Struggling to decide on a modem to use for gaming?
When looking to build the perfect gaming setup, the modem you use is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. A good modem will help ensure that your network will be provided with the fastest, most consistent speeds from your ISP. Oh, and it can help keep the latency low for better online gaming performance.
Please read on to find out what you should be looking for from a gaming modem on your home network, and the best modems for gaming.
Top Gaming Modem Choices
(the links above take you over to the modems on Amazon)
Gaming Modem Features To Look Out For
If you are trying to buy a modem for gaming, there are a few things you should take into consideration.
The first thing to do is check that your modem is going to work with your ISP. While most popular modems will work with most ISP’s, it is always worth checking before you buy. In fact, while you’re at it, you should check that your ISP actually allows you to use your own modem.
Once you have checked the compatibility of your modem, the next most important thing to check for is the speed it provides. You will need to make sure the speed your modem can handle is at least as fast as the speeds you get from your ISP.
It can also be well worth buying a modem that can handle faster speeds than your ISP. This way, if you decide to upgrade or if your ISP start to roll out faster speeds, you will be ready to take advantage.
There are also some other features you should look out for. First up is Ethernet ports. For the fastest speeds, you should make sure they are Gigabit ports. Some gaming routers also have more than one which can be good for connecting to more than one router or device.
As well as this, check out the DOCSIS version (if you get a cable internet connection). 3.1 is the fastest and will likely future-proof your network for some time to come. If you want to go with DOCSIS 3.0, for faster speeds you can look for a modem that allows a high channel bonding.
Should You Use A Modem And Router... Or Combo?
When looking to build your gaming setup, there is a lot to think about. One of the biggest questions you will have to answer is whether to buy a separate modem and router, or a modem/router combo.
First up, let’s take a look at modem/router combos. The main benefit of these products is that everything is in one box and should work together seamlessly. You can buy fairly powerful products that come with lots of high-end modem/router features that should be fine for gaming.
As well as this, you can often save a bit of money when compared to buying a separate modem and router with similar features.
There are downsides though. Firstly, you are stuck with both the built in modem and router. If after a year of use you decide that you want to upgrade to a more powerful router with more advanced features, you will need to buy both products all over again.
As well as this, if you want the absolute best gear for your gaming, it is much easier to find this if you buy separate products. You can buy a more powerful router and modem with all the features you need, separately. As well as this, the devices won’t be sharing their resources and all its computing power will be being used to help your multiplayer games.
Basically, if you are just after some casual gaming, a router/modem combo will probably be fine. However, for the most optimized gaming experience, it is generally better to buy separate products.
Should I Use Wifi?
This is a tough question. Generally, wifi is much more convenient so it may seem like it would be the obvious choice. As well as this, there will be plenty of people who do use wifi and generally have no problem (or very little problem) with the service they get.
However, for the best possible gaming experience, it is always best to use Ethernet. This is mainly due to the lower latency on an Ethernet connection when compared to wifi, although the difference in speeds of the two technologies could also come into it.
The speeds available over Ethernet are generally much quicker than wifi. While in the past this would have perhaps made quite a difference, nowadays, as the speeds available over wifi have surpassed most internet speeds the difference won’t be quite as big.
Wireless AC offers theoretical speeds of between 1.7 and 2.5 Gbps while this is far less than the 10 Gbps available from Cat6 Ethernet cables, it is still likely to be more than the speeds you get from internet providers.
The big difference, therefore, is in the reliability of Ethernet cables. Wifi networks are subject to congestion and interference from everything from other wifi networks to walls, and even your microwave.
This can cause numerous problems including dropped signal, higher latency issues, and even slower speeds across your network. These problems can all have a fairly significant impact on the quality of your gaming setup.
When you use Ethernet, these issues will become much less of a problem. Your connection should very rarely drop, you will experience much less latency (usually less than 1ms), and you will be more likely to get speeds towards the higher end of what your ISP provides.
Because of this, where possible, Ethernet is generally the best choice for gamers.
Best Modems (and Routers) For Gaming
Arris Surfboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem (Best Cable Modem For Gaming)
This is absolutely one of the most powerful modems out there from one of the most trusted brands by gamers. It uses DOCSIS 3.1 technology to provide your network with some of the fastest speeds possible.
Basically, you should have absolutely no problems with internet speeds for gaming if you use this modem. Arris claim that it will be powerful enough for virtual reality gaming.
What’s more, this modem is compatible or pending approval with most of the main cable network providers which means you should have no problem getting this set up. Just make sure to check before you buy.
The product is fairly large and weighty, but if you are just after great performance, this is unlikely to be much of an issue. All in all, this is certainly one of the best modems out there - the best modem for gaming.
Arris Surfboard SBG6900AC DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Wifi AC1900 (Cable Modem/Router Combo)
This product differs from the one above mainly due to the fact that it is a modem/router combo. While its modem is slightly less powerful, it makes up for this by including an excellent router in the package.
As you may have guessed from the name, the modem uses the DOCSIS 3.0 standard. However, it bonds a fairly hefty 16 download channels and 4 upload channels to get a maximum theoretical speed of up to 686Mbps.
As well as this, the modem is already certified to work with most major cable companies which means you should have no issues getting things set up.
In terms of its router, it should have no problem dealing with the speeds provided by the modem. It uses the wireless AC standard for fast speeds and is dual band which is great as it means you can sue the less congested 5GHz band for gaming and other important tasks.
More importantly for all the gamers out there, this modem/router has 4 Gigabit Ethernet cables for fast, consistent gaming.
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 D7000 (Best DSL Modem For Gaming)
If you have an internet plan over DSL instead of cable, then, unfortunately, the above two modems won’t work. Luckily, Netgear have produced a great product for DSL users in their Nighthawk AC1900 D7000 modem/router combo.
In terms of its modem, it supports speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps. This is superfast and likely to be more than you are currently getting from your ISP.
As well as the modem, this router comes with a feature-packed router that uses the AC wireless network standard. Like the above modem/router combo device, it is dual band so you do your gaming on the more congestion free 5GHz band. It also comes with Gigabit Ethernet cables.
One great feature for gaming is that the router comes with QoS (Quality of Service). This means that you can setup your router to prioritize your gaming traffic to give you the best possible experience.
All in all, if you use DSL instead of cable, this is a fantastic cable modem/router combo.
Game Over - Conclusion
As the entry point for your internet service, the modem you use is very important. When gaming you need to ensure that you have a fast and consistent connection and all the modems and modem/router combos on this list should provide you with that.
The best gaming modem is the Arris Surfboard SB8200
If your budget is big enough, think about purchasing a separate router and modem.?
Hopefully, you have enjoyed this article. Please let us know in the comments section if you have any questions!