You’re two hours into the raid, and the boss is right around the corner. One final charge with your team, and victory is yours. You take a deep breath and barge through the dungeon doors, sword at the ready. Then… you freeze. Not out of fear, but because your connection dropped, leaving you stranded outside the instance while your team takes all the spoils.

Lag spikes and dropped connections are serious problems for gamers. A single-second delay can ruin your competitive FPS game or boot you from your hours-long MMO encounter. Fortunately, the best modem for gaming can provide a lightning-quick, stable connection that keeps you in the game and ready for action. Paired with the right router, a gaming modem all but guarantees a low-ping playing experience.

This article walks you through the best modems for gaming on the market. We’ll scope out their top features, and even go over how to use and configure your new best friend. Sound like a plan? Let’s get started!

Zoom Out: Comparison Table of the 10 Best Modems for Gaming

In a rush to get back to gaming? We’ve curated this comparison table to help you find a suitable modem for your setup at-a-glance. For a closer look at each option, check out the Zoom In section below.

ImageModemTypeSpeedCost
1. NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000Cable Modem2500 Mbps
2. Linksys CM3016Cable Modem680 Mbps
3. Netgear Nighthawk CAX80Cable Modem + Router6000 Mbps
4. TP-Link Archer CR700Cable Modem + Router1750 Mbps
5. Motorola MB8611Cable Modem2500 Mbps
6. ASUS Modem Router ComboCable Modem + Router1750 Mbps
7. ARRIS Surfboard S33Cable Modem2500 Mbps
8. ASUS CM-AX6000Cable Modem + Router6000 Mbps
9. Motorola VDSL2/ADSL2+DSL Modem + Router100 Mbps
10. Netgear Orbi All-in-OneCable Modem + Router4200 Mbps

Zoom In: A Closer Look at the 10 Best Modems for Gaming

In this section, you’ll find a detailed look at the modems from the table above.

1. NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000

The best modem for gaming overall

Manufacturer: Netgear | Type: Cable Modem | Advertised Speed: Up to 2500 Mbps | Channels: 32×8 | DOCSIS: 3.1 | Price: 💰💰💰

If you’re seeking the best gaming modem money can buy, we wholeheartedly recommend the NETGEAR Nighthawk CM2000.

Part of the Nighthawk lineup (which we’ve tested extensively), this modern modem provides sky-high speeds up to 2,500 Mbps after a quick plug-and-play setup. It syncs perfectly with all major cable internet providers — including Comcast, Cox, and Spectrum — to receive and deliver fast, consistent internet for casual and competitive gaming. Hook it up to your router of choice via Ethernet, and you’ve got the perfect foundation for serious online play.

To be fair, this router does cost a fair amount. Many of the other options on this list include a built-in router for less money than this model. But you can’t beat the technology packed into this unit, including DOCSIS 3.1 and 40 combined channels. Just look at the tens of thousands of customer reviews and average 4.4-star rating, and you’ll understand why it’s the ideal modem for no-nonsense players.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Ideal for WiFi 6
  • DOCSIS 3.1 future-proofs your setup
  • Immediate boost in speed and responsiveness after installation
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Only one Ethernet port
  • On the pricier side, roughly $200
  • Works with Comcast but may require customer support

2. Linksys CM3016

The best modem for gaming on a budget

Manufacturer: Linksys | Type: Cable Modem | Advertised Speed: Up to 680 Mbps | Channels: 16×4 | DOCSIS: 3.0 | Price: 💰

Next up is a respectable budget option from Linksys. This particular unit won’t provide fiber-level speeds, but you’re also not paying for that kind of support. Coming in just over $50, it’s a smart entry-level option for the more casual gamer.

In terms of tech, the CM3016 offers DOCSIS 3.0, 16 downstream channels, and 4 upstream channels. Together with the integrated Intel Puma 6 chipset, this modem can support speeds up to 680 Mbps with surprising stability. Use it alongside your current cable internet to improve speeds and performance, or pair it up with a new provider for a total transformation. Either way, it’ll save you the modem rental fee, meaning it pays for itself within a year of service!

  • USERS LIKE
  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • Works with all major cable providers
  • Affordable price; pays for itself within a year
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • High speeds, but only in small spaces
  • Hardware is slightly dated, released in 2016
  • Several reports that some units only last ~ one year

3. Netgear Nighthawk CAX80

The best modem and router for gaming

Manufacturer: Netgear | Type: Cable Modem + Router | Advertised Speed: Up to 6000 Mbps | Channels: 32×8 | DOCSIS: 3.1 | Price: 💰💰💰💰

If you prefer simplicity and want to kill two birds with one stone, the Netgear Nighthawk CAX80 is the best modem router combo for gaming on the market.

Not only is the CAX80 a modem and router in one, but it’s also one of the fastest options available, with speeds up to 6000 Mbps via dual-band coverage. Hook it up straight to your PC or console for best performance, or sync to it over WiFi 6 for untethered gaming from anywhere in the house. 

If you’re a stickler for security or DDOS prevention, the Nighthawk CAX80 has you covered there too. Enjoy built-in Bitdefender security and WPA/WPA2 wireless standards that’ll keep you and your data secure.

The only downside? There’s a price to pay for convenience, and you’ll have to shell out the big bucks for access to one of Netgear’s most powerful consumer electronics.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Comes with Bitdefender security suite
  • Stable performance and lightning speeds up to 6 Gbps
  • Two-in-one modem and router makes servicing more convenient
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • USB sharing can be touchy
  • Reports of issues w/ WiFi calling
  • Very large at ‎12.5 x 10 x 5 inches

4. TP-Link Archer CR700

The best budget modem router for gaming

Manufacturer: TP-Link | Type: Cable Modem + Router | Advertised Speed: Up to 1750 Mbps | Channels: 16×4 | DOCSIS: 3.0 | Price: 💰💰

Choose the TP-Link Archer CR700 to never miss another in-game shot due to lag or packet loss.

This modem advertises maximum speeds up to 1750 Mbps across WiFi, with a more realistic maximum of 680 Mbps download speeds and everyday speeds closer to half of that. This is plenty for most gaming households and comes courtesy of the Archer’s 16 downstream and 4 upstream channels. It’s not as fast as some of the others on our list, but you can’t beat a budget 2-in-1.

Plus, the two-year warranty is among the best in the industry, and customer support is second to none. It’s an affordable option for gamers seeking a reliable modem router without breaking the bank.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Competitive price, under $100
  • Plug-and-play install ideal for non-techies
  • Slim and attractive design measures 9.5 x 7.5 x 2.5 inches
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Gets very hot
  • No smartphone app for monitoring or configuring
  • Devices on 2.4GHz channel prone to disconnecting

5. Motorola MB8611

The best internet modem for gaming

Manufacturer: Motorola | Type: Cable Modem | Advertised Speed: Up to 2500 Mbps | Channels: 32×8 | DOCSIS: 3.1 | Price: 💰💰

You probably know Motorola for their entry-level smartphones. But did you know that they also manufacture a line of advanced modems?

The Motorola MB8611 is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem that can tackle all of your gaming needs, no problem. It sports DOCSIS 3.1 technology combined with a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port to provide your entire house with lightning-fast connection speeds (router sold separately, however). It works alongside every major cable provider and is ideal for plan packages over 1 Gbps.

Our favorite thing about the MB8611? It comes with Motorola’s Active Que Management system to reduce latency and provide a stable connection throughout your entire game. All backed by a two-year guarantee and fantastic customer support.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Excellent tech support should need arise
  • Easy installation; no need to contact cable company
  • Active Que Management intelligently reduces latency based on activities
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Slow upload speeds
  • Only one Ethernet port
  • Requires purchasing separate router for WiFi

6. ASUS Modem Router Combo

The best PC gaming modem

Manufacturer: ASUS | Type: Cable Modem + Router | Advertised Speed: Up to 1750 Mbps | Channels: 32×8 | DOCSIS: 3.0 | Price: 💰💰💰

Next on our list is a modem router combo from the PC gaming overlord, ASUS.

As you might’ve guessed by the name, the ASUS Modem Router Combo offers a one-two punch – it works as a modem to secure internet from your provider, and it beams it out over dual-band 2.4 and 5Ghz frequencies. The end result is fantastic performance across gaming and entertainment streaming (including HD and 4K).

Although the modem uses DOCSIS 3.0 and not 3.1, it does come with the maximum number of channels. This should secure you up to 1.3 Gbps download speeds, which means it’s capable of fiber-level internet delivery. 

When you factor everything together, this powerful modem and router is a stellar deal for gamers.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Easy setup is ready in minutes
  • Clean GUI on the web application
  • Great speeds and excellent range across 2.4 and 5 GHz
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • DOCSIS 3.0, not 3.1
  • Firmware is locked, making manual updates difficult
  • Poor instruction manual (although you probably don’t need it)

7. ARRIS Surfboard S33

The best modem for gaming and streaming

Manufacturer: ARRIS | Type: Cable Modem | Advertised Speed: Up to 2500 Mbps | Channels: 32×8 | DOCSIS: 3.1 | Price: 💰💰💰

Surf the web and play your favorite games faster than ever with the ARRIS Surfboard S33.

The ARRIS Surfboard S33 features DOCSIS 3.1 alongside 32 downstream and 8 upstream channels. This technology combines with ARRIS’s proprietary modem infrastructure to deliver zippy speeds throughout the entire house!

What’s more, the ARRIS is the only 3.1 gaming modem on this list to feature two Ethernet ports — one 2.5 Gbps and one 1.0 Gbps. This allows you to create two separate networks in your home, so you can have a dedicated gaming line for uninterrupted action (you’ll need to contact your cable provider to set this up, however).

Although it’s a bit pricey, you’ll end up saving lots of money compared to renting a similar model. Just be sure you have a spare Ethernet cable, as this unit doesn’t come with one!

  • USERS LIKE
  • Two Ethernet ports
  • Fast, consistent speeds over weeks of intense use
  • Sleek, modern white design looks great anywhere in the house
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Runs very hot
  • Doesn’t come with an Ethernet cable
  • No DHCP server capabilities (or WiFi)

8. ASUS CM-AX6000

The best modem for HD gaming

Manufacturer: ASUS | Type: Cable Modem + Router | Advertised Speed: Up to 6000 Mbps | Channels: 32×8 | DOCSIS: 3.1 | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Next we have the ASUS CM-AX6000, yet another modem and router combo with DOCSIS 3.1 technology and 40 combined channels.

While this means it features incredible speeds up to 6000 Mbps, that’s not particularly special when compared to the other modern modems that can do the same thing. That said, this model does set itself apart from the competition with a few unique twists. For starters, the CM-AX6000 features a passive cooling fan that keeps the temperature down and the speeds blazing-fast. It also comes with Cablelabs certification, ensuring excellent compatibility among the most popular cable internet providers. 

It’s definitely pricey, yes. But this is an ASUS product, so you know you’re in good hands.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Incredible speeds up to 6 Gbps
  • Excellent efficiency thanks to WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Embedded antenna and passive cooling keep it sleek and cool
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No app support
  • WiFi range is on the shorter side
  • Does not work with ASUS AiMesh

9. Motorola VDSL2/ADSL2+

The best VDSL gaming modem

Manufacturer: Motorola | Type: DSL Modem + Router | Advertised Speed: Up to 100 Mbps | Channels: N/A | DOCSIS: N/A | Price: 💰💰💰

While most of the modems on our list are for cable providers, we understand that some players only have access to DSL. If that’s you, say hello to the Motorola MD1600, perfect for VDSL and ADSL providers like Frontier, CenturyLink, and Verizon.

With the VDSL2/ADSL2+, you’ll save money on rental fees while achieving higher speeds up to 100Mbps! Not only that, but the built-in router makes wireless connectivity a breeze and requires no separate purchases.

Our favorite part about this modem has to be its suite of QoL features like a firewall, VPN capabilities, and NAS support for sharing media (like your Steam library) across the network.

Despite its releasing way back in 2017, this unit remains the best modem router for gaming on VDSL.

  • USERS LIKE
  • NAS media sharing support
  • Strong, consistent internet + WiFi
  • Two-year warranty and excellent customer support from Motorola
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • May require regular power cycling
  • Requires firmware updates for different DSL providers
  • Some say it’s not much better than stock modems offered by providers

10. Netgear Orbi All-in-One Cable Modem Router

The best premium gaming modem

Manufacturer: Netgear | Type: Cable Modem + Router | Advertised Speed: Up to 4200 Mbps | Channels: 32×8 | DOCSIS: 3.1 | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Don’t let the pretty design fool you. The Netgear Orbi packs everything you need to game like a pro, including a built-in modem and mesh router network with speeds up to 4200 Mbps across 5,000 square feet!

How does it perform so well, you ask? The Orbi’s powerhouse performance comes courtesy of the built-in Quad-Core 1.4GHz CPU, which provides a dedicated processor to keep everything running smoothly across the network. The Orbi also features Netgear Armor with Bitdefender, ensuring your network remains safe and secure, free from DDOS attacks and would-be infiltrators.

The Netgear Orbi works with all major cable providers and is incredibly easy to set up — simply open the Orbi App on your smartphone, plug in the central unit and satellite, and you’re good to go. If you’re in the market for a premium gaming router, this is the model for you!

  • USERS LIKE
  • Future-proof thanks to DOCSIS 3.1
  • Mesh router network offers zippy 1 Gbps+ speeds
  • Great coverage w/ zero dead zones across large households
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Mobile app offers a poor UX
  • Reports of abysmal tech support
  • May require manual firmware updates

Gaming Modem Guide Part I: What is a Modem for Gaming?

Modem Example

A modem for gaming is a piece of hardware that provides access to the internet. Once hooked up, users can plug directly into the modem for internet access, or pair with a router for wireless internet throughout their homes.

The best modems for gaming tend to be more powerful and reliable than their standard counterparts, as gaming requires a continuous transfer of information to and from gaming servers. 

How Do Modems Work?

The term ‘modem’ is short for modulator-demodulator. Modems function by modulating (translating) analog signals and digital data as they communicate with one another.

In other words, modems serve as a waypoint for internet connectivity, modulating analog signals as they travel along cable lines and into your home, as well as demodulating your computing actions back across those cable lines.

If that’s all a bit too technical, no worries. All you really need to know is that a quality modem is essential for fast and stable online gaming, providing a ton of benefits you can’t play without.

Gaming Modem Guide Part II: Benefits of Gaming Modems

Gaming Modem
Image: Leks Laputin via Canva Photos

Let’s take a look at some of the tremendous benefits gaming modems have to offer.

  • Speedy Connections. Gaming modems maximize your internet speeds with multiple downstream and upstream channels, providing you with the quickest Mbps (megabits per second) available.
  • Reliable Performance. Today’s top modems use quality components alongside technologies like DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 to ensure a consistent connection with few to no hiccups.
  • Versatile Designs. Gaming modems are designed to work with all major internet service providers and various types of routers. Some even have routers built-in for extreme ease of use.
  • Built for Gamers. Gaming is a specific and growing niche. As more players come online, manufacturers are fighting it out to provide the best experience and steal market share. As such, today’s gaming modems come with quality-of-life features like intuitive smartphone apps that make jumping in (and configuring) your gameplay as easy as ever.

While each modem is unique and comes with its own set of features and specs, the question remains: what is the best gaming modem for your setup, specifically?

Gaming Modem Guide Part III: Choosing the Best Modem for Gaming

Wires
Image: Canva Photos

With so many great options, it can be hard to pick the best modem for your gaming setup. It also really depends on your specific needs and internet settings. Let’s take a look at a few of the things you’ll have to consider when making a final choice:

  1. Modem only vs. modem + router
  2. Upload & download speeds
  3. Compatibility
  4. Price

Choosing a 2-in-1 modem and router is a great way to save space and money if you’re also interested in a wireless connection. Pairing the two together also means they communicate more efficiently with one another, providing more consistency while playing your favorite games.

Channels (DOCSIS 3.0)Max Speed (Mbps)
4×4172
8×4343
16×4686
24×81000
32×81400
32×8 (DOCSIS 3.1)10,000

Another thing to consider is download and upload speeds. Most modems proudly advertise a maximum speed, but reaching those speeds on your network is pretty unlikely, if not downright impossible. Instead, compare the maximum theoretical speeds listed above against the specs of your favorite modem to gain a more realistic understanding of what you can expect in everyday settings.

You’ll also need to check the modem’s compatibility to ensure it works with your ISP, gaming rig, and other equipment. The modems on our list (save for the MOTOROLA VDSL2/ADSL2+) are cable modems, meaning they should work across all the major carriers like Comcast, Cox, and Spectrum. That said, they won’t work with DSL providers like CenturyLink.

When in doubt, try picking a brand that’s recommended by your service provider and carefully read the specifications of any model you’re considering. Fortunately, the models on our list will all provide you with excellent internet for exceptional gameplay. Just make sure your budget matches up (consider a less expensive unit or save up for a while), and you’ll be ready to go with the pros in no time!

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Our Process

For this guide on the best modems for gaming, our writers spent 6 hours researching over 25 of the most popular options from brands big and small. After comparing this data, we then read over 200 user reviews and narrowed our list down to the top 10 gaming modems on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.