MBPS speed limit, universal compatibility, and DOCSIS 3.1, my games felt smooth like butter. To add some context, I was using a very old modem that came pre-bundled with my subscription plan before I bought myself a Nighthawk CM2000.

Before, I used to get around 50 to 70 ms in VALORANT, but after switching to the Nighthawk, I now consistently stay at 10 ms (at times even 5 ms), ensuring that every movement and action is registered in an instant.

Furthermore, my internet speeds saw a huge boost in numbers too. From 80-90 MBPS, I now stay at a consistent and buttery smooth 150 MBPS down and 50 MBPS up which are the exact numbers of my ISP’s advertised speed, regardless of whether I’m on ethernet or connected through WiFi.

If there’s anything to complain about the Nighthawk CM2000, it would be its lack of ethernet ports. It only sports 1 ethernet port which may not be enough for gamers who have multiple devices and gaming consoles.

Personally, I have my home decked out with routers and WiFi extenders, so this wasn’t a major problem. If 1 ethernet port isn’t a problem for you, then grabbing the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000 for your gaming needs is an absolute no-brainer for its price and functionality.


2. The Best Gaming Modem for Consoles: Motorola MB8600

The Best Gaming Modem for Consoles: Motorola MB8600

Motorola MB8600

  • 8 upstream channels for stability
  • DOCSIS 3.1 protocol for the best speeds
  • Highly compatible with major ISPs

Switching our attention to console gamers, the Motorola MB8600 router stands as a formidable choice thanks to its suite of features and capabilities that make it perfect for owners of the PS5, PS4, and other mainstream gaming consoles.

Pros

  • 8 upstream channels for stability
  • DOCSIS 3.1 protocol for the best speeds
  • Console-like design
  • Compatible with major ISPs

Cons

  • Has a smaller list of compatible ISPs compared to the Nighthawk
  • 1 GBPS speed limit eliminates futureproofing possibilities
  • Lone ethernet port makes it hard to recommend for gamers with multiple devices

The Motorola MB8600 router is equipped with features that every gamer needs to ace those ranked games. It has a speed limit of 1000 MBPS/1 GBPS, a robust DOCSIS 3.1 protocol paired with 32×8 streaming channels.

In a nutshell, it’s a game changer the moment you hook it up to your console. I used my PS5 for testing and I immediately noticed how smooth and stutter-free my online games were. I’m still on that Elden Ring hype right now, and whenever I jump on multiplayer to ask other players for help, I have no problems getting immersed in the beautiful yet daunting landscapes of the game thanks to the MB8600.

Instead of fighting with my internet and modem, I now just have to fight the colossal bosses of Elden Ring.

Besides being great for consoles, it’s also a decent choice for PCs, but its 1 GBPS speed limit may be too low for gamers who have gigabit internet that can reach insane speeds. Its design and aesthetics also look sleek, making it a perfect pair to display along with your PS5.

Similar to the Nighthawk CM2000, it’s also only got 1 ethernet port, making it hard to recommend for gamers who have multiple PCs, consoles, and more. However, it’s still a solid pickup for console gamers who want a modem that can seamlessly deliver consistent and stable internet.


3. The Best Midrange Gaming Modem: ARRIS Surfboard SBG8300-RB

The Best Midrange Gaming Modem: ARRIS Surfboard SBG8300-RB

ARRIS Surfboard SBG8300-RB

  • Appealing price
  • Latest and greatest DOCSIS 3.1
  • 1 GBPS speed limit

If you’re finding the two modems above a bit too much for your money, then the ARRIS Surfboard modem might just be within your reach. This modem is perfectly tailored for gamers who are in the market for something midrange and reasonable in price. I tested this with my gaming laptop and my overall experience was great.

Pros

  • Appealing price
  • Latest and greatest DOCSIS 3.1
  • 1 GBPS speed limit
  • Certified for use with major ISPs
  • Consistent and stable ping
  • 4 gigabit ethernet ports

Cons

  • IO looks dated
  • Port variety is lacking

Setting and getting the ARRIS Surfboard was a breeze. It was literally plug and play which made it easy to jump into the action right away. To test the Surfboard, I played 2 whole matches of League of Legends, and suffice to say that I was satisfied with what I expected and what was delivered.

Thanks to the Surfboard’s 1 GBPS speed limit, DOCSIS 3.1 capabilities, and a plentiful 32×8 streaming channel, I was able to get a consistent 10 ping all throughout those 2 games. No lag, no stutters, and no random disconnects that used to cost me my ranked games.

What I did not like about the Surfboard is its Input/Output (IO) and ports. Firstly, the design and aesthetics of the IO look a bit dated to me. Of course, aesthetics aren’t everything for a device like a modem. Its functionality is lacking as well as, although it has 4 gigabit ethernet ports, all other ports it has is a port for power but that’s about it.

It is relatively bare bone and basic in that department, but if you don’t really think that you need any other ports besides the ethernet ones, then the Surfboard is a solid pickup for those in the midrange budget.


3. The Best Luxury Gaming Modem: NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home

The Best Luxury Gaming Modem: NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home

NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home

  • One of the best all-in-one packages in the market right now
  • An excellent modem, router, and WiFi extender
  • Insane 4.2 GBPS speed limit

Jumping straight into the high-end selection is yet another competitor from NETGEAR, the Orbi Whole Home. This is for gamers who have huge houses and families that would love to connect to stable and fast internet as well, hence why it’s priced steeply.

Pros

  • One of the best all-in-one packages in the market right now
  • An excellent modem, router, and WiFi extender
  • Insane 4.2 GBPS speed limit
  • DOCSIS 3.1 for the fastest speeds available
  • Minimalist design and aesthetic

Cons

  • People who have routers and WiFi extenders may not see its appeal
  • Quite expensive even for a high-end option

Despite its rather expensive price tag, I can somehow attest that this gaming modem is actually worth it. Take note of the word “somehow” in that sentence as I have a few reservations about the Orbi Whole Home that I will discuss below.

Firstly, it is a WiFi Mesh system that acts as an all-in-one, meaning it’s a router, a modem, and a WiFi extender in one big package. That on itself already sounds appealing, but when we look at its specs, things just get better.

With a speed limit of 4.2 GBPS, the latest and greatest DOCSIS 3.1 protocols, and an unparalleled reach of over 5000 sq. ft that enables 40+ devices to connect to it simultaneously, it makes it one of the best WiFi all-in-one packages out there. But since this is a list of best modems, I will just be discussing and highlighting its modem capabilities.

As a modem, it is by far the most consistent and stable out of everything I’ve used, and rightfully so because of its price tag. I played Halo Infinite on my Xbox Series X with the Orbi Whole and I did not experience any second of lag, stuttering, or disconnects.

My ping also went down from 50 to 20, which may not seem like a lot on paper but will do wonders in very intense situations and gunfights in the game. I also asked my friends over voice chat if my voice sounded clearer thanks to my new modem, and surprisingly all of them said yes!

So what are my reservations with the Orbi Whole Home? It’s the fact that it’s all-in-one. You may already have your own router and WiFi extenders lying around, so spending the extra money just to use and get a modem isn’t worthwhile.

However, if you’re looking for one of the best packages in the market right now for a solid WiFi and internet system at home, then yes: the Orbi Whole Home is a great pick-up.


4. The Best Budget Gaming Modem: NETGEAR CM500-100NAR

The best budget gaming modem: NETGEAR CM500-100NAR

NETGEAR CM500-100NAR

  • Attractive price
  • Decent enough to get you online
  • Reasonable internet speed

On the other side of the spectrum, we have yet another modem offering from NETGEAR that is curated for budget gamers. The CM500-100NAR is the perfect embodiment of everything barebones and basic about a modem. If you just want something to game on that isn’t necessarily the best, most consistent, fastest, and the most stable, then this one might just be for you.

Pros

  • Attractive price
  • Decent enough to get you online
  • Reasonable 680 MBPS speed limit

Cons

  • Poor IO and port variety
  • Inconsistent at times
  • Microstutters should be expected
  • Cannot multitask well
  • Not recommended for eSports enthusiasts

For a low price tag, you’re getting a decently sized 680 MBPS speed limit, a rather dated DOCSIS 3.0, a meager 16×4 streaming channel, and one single ethernet port for your IO. I wasn’t kidding when I said barebones. Anyhow, you’re probably wondering how it performs.

In all honesty, it was all right. I didn’t expect much from it, so I was not disappointed or anything. For testing, I played a multiplayer match of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on my Nintendo Switch. At first, I didn’t see any hiccups or problems.

My ping was decent, about 5-10% lower than my average ping, but problems started arising in the middle of matches. On some occasions, it would stutter, lag, or just miss a beat. It wouldn’t disconnect me like my old modem, but it didn’t perform like the midrange or high-end options in this list either.

This lag spike may be due to Nintendo’s notoriously bad online servers, so I also double-checked with my PC where I played one match of Apex Legends and the same problem still arose. It wasn’t a huge deal as they were just micro stutters, but I do not see myself rocking this modem for prolonged periods of time.

The verdict: if you’re in the market for something cheap and something that will get you online, even if the ping or stability is questionable, then the NETGEAR CM500 modem is decent. It won’t break any records or help you get to pro player level, but for its price, all I can say is to set your expectations well.


5. The Best for eSports Newbies: Linksys High-Speed AC1900

The Best for eSports Newbies: Linksys High-Speed AC1900

Linksys High-Speed AC1900

  • 1.9 GBPS speed limit for futureproofing
  • Also acts as a router for WiFi capabilities
  • Decent IO and ports selection

For all eSports enthusiasts, the Linksys High-Speed AC1900 modem is a suitable option for you amateur and pro-wannabe players who want something that’s within their budget but will also perform flawlessly in intense ranked games.

Pros

  • 1.9 GBPS speed limit for futureproofing
  • Also acts as a router for WiFi capabilities
  • Healthy IO and ports section
  • Approved by most ISPs

Cons

  • DOCSIS 3.0 causes very minor hiccups at times
  • Design looks dated

For under $200, you’re getting a package that is not only limited to 1.9 GBPS, but also has DOCSIS 3.0 protocol capabilities, a healthy IO port, and also acts as a router. It supports WiFi 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz for uninterrupted connection.

For gaming, it performs as you would expect a sub-$200 modem to perform. Although it’s DOCSIS 3.0, I didn’t really notice it and did not experience any major stutter while playing VALORANT and Dota 2 on my PC.

There was one minor hiccup wherein my ping spiked to 1000 ms at one point, but it immediately went down to 15-20 ms. That is most likely the inconvenience of a DOCSIS 3.0 modem—its rather unexpected spikes and hiccups that can kill your momentum in ranked games.

As I have mentioned though, this only happened once and the rest of the gaming sessions with the AC1900 were enjoyable.

As it is also a router, it is essentially a 2-in-1 package that allows you to connect multiple devices at once through WiFi, although I highly suggest connecting your main gaming consoles and devices through one of its ethernet ports for maximum stability and speed.

Although its design and aesthetics aren’t mind-blowing, the LinkSys High-Speed AC1900 is a formidable pickup for eSports games enthusiasts looking to get into the pro scene.


6. The Best Budget Alternative: ARRIS Surfboard SB6190

The best budget alternative: ARRIS Surfboard SB6190

ARRIS Surfboard SB6190

  • Cheap price
  • Big 1.4 GBPS speed cap for its price
  • Doesn’t take up much desk space

In this spot is the ARRIS Surfboard modem making a comeback with its SB6190, a solid budget alternative for gamers who don’t want to break the bank shopping for modems. If you just want something to get you online, then the SB6190 isn’t all that bad.

Pros

  • Cheap and wallet-friendly
  • Big 1.4 GBPS speed cap for its price
  • Stable and consistent enough
  • Small form factor

Cons

  • Struggles with heavy multitasking
  • Outdated DOCSIS 3.0

I tested this using my PC with a mix of casual browsing, YouTube content binging, and Lost Ark on the side. Even though it’s within the price range of the NETGEAR CM500-100NAR, it’s still outperforming it with a speed limit of 1.4 GBPS and DOCSIS 3.0 that delivers a rather enjoyable and pleasant gaming experience.

I didn’t experience any major issues while playing Lost Ark and my browsing experience was fine too, but it did finally struggle when I mixed in some 4K YouTube on it which caused my ping to spike. For some context, I also do this routine with every other modem on the list, and this ARRIS Surfboard SB6190 and the NETGEAR CM500-100NAR are the only ones that struggled with heavy multitasking.

However, it is to be expected of their price points and honestly, it will get the job done if you’re just a casual gamer who plays some multiplayer or eSports games from time to time.

Its port and IO aren’t anything special with only 1 singular ethernet port but it does have a form factor that isn’t intrusive and is tabletop friendly. So do I recommend this for budget gamers? The answer is a clear yes—even more so than the NETGEAR CM500s because of its speed limit and cleaner aesthetics.


7. Best Gaming Modem for Big Homes: ASUS AX6000

The best modem for families in big homes: ASUS AX6000

ASUS AX6000

  • Huge 6 GBPS speed cap
  • DOCSIS 3.1 for unmatched speed and stability
  • Also acts as a router and WiFi extender

For gamers who are situated with their families or in big homes, the ASUS AX6000 is a promising option that will not only serve as your modem but will also serve as your router and WiFi extender. Think of it as an alternative for the Orbi Whole Home, but cheaper and more convenient.

Pros

  • Huge 6 GBPS speed cap
  • DOCSIS 3.1 for unmatched speed and stability
  • Also acts as a router and WiFi extender
  • Isn’t separated into 2 devices like the Orbi Whole Home
  • Consistent and smooth in-game
  • Can exceed advertised speeds of your ISP

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky form factor

The first thing that comes to attention when looking at the ASUS AX6000 modem is that compared to the Orbi Whole Home where 2 devices (a router and a modem) are present, the AX6000 is standing on its own as a single device that acts as a router, modem, and WiFi extender! Meaning less space will be taken up and possibly even some savings on electricity down the road.

Going to its performance, needless to say that it’s a beast. ASUS is already well known for its high-end laptops, GPUs, and routers, so seeing them compete in the modem/all-in-one space is a welcome addition.

I played a few matches of Apex Legends and even PUBG Mobile on my phone with the AX6000 and I am happy to report that I did not experience any stutter, DCs, or lag. My ping was also very low and stable, and even speed tests show that my internet speed is above my plan’s advertised.

Before I forget, it rocks a dual-band WiFi system accompanied by a modem that has the highest speed limit of any modem we’ve checked out yet, 6 GBPS or 6000 MBPS! Now that’s futureproofing. It’s also got DOCSIS 3.1 and a healthy selection of IO and ports, totaling around 4 gigabit ethernet ports at your disposal.

If there’s any gripe that I have with the AX6000, it would be its weight and form factor. Since it’s an all-in-one that isn’t separated into 2 devices like the Orbi, it’s got some thickness and weight to it—but then again, once you set it up on your table, its weight and form factor won’t really matter. Its price is also something I would rant about, but in the defense of ASUS, it really is an appealing all-in-one package that doesn’t need 2 devices to function.


8. Best Modem for Mobile Gaming: NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6230

Best Modem for Mobile Gamers: NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6230

NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6230

  • Reasonably priced
  • 2-in-1 Modem and Router combo
  • Compatible with major ISPs

The demographic that doesn’t get featured and talked about so much in my roundup are mobile gamers, and I think it’s time to showcase my favorite mobile gaming modem! If you fall under this demographic, then the NETGEAR C6230 modem is the one for you.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • 2-in-1 Modem and Router combo
  • Works and compatible with major ISPs
  • Has two ethernet ports and a USB port

Cons

  • Very low max speeds of 200 MBPS
  • Only sports DOCSIS 3.0 which is susceptible to lag and minor stutters

The reason why I think this specific modem will be perfect for mobile gamers is that it’s a 2-in-1 modem and router combo. Besides being a modem that you can use to game on your consoles and PCs, you can also connect to it via WiFi using your phones!

I gave this modem a shot with a few games of Call of Duty: Mobile on my iPhone. Compared to my old setup, I was surprised with how well it handled CODM, especially during intense gunfights. I saw no drops or lags whatsoever, and speed test shows that my speed was well within the range of my advertised speeds.

The main caveat and drawback of this modem-router combo is its rather low max speed of 200 MBPS. There’s also a 300 MBPS option, but it still doesn’t check the “future-proofing” feature that other modems have, especially considering that it’s also only got DOCSIS 3.0.

If you’re confident that you won’t be bumping up your subscription plan and will be sticking to speeds under 200 MBPS, then this modem-router combo is perfect for you.

But, as technology is advancing at a quick pace and as internet prices are getting lower, it’s still hard to recommend this for gamers who are looking to upgrade their internet plan anytime soon.


Conclusion

This wraps up my list of what I think are the 9 Best Modem for Gaming in 2023! We’ve surely had a lot of variety and great modems to check out, but if we’re talking about the best bang for the buck, I would recommend my top 1 on the list, the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000.

Its suite of features and reasonable price. It’s definitely the modem that gave me the best experience as I knew that I was getting my money’s worth thanks to its 2.5 GBPS max speed and DOCSIS 3.1 capabilities.

Of course, there’s also its little brother, NETGEAR CM500-100NAR which is catered towards the more budget conscious gamers. These are gamers who just need something to get them online while not necessarily providing the most lag-free and consistent experience.

Not forgetting the ARRIS Surfboard SBG8300-RB, which is another great pick-up for midrange budget gamers who are looking for something that’s tiers above the CM500 but also won’t break their banks.

Which gaming modem are you picking up in 2023? Let me know in the comments below!

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