Best Modem Router Combo – 2021 Reviews and Top Picks
This modem router is designed for VDSL/ADSL connections only. It is compatible with most of the DSL Internet providers, but make sure you check out the manufacturer’s website before purchasing to see if the device is compatible with your service.
The modem is very easy to install. If it is compatible with your ISP, all you have to do is connect it to the phone line. Once connected, an auto-detection software will get you online in a matter of minutes.
The router uses a dual band Wi-Fi able to reach speeds of up to 1.9 Gigabytes per second. The router uses amplifiers to boost the wireless signal, so it will be more powerful and reach farther into your home. The Beamforming technology will create better and more stable connections with the wireless clients, increasing the performance.
The device is easy to use thanks to the NETGEAR genie app. The app allows you to monitor and control the network using a remote device, and allows other devices to connect to the network with ease.
Using the app will also allow you to block or allow access to certain wireless clients. The Parental Control feature is also easy to use, and you will be able to set online boundaries. The app is compatible with Mac, Windows, IOS and Android devices.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 DSL modem router combo might cost more than other models, but it will deliver the best Internet speed if you have a VDSL/ADSL connection. This is a device that will get the most out of your Internet plan.
7. Actiontec 300 Mbps ADSL Modem Router
This modem is designed to work with ADSL connections. It is compatible with all the major DSL service providers, but it’s not compatible with all the packs they offer. Make sure you check with your service provider to see if the device is compatible with your Internet plan before purchasing it.
With a preconfigured setup, the modem will automatically detect your Internet service settings. Once it detects the service provider, the installation wizard will connect the modem to the Internet in a couple of minutes.
The modem has an 802.11n build. The Wi-Fi network provides transfer speeds of up to 300 Mbps. The router comes with a WPA/WPA2 wireless encryption and a customizable firewall for increased protection.
This is a small and efficient ADSL modem router. It’s not flashy, and it doesn’t have many additional features, but it’s reliable and reasonably priced.
The Actiontec 300 Mbps ADSL modem router is a budget choice for people who have an ADSL Internet plan. While it doesn’t offer a lot in terms of Wi-Fi connection, it will still outperform the device rented out by your ISP.
Best Modem Router Combo Buyer’s Guide
If you’ve made up your mind about replacing the cheap modem your Internet service provider rents you, it’s better to familiarize yourself with the basics of how the best modem router combo devices work.
What’s the Difference Between a Modem and a Router?
Most people are by now familiar with both terms, but they don’t really know what the difference is between them. Both devices are commonly used in homes and offices every day, but even if they look similar at a glance, they work differently. In fact, they serve different purposes altogether.
A modem is a device that allows a client to connect to the Internet. It acts as a bridge between your ISP and yourself, allowing you to use their services. Every modem uses an Ethernet or a phone cable to connect to the Internet, but that’s about all it does. It does not distribute the new connection to other clients.
Unlike the modem, the router cannot create a connection with your ISP, but it can distribute it to all the devices at your disposal. You might remember the old routers as those devices full of Ethernet cables connecting computers and printers. New models offer Ethernet connections, but most of them rely on a good Wi-Fi connection nowadays.
Why Would You Need A Good Modem Router Combo?
As you can see in the previous section, you need both a modem and a router to connect to your ISP and distribute the connection with other devices. Most people are paying a rental fee of up to $120 every year for a modem. Unfortunately, the rental modem your ISP is providing you is usually not that good, and it’s actually slowing down your Internet connection.
Some companies have adapted to the new demands of their clients, and they are already providing a device that acts both as a modem and a wireless router. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to discover an ISP that provides a good modem router combo. They usually buy the cheapest available device in bulk, so they will lower their expenses. This can lead to connectivity problems because the device can have problems connecting to the Internet, or it can distribute the connection unevenly throughout the house.
This is where using an efficient modem wifi router combo comes in handy. As a matter of fact, using one will have several advantages.
Lower Electricity Bills
It’s cheaper to use one device instead of two. Even though modems and routers are usually not large consumers, using a single device will still lower your electricity bills.
All the devices we tested and included in our list outperform the ones you might rent from an ISP. They offer a faster and more stable connection to the Internet.
If you rented a router, you already know that the signal can be weaker in one part of the house or another. This can be a problem of the past if you upgrade to a good modem router device. Most of the models we included in our list have a larger range, so there will be fewer weak or blind spots.
It Pays For Itself
No, this is not a line taken straight from an infomercial. This is mathematics, clear and simple. If you’re paying a rent of $86 (sometimes it can reach up to $120) every year, and the device costs $150, it will pay for itself in a little under 2 years.
Most modems you can rent from your cable service offer a 8 x 4 broad connection. While this is still a good connection for most household users, it can become crowded at times. Having a broader connection will allow you to browse the Internet without lagging or waiting for the movie to buffer.
Even though modems and routers don’t usually take up much space, using a single device to do both jobs will make your desk look bigger. Some devices have a tower design to further limit the space they take.
Features Your Modem Router Combo Should Have
If you spent some time browsing for modem routers online, you definitely noticed that every model has some special features. Now you might be wondering, which of them are good, and which are useless? Should you spend your money on these features, or are they good only as a marketing strategy?
Dual Band Wireless
This feature is now used by most manufacturers. The reason behind this growth in popularity is its effectiveness. Dual band wireless networks work. They offer real benefits. And it makes sense if you think about it.
Unlike the place you used to live in ten years ago when you first started using a Wi-Fi router, your home is nowadays full of wireless devices. From smartphones to laptops, PCs, consoles, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and smart TVs, they all need and use a Wi-Fi network. And it’s not only your devices we’re talking about, it’s your neighbors as well.
A wireless network which uses a single Wi-Fi band can get a little crowded. Even if your neighbor doesn’t use the same network, his or hers network will produce the same 2.4 GHz frequency. When the frequency is crowded, some connectivity issues might appear. You might not notice them at first, but as you use more and more wireless devices, you will notice a small delay between your command and its execution.
This is where a second band comes in handy. The advanced devices, like tablets, PCs, laptops, smartphones, and consoles will be able to connect to the second band with a frequency of 5.0 GHz. Not only will this clear the first band, but it will also allow them to connect quicker to the Internet, increasing their performance.
Most manufacturers use this feature, even though they have a different name for it. Is it any good, though?
The theory behind this feature is that if a wireless client is constant and stable, the router will make the connection better.
Does any of this make sense? Think of it this way. A wireless router produces and distributes the Wi-Fi in an area around it, usually in a circle pattern. Instead of doing that, the focusing technology will transmit the wireless signal directly to a client that uses it as well. This will increase the amount of data shared between the router and the device, increasing the Internet speed and performance.
If the devices don’t have the focusing technology, they will still receive data from the router in the old fashioned way. Most smartphones, laptops, PCs, tablets, consoles and smart TVs are already using the technology.
This is a technology used by some manufacturers. They developed a booster which will increase the router’s signal. This will allow the Wi-Fi to reach farther into your house, so there will be less weak spots. This is a good feature to have, especially if you install the modem router combo in a large space.
Remote Device App
The remote device app is a great feature to have if you’re one of the people who constantly check their data plans and network status. The apps allow you to control the network remotely, so it will be easier to monitor and control the network. However, if you’re one of the people who doesn’t check on their network status after they install it, the app will be useless for you. It would be better to have a simple installation software.
Modem Routers Combo F.A.Q.
Where Should I Place My Modem Router?
Many people tend to place their modem routers close to their desktop computer if they have one. Some people will place the device on their desk even though they own a laptop. While this might help with your computer’s connectivity, it can be problematic for other wireless devices.
The best thing you can do is to place the modem router in a central position. Keep in mind that the Wi-Fi signal is affected by walls, so make sure there is clear space all around the router. The signal can also be affected by some environmental factors, like windows, mirrors, and steel, so place the router away from them.
How Do I Install My Modem Router?
There is no general answer to this question. Every device has its own installation process. Some of them have a preinstalled software which will run automatically once you connect the device to a power outlet and a laptop or computer. Others can be installed using an app. Most apps are compatible with many operating systems, so you will be able to install the modem router directly from your phone or tablet, without having to connect it to a laptop.
Lastly, some of them come with installation CD-s. Even though the newer models don’t use a CD any longer because many modern laptops and tablets don’t have a CD-Rom, you can still find models that do.
How Long Will My Modem Router Last?
Many people are reluctant to buy a modem router because they fear their investment will not be justified.
This is a misconception, and here’s why
Most modem router devices will last for at least 2 – 3 years if you won’t drop or physically harm them. Some people have been using the same device for more than 5 years without any problems.
Even if a new Internet speed technology will be available soon, it won’t affect most users. It will only affect those who have the fastest Internet plans available, and those users will only need a new device if they want to increase their speed.
Most devices pay for themselves in under two years. If you’re worried the device will break before it gets the chance to pay for itself, look for a model with an extended warranty period. Some models come with 2, even 3-year warranties.
Nonetheless, there will come a time when you will have to change your device. Whether it’s because a new technology appeared, or because it’s physically damaged.
Does My Modem Router Need Updating?
You should always make sure your modem router’s firmware is up to date. This will make the router perform at its top capacity. However, you shouldn’t check for updates every day. Most manufacturers release new software updates only once or twice each year.
In order to update your device, you have to log on using your username and password. You should find the software update option in the control panel. After updating the software, the modem router will automatically restart.
Buying separate devices for a router and a modem is a thing of the past. The best modem router combo devices not only do both jobs well, but they actually outperform most separate units.
Many people spend large amounts of money renting out a modem and a router from their Internet service providers. Some of them even spend money to rent out a modem router combo, and they are always complaining about the poor Internet quality they’re receiving.
Internet providers usually rent out outdated units just to make a profit, so if you want to reach the whole potential of your Internet plan, you should invest in a good modem router device.