Online gaming has gotten very popular in recent years with games like Minecraft, Call Of Duty, Fortnite, and the recent phenomenon that was Among Us!
But, no matter how good an online game is, the playing experience solely depends on your internet connection. And, the internet connection depends on the modem.
Using the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) modem and paying a small monthly rental fee seems like a great idea until you start to experience numerous disconnections, a four-digit ping, and a mood-killing lag.
That’s why we advocate getting your very own gaming modem. So you get to enjoy quick and stable internet connectivity while hunting your enemies in Fortnite and building your castles in Minecraft.
We don’t just preach it; we facilitate it too. So, here are some shopping tips to get the best gaming modems and our picks for the best modems for gaming in 2022.
Buying a gaming model requires much more than a simple Amazon search. The features and tech that are being integrated into the latest models to improve the gaming experience are outstanding.
And, we are here to present these features in a detailed and easy-to-understand manner, so you buy the right gaming modem for your gaming setup.
Check The Speed Limit
Before anything else, check out the maximum speed of the modem. If it’s lower than the maximum speed of your internet plan, there’s no point in buying that modem.
In simple terms, if you have a 500Mbps internet connection, you need a 500Mbps modem to channel the true speed. Going above the speed cap should be your target.
A feature that plays a major role in reducing latency and keeping the internet speeds stable and quick is the number of channels in the modem. A higher channel count means a higher download/upload speed.
There are 8×4, 16×4, 28×8, and 32×8 options, the best and latest ones being 32 downstream and 8 upstream channels.
Modems, especially gaming modems, should have a few necessary ports just in case you want a wired setup. Straight up, you have to make sure the modem has a Gigabit Ethernet port so you can directly plug in your gaming console or PC.
Secondly, if you have a multiple-device setup, look for a modem that has multiple Ethernet ports, otherwise, you’ll have to use a splitter or a router. One or two USB ports will be a handy feature.
Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification
More commonly known as DOCSIS, this thing decides the speed limit of your modem. The older version DOCSIS 2.0 modems are almost obsolete. Now, it’s all about DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1.
Difference Between DOCSIS 3.0 And 3.1
How is DOCSIS 3.1 better for gaming? A question we’ve received a lot in the comments so we decided to answer it once and for all. But before we do that, we look at the difference between DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1.
Both DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 refer to modem versions. If you are using cable internet, you definitely have a DOCSIS modem.
Now to the differences:
Price & Availability
DOCSIS 3.0 modems are cheaper and more readily available. Most ISP rental equipment includes DOCSIS 3.0 modems.
DOCSIS 3.1, on the other hand, you’ll have to buy for yourself, and for a hefty price tag at that.
It’s no secret that the newer version will be faster too. DOCSIS 3.1 is 10 TIMES faster than DOCSIS 3.0. DOCSIS 3.0 modems max out at 1Gbps download speed whereas DOCSIS 3.1 has a 10Gbps download speed cap. So, naturally, DOCSIS 3.1 will be a better fit for gamers.
Security & Future-Proofing
Another huge W for DOCSIS 3.1. The newer version has better security features and will be relevant for years to come.
DOCSIS 3.1 came out in 2013 and there are very few consumer internet companies that can test its max speed limits.
How is DOCSIS 3.1 Better For Gaming?
As mentioned in the differences, DOCSIS 3.1 is much quicker– 10x quicker to be exact- than DOCSIS 3.0. And quicker internet speeds mean low ping, lower latency, and highly stable connections- exactly what gamers need for non-stop online gaming fun.
Two Important Factors To Consider
Before you get around to buying a gaming modem- or any modem for that matter- there are two important factors to consider. These two things will have a direct impact on the modem you will buy or not buy for that matter.
1. Modem Support
When it comes to ISP’s, they have certain limitations on which modems will support their internet. So, before you buy a modem, it’s best to get in touch with your ISP and ask them about the supported modem models. Most ISP’s will have the list on their website. This will save you a lot of trouble and narrow down your buying options.
2. Internet Connection
A modem’s output is only as good as the connection’s input. No matter how good of a modem you get, it won’t improve your web surfing or gaming experience if your internet connection is incompetent.
For the best gaming experience, there’s no room for an average internet connection even. You need to have the best gaming internet and gaming modem combo for disruption-free gaming.
Best Overall Internet For PC, Gaming, TV, and Phone
Comcast’s very own internet service that came out in 2010 is now the best gaming internet in more than 30 States. From TV streaming to the fabled home security system, Xfinity offers it all.
But, it’s the internet that’s brought new heights to Xfinity. The internet speed plans go from 50Mbps to 2000Mbps, starting from as low as $29.99 per month. There are also plenty of exciting deals on offer throughout the year for different needs and users.
Verizon’s Fios Internet, Best For Multiple Devices
Verizon recently launched the Fios Home Internet plans, but it didn’t take too long for them to get going.
The 100% fiber-optic network has three plans on offer, with the basic plan starting from $39.99 only. To attract users, Verizon offers Disney+ and amc+ subscriptions (free for the first 12 months) within the plan prices too.
So, you do not only get lag-free internet for gaming, but you also get to blazing quick streaming speeds for your TV.
Three plans- 200Mbps, 400Mbps, and Gigabit Connection
Best Gaming Internet With Both FibreOptic & DSL Connections
If you are looking for versatility, Frontier is the right choice for you. They offer Fibre-optic connections as well as DSL connectivity. The DSL plans start as low as $32.99 per month and the Fibre-Optic plans start from $49.99 a month.
The highlight has to be the no data cap. Whether you go for a DSL connection or Fibre-Optic, there’s no data cap. DSL speeds start from 6Mbps and go all the way up to 115Mbps. Fibre-Optic is serious business, starting from 500Mbps and capping at 940Mbps.
No equipment rental fee
No installation fee
Unlimited data for every plan
Decent DSL options
Best Modems For Gaming
And now, to the matter at hand. Our detailed reviews for the best gaming modems. We found 5 great options for you, including 2 modem/router combos. Let’s dive in!
1. ARRIS Surfboard SB8200
Best Budget DOCSIS 3.1 Modem For Gaming
DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem
1Gbps max speed
2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
Broadcom BCM3390 chipset
Kicking things off with one of the best 3.1 DOCSIS modems on the market right now. Although ARRIS is a relatively new brand, they know what they are doing with their modems.
Just take a look at the features- 32 download channels and 8 upload channels, 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports to achieve a max speed of 2Gbps on two different devices simultaneously and of course the latest DOCSIS 3.1.
Thanks to DOCSIS 3.1, this highly-rated modem brings lightning-quick internet speeds, connection stability, and all the security and privacy to your web surfing. This 3.1 version ensures that you don’t have to upgrade the modem the next time you upgrade your internet plan.
On top of that, Amazonknocked off $34 from the original price, making the deal sweeter.
But, the ‘budget’ tag has its restrictions too. The SB8200 leaves out AT&T, Verizon, and other DSL and satellite networks. Moreover, there’s no room for Wi-Fi. You’ll need a good router for gaming wirelessly, or better yet, buy the ARRIS modem/router combo.
Compatible with all major ISPs including Xfinity, Spectrum
NETGEAR is the epitome of quality internet equipment and has been for a long time. Whether you want stand-alone modems, quality routers, or modem/router combos, NETGEAR makes it all and does a pretty good job too.
They often make specialized equipment and this one is for Xfinity users. Although it is a DOCSIS 3.0, it manages to take full advantage of Xfinity’s speed limits. The range of cable modem maxes out at 800Mbps whereas the wireless can go as high as 1.9Gbps. To make the most of the speeds, NETGEAR also put in 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
So whether you have a wired setup or a wireless one, there’s no compromise on the connection’s quality.
The one problem with cable modems that persists with this one too is the incompatibility with DSL and satellite network. No AT&T support, no Verizon compatibility, and there’s no support for Xfinity voice services even.
Best Gigabit Modem That Pairs Well With Every Router
1Gbps max speed
2.5GB Ethernet Port
Active Queue Management
Motorola consistently makes some great cable modems. The MB8600 has been called the best gaming modem by many. And, unsurprisingly, the newer MB model surpasses its predecessor.
The Motorola MB8611 outshines plenty of cable modems thanks to its Gigabit-plus internet speeds. You will need a separate router for wireless internet, but the 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port makes wired connections worthwhile.
The standout has to be Active Queue Management(AQM). AQM drastically improves the online gaming and streaming experience by minimizing internet latency. You’ll get a much better ping and faster internet speeds, so whether it’s 4K streaming or online gaming, you don’t experience data packet loss.
The next thing is affordability. It’s one of the cheapest DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems with more than 2Gbps speeds and a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port.
If you have a premium internet plan with blazing quick speeds, this modem and router combo would be a great finishing touch. Although it is a bit pricey, we feel like the Wi-Fi 6, 802.11ax router, and up to 6.0Gbps cable internet speed cap justify it all.
There’s also the massive port selection with 4 Gigabit Ports, 1 2.5 Gigabit port, and 1 USB 3.0 port. Connect your gaming consoles, PC, printers, or anything you need and enjoy up to 6.0Gbps speeds.
It’s one of the best 3.1 DOCSIS modems with a built-in Wi-Fi 6 router. And the router isn’t too shabby either. It’s an AX6000 router that has over 3000 sq. ft. of range and WPA/WPA2 security protocols.
Some call it a massive overkill but for gamers, the future-proofing that this router/modem combo brings to the table is unmatched. You’re getting a 32×8 DOCSIS 3.1 modem that will support up to 6.0Gbps of internet plans.
Yes, $400 is a lot of money, but it’s a smart investment that will be fruitful for years to come. Our top pick for the best gaming modem router combo.
Pro Tip: Check out the C7800 or the CBR750 for a cheaper and less-powerful version modem/router combo.
Reduce cluster of two devices
Compatible with up to 6.0Gbps cable plans
Connect 30+ wifi devices
Built-in parental control feature
Smart Connect- automatically chooses the best band for every device
Hands down the best modem for gaming available right now. Even at the original price, it’s a great purchase, but Amazon has it listed for $30 less.
The Nighthawk CM2000 is a 2.5Gbps cable modem that provides the same level of internet speeds and reliability no matter what ISP you have. But, the speed plan you have will affect the performance.
It is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, so the faster your internet connection the better it will perform. Unless you have a multiple device setup, you won’t need a router with this one. The singular Multi-gig port is more than enough to provide blazing quick internet for your online gaming needs.
If you do decide to get a router, best buy a NETGEAR Wi-Fi 6 router to complete the future-proofing of your internet system.
And that’s pretty much it. With the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000 as our top pick for the best modem for gaming, we finish up this buyer’s guide. We wish you find your next modem out of our picks. Even if you don’t, do apply our shopping tips when deciding on one.
Share in the comments, what gaming modem are you currently using and which ones do you think should be on this list.
If you want to save on the cluster of wires and devices, you can always buy a modem router combo. As per our experience, NETGEAR’s Nighthawk CAX80 takes the cake as the best gaming modem router combo. It’s got 6Gbps max speed, built-in Wi-Fi 6 router, and is compatible with every major cable internet provider.
In terms of performance, it beats every other gaming modem and standalone router and saves you a lot of trouble of having to maintain 2 devices at the same time. But, you will have to splash the cash accordingly.
What modem and router do pro gamers use?
As for modems, the ones listed in this article are the best for gaming as well as regular home use. Routers, on the other hand, are a different story. Pro gamers need pro-level routers that will provide loss-less internet connectivity.
As per our research, the ASUS RT-AX88U is the best router for gaming. It’s got 4 antennas, 8 Gigabit LAN ports, 6Gbps maximum speed, and uses the MU-MIMO Wi-Fi technology. ASUS claims that it reduces ping by up to 75%. There’s nothing much a pro-gamer would need.
Will a better modem improve ping?
Both your modem and router have a say in deciding the ping you get while gaming, so it’s safe to say that a better modem with newer hardware and protocols can improve your ping. But, it will only improve your ping if your internet is capable of that too.
Do not expect to see drastic improvements just by installing a better modem if you are still running a 1Mbps internet plan. The same goes for the router. The modem can only do so much if a router can’t transmit enough speeds.
Will a gaming router reduce ping?
Yes, a gaming router can help reduce ping and improve the gaming experience too. The ASUS RT-AX88U claims to reduce your ping by almost 75%. So, if you experience a four-digit ping while playing Among Us, it’s time to switch to a better router.
Gaming routers have a feature that directs internet speeds to gaming devices which in turn improves the performance and reduces the ping.
What is more important for gaming? Modem or router?
We would say that both these things are important in their regard, but a modem is slightly more important. Without a modem, a router is useless. Whereas without a router, a modem will still provide decent internet connectivity.
The best solution to this problem is to buy a gateway (A modem and router combo). It takes the space of one device but performs the function of both a modem as well as a Wi-Fi router.
What modem is the fastest?
Right now, the fastest modem is the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000. It has a maximum speed of 2.5Gbps with 1 2.5Gbps Gigabit Ethernet port. It also runs on the DOCSIS 3.1 version and IPv6, so it will stay quick and relevant for years to come. It does have a hefty price tag though.