You may have heard that when you rent a modem from your internet provider, you often have to pay an extra monthly. Users of Charter Spectrum, however, will be pleased to know that there is no monthly fee for their modem!
While this at first sounds like great news, there does seem to be a catch - stopthecap.com reports that instead of simply providing you with a modem and not making you pay for it, they provide you with a modem/router combo and make you pay for wifi instead.
While this is cheaper than their previous fee (which was rental-based), it is nonetheless an unnecessary expense if you want to use your own modem, router, or modem/router combo.
At A Glance: Top Routers/Modems For Charter Internet
(the routers can be seen on Amazon - links above)
Best Routers And Modems For Charter Spectrum Internet
1. Netgear R7000P AC2300 (Best Router For Spectrum)
If you have a modem or want to use the modem provided by Charter Spectrum with the wifi turned off, then you will need to buy a wireless router. The Netgear R7000P is kind of a budget router these days, that offers some great features that will be fast enough for most people out there.
If speed is what you are after then you will be pleased to know that it uses the Wireless AC standard to help ensure faster speeds throughout your network. As well as this, you of course have the option of using Ethernet cables for those devices that need a consistent and reliable connection.
It has an 1GHz dual core processor so it should be able to handle multiple devices being connected at once and it also has some extra features such as Quality of Service, a USB 3.0 port, Beamforming, and the Netgear Genie app.
2. Netgear CM1200 (Best Cable Modem - up to 1Gbps)
This is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem that allows channel bonding on up to 32 download and 8 upload QAM channels. This gives it theoretical speeds of up to 10Gbps download and 2Gbps upload. Plenty here to allow you to stream HD video, play games, or download files for multiple devices - all dependent on your Spectrum package and home router of course. This modem lets you use the 1Gbps package.
For resilience, you can use link aggregation, which is compatible with Netgear WiFi 6 routers, or to a supporting ISP.
It has a one year warranty, a simple design and, like most consumer modems, it is very easy to set it up by simply plugging it in.
3. Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wifi 6 (Router Only)
If you care more about getting the best possible router for your network than you do about saving money on your internet bill, then the Netgear Nighthawk X6 could be the router for you.
It uses the wireless AC standard to provide combined wifi speeds of up to 3.2 Gbps, perfect for streaming multiple videos and transferring large files.
Its real standout feature is that it is Tri-Band, which allows wifi to be delivered on three separate bands. This will help reduce congestion and ensure you and your family get as consistent and fast a connection as possible. Also supports cabled Ethernet link aggregation.
All this is powered by a huge 1GHz dual core processor which means it won’t have trouble connecting multiple devices. Other features include beamforming, smart connect, and a USB 3.0 port for storage.
Basically, while it may take a bit longer before you start to save money, this is a great router for those that need the best possible performance on their network.
4. Netgear Nighthawk XR700 Gaming Router (Router Only)
Are you into online gaming? You are? Ok, read on....
The Netgear Nighthawk XR700 is a bit of a gaming beast. Designed to keep ping and lag low, and bandwidth high, this top-end router packs a solid punch.
It features a 1.7GHz quad core processor, which it uses to prioritize your gaming traffic over all the other non-gaming background traffic that isn't so important. Using Netgear's ABB (Anti-Buffer Bloat), the XR700 helps you enjoy your gaming, while the others are streaming Netflix and browsing Instagram of TikTok - knowing your gaming won't screw up.
ABB works with QoS (Quality of Service) to help protect your traffic.
You can also see who is using the bandwidth, and by how much by using the Device Manager.
This is a tri-band router, and technically an 802.11AD spec. Why? Because one band uses the 60GHz option. If you have an AD compatible device, that's great. However most of you will be using the 1.8Gbps 5GHz AC band (or 800Mbps 2.4GHz band). That is unless you use cabled Ethernet...
And Netgear have been kind to us 🙂 Aside from the WAN port, there are six 1Gbps LAN ports, two of which can be aggregated together. There's also a 10 Gig SFP port, which is great for plugging into a compatible switch - helping to extend your gaming network or beef up your local file storage capacity.
5. Asus RT-AC68U AC1900 Dual Band (Router Only)
Oh boy....This router will never get old! We still love it.
The RT-AC68U has been around for many years now, and it still does the job for most online users. One of the early Wireless AC routers, this is a dual band network hub, that delivers theoretical speeds up to 1.9Gbps.
It might not be the top choice for gamers. It once was, but has been superseded over the years), but don't let that put you off. This old skool bad boy can still do the grunt work for a normal family household.
It also has two USB ports (one of them USB 3.0), handy for plugging in a network drive. Helps you to access movies and shows from any device, anywhere around the home. And if you're worried about what the kids can access, there's built-in parental controls.
QoS will help you segregate network traffic around the home, for a more fluid and flowing network. The last thing you want is bandwidth-hoggers sucking your internet traffic away.
There's four gigabit LAN ports should you wish to use cabled Ethernet.
6. TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 (Best Budget Router)
If you really want to keep costs down, you could do worse than the TP-Link Archer A7.
The Archer A7 is a 1.75Gbps wireless throughput router that would would be suited to those who don't require high-intensity tasks carried out over the network, or have a lot of network users in their home.
This is the budget option that is good enough for most casual internet users. The ones who want to catch up on social media, send emails and watch standard videos. Unless you're an online gamer or have a home full of HD video streamers, the Archer A7 is probably good enough for you, and you'll save a few pennies too.
But what does it have?
Well, it's dual band across 5 and 2.4GHz. It has three directional antennas, so you can position the wireless beamwidth in the best direction for your home aesthetics, helping you to get more home network coverage.
For ports, it has 4x 1 Gigabit LAN ports and a USB 2.0 port for hooking up a drive or network printer.
There is some basic QoS to give you some control over network prioritization.
7. Asus RT-AC86U AC2900 (Router Only)
Another of our stronger contenders for the title of best router for Spectrum internet.
The RT-AC86U is a AC2900 (2,900Mbps or 2.9Gbps) router, with theoretical speeds capable of 2.1Gbps on the 5GHz band, and 750Mbps on the 2.4Gbps band.
It's designed for larger homes and has three adjustable antennas that can be angled strategically for better network coverage.
The 1.8GHz dual core CPU keeps the traffic running smoothly between the internet service and all the multiple devices on your home network. Included is Adaptive QoS for bandwidth management among clients - this helps sensitive network packets, like streaming and online gaming.
There's also two USB ports, one of them the preferred USB 3.0 for file storage. And there's four Gigabit LAN ports, so you can hook in your cabled devices too.
It is possible to easily create a wifi mesh network, if you have other compatible Asus routers (that run the AIMesh technology). This is handy if you want to boost your home network coverage even further.
With it's quad stream MU-MIMO capabilities, it can talk with more than one device at the same time. This helps boost wireless throughput even more.
8. Arris Surfboard SBG6900-RB (Best Modem/Router Combo)
If you want to keep using both a separate modem and router a bit much, then why not go for this offering from Arris? It combines a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with a Wireless AC1900 router.
The modem itself can handle internet download speeds of up to 686 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 131 Mbps. Of course, the speed you actually get will depend on the internet speed you get from Charter Spectrum but as long as they aren’t faster than the speeds the modem can handle you will be fine.
Even if the modem speeds are faster than the speeds you get, having a modem that can handle faster speeds will give you a bit of breathing space in case you choose to upgrade your service.
The router will have no problems handling the speeds provided by the modem (as long as you are in range). In fact, its Wireless AC will actually allow theoretical network speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps. This is great for handling multiple clients over your network.
The product comes with a 2-year warranty meaning you know you will be able to save on your internet bill for at least 2-years.
9. Motorola MG7700 (Cable Modem/ Wifi Router Combo)
This is our last pick in the list. it's a dedicated cable modem....so you'll still need to connect a router if you're looking for wifi or being able to use more than one network device to connect to the internet service.
This modem supports an internet speed up to 650Mbps, so suitable for the 400Mbps download Spectrum internet package.
It houses a 1.9Gbps Wireless AC radio over two bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz).
It's got 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports if you wan to bypass wifi for any reason. Sadly, there's no USB option, which might be an issue for some of you.
Why Should I Use My Own Router Or Modem?
As we talked about earlier, if you buy your own modem or router and stop paying Charter Spectrum’s wifi fee, it should be possible to save money over the long term. Despite the bigger outlay of having to buy your own devices, for all but the most expensive modems and routers, you should be able to recoup your fee. In fact even top-end expensive routers will pay themselves off after a few years.
While there are plenty of other reasons to use your own modem and router, if saving money is your main one, you should double-check that you are currently paying a rental fee and that they are happy to waive the fee if you use your own products.
Choose A Router With The Features You Want
Routers and modem/router combos these days have a ton of features to make your network as efficient as possible. Things such as the latest wifi standards (AX or AC), beamforming, up-to-date QoS, VPNs, the wifi range, and more can all make a big difference to your network.
While the modem you rent from Charter Spectrum will certainly have some of these features, it may be lacking in others. Oftentimes the motherboards of standard modems (and routers) just aren't quite up to the job of the bigger tasks, especially when there are multiple devices on your network.
Therefore, the one way to help you get all the features you want is to buy and use your own modem/router. Of course, buying a more powerful router may take away some of the money saving benefits, however, if you get the exact router you want to use, who can say it isn’t worth it?
A lot of users are attracted to the latest Wifi 6 (802.11ax) standard. The Nighthawk AX12 above in our list has this standard. it's the one to go for should you want a good router for multiple devices. Wireless AC (802.11ac) is still pretty decent too, and the ones we have in the list will be good enough for most people.
Using DD-WRT Firmware
If you really want to do things your own way when it comes to your wireless router, then installing your own firmware can be a great idea. DD-WRT is one of the most popular router firmware and is completely open source.
By installing DD-WRT on your router you can get a number of advanced router features such as the ability to install a VPN on your router, use its advanced network monitoring tool, as well as configure features such as QoS.
Be warned, however, that installing a new firmware on your router can render your router unusable if there are problems during setup. As such, you should ensure you know exactly what you are in for before implementing this option. Also note that a router's warranty is likely to be void if you flash the firmware.
Approved Charter Modems
Before you go and splash out on a new modem, it is important to know that your new modem will work with the service provided by Charter. They have a list of modems that work with their service on their website.
One thing to note is that DOCSIS 1.0 modems will not work with their service. DOCSIS is the standard that modems use to provide internet to your home. DOCSIS is an old standard and as such is too slow for the service Charter Spectrum offer.
If you want the highest speeds possible, then you should go for a DOCSIS 3.0 (or 3.1) modem, which allows many channels to be bonded together (Basically, the more channels your modem can bond together, the faster your speeds will be).
You should also make sure when you buy a modem that it can handle the speeds you receive from Charter Spectrum. While it is unlikely, if your modem isn’t up to the task, it could bottleneck the speeds you receive.
Of course, all the modems received in this article will work with Charter Spectrum internet.
So there you have it. That's our rundown of the 9 best routers for Spectrum internet. There are three outstanding products on this list. The best router only is the Netgear R7000P (which is such a great all-rounder), but there's a few great routers that give it a close run, like the Netgear Nighthawk AX12
Buying your own router for your Internet service isn't mandatory, but it should start saving you money after a few months to a year of switching over... And, depending on your needs, a dedicated router will most likely be a better performer than the modem/router that Charter Spectrum provide.
This is especially the case if there are online gamers in your home, 4K video streamers, or if you have multiple users accessing the internet at the same time. It all adds up, and a dedicated high speed router can help take the workload.
Make sure you think about this and then choose the best wireless modem/router for you!
Thanks for reading and please ask below if you have any questions...