Recommend me a cable modem + wifi router

Should it be one thing? Should it be two things? I want it to be cheap and decent and not break.

Things I’ll use it for:

  • Daily internet things at home
  • Uploading videos of birds
  • Streaming movies
  • Making backups of things via peer to peer networks


I like having two separate things for the flexibility, and extra wall warts. You can never have enough wall warts. About 6 months ago I picked up the TP-Link Archer C7 (as recommended by The Wirecutter) and I’ve been super pleased with it. Its more expensive than the last few routers I’ve owned but makes up for it by not needing to be randomly powercycled a few times a week.

Wall warts? What’s that?

Better to make it one thing. That other portion of the thing will certainly become obsolete or break and render the whole thing obsolete or broken. If you buy separate things then you you can replace / upgrade things as necessary.

A wall wart is the unnecessarily large body often attached to the plug end of a power cord. It has the bonus feature of also blocking the adjoining wall outlet.

Enough about things for now.


Uh, it kind of starts with your Cable Internet Provider’s compatibility list. Here’s Comcast’s current one for DOCSIS.

Additionally, if you live in an area getting DOCSIS 3.1 soon, you may want to rent for a little bit. If you are on Comcast, you may want a separate Wifi Router, if you don’t want Comcast broadcasting their free xfinity wifi hotspots from your connection.

Supposedly the next docsis is imminent? 3.1? Might be better to wait this once on the modem front.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

How do I find out when this next DOCSIS will be rolled out in my area? My new house is kinda in the boonies. I don’t get cell reception and I live on septic.

The wirecutter recommended SB6141 is only $70. I bought one for my sister recently. It “only” supported 50 Mpbs down, but my sister doesn’t need all that bandwidth. She doesn’t even care about difference between SD and 720p/1080p.

Price pays in itself after a year, just from rental fees. Also, if the modem starts to die out you can just replace it yourself rather than have the cheap bastards just send you refurb shitty units as a replacement.

I like two things. But I’m a control freak and I like to know which part is broken.

PS if you have trouble getting the modem to hand out an IP or whatever in the beginning, 90% of the time it’s because someone typed out the wrong MAC address in the modem when registering it.

I like them separate as well, because if one part breaks down, you don’t want to replace the whole thing.

I don’t know about the DOCSIS 3.1 rollout, but if you want to get something now just make sure you look at the list of supported modems by your ISP to see what your options are. I’ve always heard great things about the SB6141’s, and I had one that I purchased for at least a year, but it turned out to be really unreliable when Time Warner turned on the Maxx upgrades in my area. I borrowed an SB6183 from them to verify it was my modem (it was), then bought an SB6183 myself off (they had a great deal on refurbs), and it’s been rock solid.

I bought the Archer C7 Casey mentioned above for our church office and it seems to be doing a great job. Haven’t heard any complaints or needed to restart it.

Call your local cable company office, or swing by, and ask them their upgrade plans.

FWIW I have a SB6141. I’m on the TWC express 100/10 tier and I’ve never had a problem hitting those numbers.

Yeah, I meant to mention that my data point on the SB6141 should be taken with a grain of salt. I only had 15Mb service before the Maxx upgrades, so it’s possible the modem was flaky before, but not noticeable because of the slower speeds. There definitely were some issues with my lines, enough that TWC re-ran them, but even after correcting all that my 6141 still was having packet issues. My main point was that the 6183 has been rock solid as well so far, and supposedly capable of ultimately higher speeds because (I think) it’s 16 channels versus 8 in the 6141. I believe the 6141 caps out at 100Mb service whereas the 6183 should be able to do at least 300Mb. They’re both solid modems though.

I just bought the $50 Zyxel cable modem from Newegg when we switched to Comcast. It has no problem hitting our 150Mbps service. It is also paired with the Archer C7. The only drawback I’ve found with the router is the DLNA feature is unreliable at indexing more then a small number of files.

Got 250Mb/s cable yesterday (nice change from the 14Mb/s DSL I was rocking until recently) and my Asus RT-N66W was bottlenecking things. Couldn’t get over about 170Mb/s no matter how much I futzed with the settings. I’d been wanting to go AC anyway, so after reading Wirecutter I got a Netgear R6400.

Setting it up and its pretty nice, and I can now get the full 250Mb throughput, but I noticed the web interface looks like something from about 2003.

Then I look at the QoS Priority Rule set. And among tthe items listed:
Quake 2
Warcraft (not World of…)

Nice router and tons of modern features. But that QoS list was hilarious. Kazaa hasn’t worked since about 2006.

That’s awesome, Denny! Hah, total flashback. . .

I really wish the (abysmal) modem-router that Time Warner allotted me had functional port-forwarding. Mind you, the setting is there–it just doesn’t actual work (as confirmed on their support forums). Given the speed level I’m at, buying a proper wifi router to replace that function always seemed like a “delayable” expense, as much as I miss streaming my media library via Subsonic. . .

Arise! I have a cable modem question for the group and this looked like the most likely place to ask.

Xfinity sent me an email suggesting I upgrade my cable modem to take advantage of a boost in speed they did to the network in my area. I own my own router, so my option is to purchase one from a list they have (it’s about $150) or go back to renting one from them (no thanks). My big question is this: Will I even notice? It’s not a big deal and I could order one from Amazon, but I’m just so leery of Comcast/Xfinity these days.

I would read the Wirecutter article and buy one of their picks if I was you. Definitely would not go through Comcast.

Makes me wonder, I have been using the same modem for 6-7 years, do I need to update? No idea how much things have changed, if at all, in that time.

If you can stream video ok… do you need anything more? When it breaks I would replace it with whatever wifi 6 mesh beastie is current at the time.

Yeah, that’s kind of where I’m at. Does it stream video? Check. But it’s the kind of thing where you always want to go faster, right?

What is the advantage wifi mesh provides? I went to get a piece of gear a few months ago and the Best Buy had tons of those mesh units. I wanted an adapter to use coaxial to get an IP signal to a computer in the living room because it was on wifi, but I wanted it on a wire to improve performance (and I didn’t have any CAT5 cable strung in that part of the house, only coaxial). The dude kept pushing wifi mesh, but he couldn’t explain how it would help me with that particular problem and I wondered if it were just the next cool thing and they were pushing on everyone.

The cable modem question depends on how old & limited in speed (docsis version basically) your old modem is vs the docsis version required to get whatever speed they have upgraded you to. If you subscribe to a really low speed then it may not matter at all. OTOH they may have given you an “free” upgrade to a much faster speed that you’d never be able to use unless you upgrade. In which case you might as well if you can afford it or want to.

WiFi 6 is super new and there’s very little supporting it yet so I wouldn’t get too bent yet.

Mesh can be great depending on your situation and needs. It will never be faster than good wire, but it might be faster than bad/old wireline. Basically if you need speed and can at all get wire there, then do that. If your choice is wireless then mesh can work great to extend your coverage. Make sure you get a mesh system with extra antenna dedicated to wireless backhaul if you are going to do wireless all the way. A wireless extender that doesn’t do that may just make things worse.

Hope that helps, diego