Finding the Best Router For Optimum is an endeavor that is certainly worth your time. When you look at the available options, it can seem overwhelming if you are unfamiliar with the industry.
That's why we have broken down the tech behind the routers that will work with your network at home if you use Optimum Internet.
Have you experienced poor quality connectivity using one of the routers that Optimum Internet offers to rent out to their customers? Well, if you have, it could potentially be due to the quality of router that Optimum supplied.
Here are some of the best alternatives you can use to boost your home WiFi network's speed and efficiency.
Top 5 Router Picks
The links above will take you direct to Amazon. Scroll down below to read more info on these routers
7 Best Optimum Routers And Modems
1. Netgear Nighthawk R7000 (Best Router Only)
An old favorite of ours. It still holds its own today. Netgear has delivered one of the all-time beauties with this one: The Nighthawk R7000.
It can cover up to 1800 ft.² inside of your house. The beamforming antennas and the dual-band frequency coverage allow you to access reliable Internet from anywhere within your home easily.
The router is capable of supporting up to 1.9Gbps theoretical speeds between all of its wireless connections.
The R7000 is also capable of broadcasting wirelessly to at least 30 different devices simultaneously.
There are also plenty of network security features, including a double firewall. If you are willing to spend $5 each month as a parent, you can have an easy to control portal to the Internet with the Circle Smart parental control app. It’s a great way to help give you peace of mind that your kids are protected from the darker side of online browsing.
Dual band radio coverage means that you'll have more connection options for your older and newer gadgets.
The addition of four Ethernet ports for wired connections means that you will not lack your wired devices.
2. Motorola MB7621 (Best Modem Only)
If you already have a router, and you only want to look at upgrading your home modem, then you may be interested in looking at the MB7621, manufactured by Motorola.
It is only a modem and does not offer routing or wireless technology.
That means that this will not offer any WiFi connections unless you get a router separately. This may not be perfect for all scenarios, but if you need only a modem, it is one of the most affordable ones that you can use to connect to a cable Internet connection.
If you want to avoid wasting money renting equipment each month from your cable Internet service provider, but you do not want to break the bank purchasing an incredibly expensive piece of equipment, this would be the ideal compromise.
The MB7621 can offer speeds up to 600Mbps, which is faster than most people receive from the equipment that they rent.
3. Netgear Nighthawk RAX80 (Best Router For Gaming)
If you’re a serious gamer, then you understand how important a high-quality Internet connection can be. And if you live in a large house and you need a device that will provide solid and wide-ranging wireless connectivity. It is capable of providing supreme WiFi coverage to 2500 ft.² worth of an area.
The Nighthawk RAX80 is, in our opinion, the best choice available today for gamers. Think of it as the aforementioned R7000….on steroids. Again, like the R7000, this is a router (without modem).
It can stream up to 8 wireless devices simultaneously – topping out at 2Gbps. So there’s plenty of juice, even if you have super-fast Internet.
4. Netgear Orbi (Best Wi-Fi Mesh System)
Sometimes if you have a particularly large home, it may be impossible for you to get a wireless connection throughout your abode with only one router. You could try wireless extenders, but they can be a pain. Alternatively, you may be better off by getting a mesh WiFi system.
These systems will allow you to network multiple wireless access points together to give you a large network that covers the entire home. These router mesh systems are pretty easy to set up and are a popular choice for those who want a stress-free network to cover a multi-story home.
They can support up to 3Gbps of data wirelessly, so you hopefully won’t have any wifi bottleneck issues, which can slow your network down.
5. Arris Surfboard SBG6950AC2 (Best Router Modem Combo 1Gbps)
If you are looking for a device that will take care of your needs and will make things relatively simple, this would be a good choice. We believe that the combination of a router and a modem may not always be the best choice for the purists, but it is a no-brainer for people who just want to use standard Internet and are looking to save space.
You do not need to set up multiple devices; all you will do is plug this one in, and you will be good to go.
If you want something affordable and will get the job done without being complicated to set up, it is hard to find something better than this little router/modem combo.
6. Motorola MG7550 (Best Modem Router Combo 686Mbps)
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly combo router, that’s reliable, but not doesn’t have to be the fastest kid in town, then you could do worse than the MG7550.
While it is rated for up to 375Mbps per second on the Internet download speed (16x4 DOCSIS 3.0), that might actually be enough for most users. In fact, you live in a smaller home and do not have multiple connections, this would be perfect.
You can avoid wasting money on more router than you need, yet still have all of your requirements met that you have been looking for in a high-quality router.
Has Wireless AC1900 and 4x Ethernet ports.
7. TP-Link Archer C7 (Best Budget Router)
If you are primarily concerned about the end price when you are shopping for products, this could be the best router for you. It is a reasonable choice, compared to the offerings that are dished out for rent by Optimum.
However, it is not going to break the bank either. It offers dual-band coverage that can support several HD streams at the same time.
There are also 4x wired Ethernet connections if you need to have a wired connection for your devices. If you want to, you can also use the USB connection to share media with devices on the network easily.
Why Should You Use Your Own WiFi Router Modem With Optimum?
When you sign up for cable Internet service through Optimum, they will offer you the option to rent a piece of equipment that will serve as your router and modem. If you go with this option, it will cost you $10 a month (at time of writing). There are plenty of reasons to choose a different router, though.
Save Money On Rentals
Once you by your own router, you will not have to pay for rentals again. That means that you will save $10 each month every month.
In the long run, it will add up to be a substantial amount if you go with the typical method of renting the equipment; then, after a year, you will have paid nearly $120 for a piece of equipment that you still do not own.
It makes much more sense to spend the money now and invest in something that will be yours that you do not have to pay for continually.
Faster And More Reliable Wi-Fi Coverage
The routers that are dished out by Optimum Internet are not always the best option for a sizeable portion of users. If you upgrade your router, you may well have a better time accessing your WiFi network when you are at home. It should respond more quickly and suffer fewer outages.
If you have been getting frustrated with dropped connections, this is oftentimes because of poorer quality chipsets, resulting in having to regularly power cycle your router or modem. It will soon become tedious when your favorite shows online are getting interrupted. It’s not a lot of fun if you have to keep getting up to reset your router.
Beefier Routers Are Less Likely To Crash
Higher-quality routers will often be more stable. The manufacturers that develop these routers put more time into making sure that their equipment works. You will pay less in the long run for a better piece of equipment if you get your own router.
Upgrading your home router to a higher quality version (better quality chipsets) will boost your home network's stability.
More Options For Customization
The routers that Optimum rents out do not have many options available for people who would like to customize their equipment. When you choose a router on your own, then there are often many more options available to customize the equipment as you see fit.
You can even buy a router that can have open source firmware installed on it, like DD-WRT. Options aplenty!
Should I Get A Separate Router And Modem Or A Combo Unit?
Buying separate units usually means you have more control over configuration and wireless/internet data throughputs.
Combined units try to pack everything under one hood and as a result can suffer in the specs department. This point of view is usually only a consideration for the more hardcore user out there.One advantage of combo units is that they save space. One box instead of two – yay!
How Do I Know If A Router Or Modem Is Compatible With Optimum Internet?
The only 100% way to know whether a router will be compatible with your Internet is to talk with Optimum themselves. In general, pretty much all routers (with an Ethernet WAN port) and most modems will be compatible.
Any DOCSIS 3.0 modem will work, but if you want Optimum Voice, you must use a modem approved by Optimum. At time of writing, they are:
- Arris TM822
- Motorola SBV6220
Router Features & Considerations
Routers can have many different features. It is important to look at the features that each router has to see if it will meet your needs. The following features are the most likely to impact a user's daily performance.
A LAN port is where you connect wired Ethernet devices to your home network. This was once the normal go-to way to connect to the Internet, but has been surpassed by wifi over the last decade or so.
However, some users today prefer to use cabled Ethernet for devices that love low latency and the highest consistent throughput. Gamers will usually benefit from cabled Ethernet. When playing online games, they will want the tech to react as fast as possible. Having any kind of lag will put them at a disadvantage – particularly on shoot ‘em ups.
On some routers, you can use link aggregation, which enables two Ethernet ports to be used. This is good for doubling throughput speeds and having some redundancy should a cable fail for whatever reason. NAS drives are often used with this type of technology.
Dual Or Tri Band
You may see the term Dual band or Tri band on a router’s packaging. These are in fact different mini-wifi networks that help you connect more of your wireless devices to your router with less chance of congestion.
Multi-User - Multiple In Multiple Out. Traditionally, wifi hotspots any allowed one device to talk to the network at any one time. Now you can have several do this concurrently (up to 8 these days).
This helps make your wifi network more efficient. You can see these gains in homes with big families.
Some of the newer WiFi home network systems offer what is called a “mesh” system. This allows you to network multiple wireless access points (with a router) together to provide unparalleled WiFi coverage inside your home.
Think of mesh systems as a router with multiple wireless extenders….out of the box.
These features are perfect for people that have a massive home. They are particularly useful for multi-storey residences.
So there you go. It’s possible to save $$$s by buying your own router/modem and not renting.
In our opinion, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 is the top choice for the best router. We have selected this one because it offers a large coverage area and offers the best bang for buck for most users. The other offering from Netgear (the RAX80), is the choice for gamers.
The Motorola MB7621 is the choice for a standalone modem, and if you want a combo modem/router, check out the Arris Surfboard SBG6950AC2.
And that’s pretty much it! Good luck with your search and hopefully you can put your saved pennies into your bank account rather than Optimums.
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