You’re paying for fast internet so you can watch all of your favorite shows, movies and live streaming events whenever you want — in crystal-clear, high definition.
In order to make the most of your internet connection, you’re going to need a modem and router that is capable of making the most of what you pay for. While your internet service provider might offer you rental equipment, you may not want to be locked into their limited offerings. Instead, get a modem and router that can provide you with the features you need. This guide will help you determine the best modem and router for streaming.
|Name||Price||Features||Top speed||Best for|
|TP-Link Archer AX11000||$$$||802.11ac, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11b, 802.11ax, Tri-band||2.5 Gbps||Best router|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800||$$$$||DOCSIS 3.0, 2.4GHz, 5GHz||3,200 Mbps||Best 2-in-1|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk Multi-Gig Cable Modem CM2000||$$||DOCSIS 3.1||2.5 Gbps||Best modem|
|NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6220||$$||DOCSIS 3.0, 802.11a/b/g/n||1200 Mbps||Best bang for your buck|
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How we chose the best router for streaming
There are lots of modems and routers on the market today, and it can be difficult to navigate all of the options that are available. That’s why we’ve researched dozens of different options to determine which modems and routers are best for streaming. We took into consideration lots of details about these devices, including their specs like top speeds and additional features. We also considered the cost of the device and how it might fit into a person’s budget. We took into account the following considerations:
- Supported speeds
- Price and value
- Specific customer reviews
- What device it is best for
Overall best router for streaming: TP-Link Archer AX11000
If you are looking for speed and power in your router for multiple devices, look no further than the TP-Link Archer AX11000. Streamers need a high-speed router, and this one does not disappoint. With the latest in wireless technology, including support for WiFi 6, this router is on the cutting edge. Plus, with tri-band frequency, you can keep any device in your home connected. This makes it ideal for anyone living in a home with multiple people who might be streaming at the same time.
This router is capable of blazing-fast speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps, more than enough to support streaming shows in 4K. You can even connect via LAN port if you need a stable connection, but this router should be able to support as many wireless connections as you can throw at it without skipping a beat. The price is steep, but it will absolutely live up to expectations.
What we like
Blazing fast top speeds
WiFi 6 support
What we don’t like
Best two-in-one modem/router for streaming: NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800
When it comes to a two-in-one solution that provides both a modem and router for streaming, the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7800 is a great option. You’ll get the benefit of both a high speed modem and router in one package, and it’s compatible with many major internet providers — though you’ll want to check to see if yours is included. This easily qualifies as one of the best modems for watching tv on multiple screens.
This two-in-one device offers some of the best features of top routers and modems. Get support for DOCSIS 3.0 and 32×8 channel bonding, some of the best technology available in modern modems. Plus, you’ll get support for the latest wireless protocols and support for blazing fast speeds, up to 3,200 Mbps. Add that to a wide coverage area of up to 3,000 feet and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option to bring high speed internet to your home.
What we like
Fast top speeds
Large coverage area
What we don’t like
Not all internet carriers are supported
Best overall modem for streaming: NETGEAR Nighthawk Multi-Gig Cable Modem CM2000
One of the best things that you can get in a modem for streaming is a reliable connection. The NETGEAR Cable Modem CM500 provides exactly that. With DOCSIS 3.1, you’ll get the latest industry standard for your internet connection so you can ensure that you’re getting the most from your internet. You’ll also get support for the fastest speeds available, up to 2.5 Gbps. This is our favorite and best modem for watching tv.
This modem works with most cable internet providers. It is also compatible with the latest routers on the market, so you can get the most out of your home network with this modem serving as your internet hub.
What we like
Incredibly fast top speeds
Support for most cable internet providers
What we don’t like
Best bang-for-your-buck: NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6220
Sometimes you just want something that can get the job done without breaking the bank. That is where the NETGEAR Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C6220 comes in. This two-in-one is a great option for streamers, as it provides the latest internet standards along with speeds that are more than suitable for streaming video content. And is one of the best routers for multiple devices.
With DOCSIS 3.0 and 16×4 channel bonding, you’ll get a solid and stable internet connection out of the modem. As for the router, you can expect speeds up to 1,200 Mbps, wireless coverage that spans over 1,000 square feet and a price tag that won’t break the bank.
What we like
Speeds capable of streaming 4K content
What we don’t like
Not the fastest speeds available
Should you rent or purchase your router and modem for streaming equipment?
Things to consider for renting
Service provider customer support
Guaranteed software updates
Easy to return equipment
Guaranteed speed and plan compatibility
Repair service included from service provider
Monthly rental payments
Payments are thrown away on usage
Things to consider for purchasing
Long-term investment in equipment
Lower annual internet bill
Choose the equipment you want
Repair and equipment upgrades are your responsibility
Limited customer support after warranty expires or device ages
What to look for in a modem and router for streaming
- Speed: Any modem or router for streaming is going to need solid and reliable top speeds to provide you with the connection you need to stream your favorite content. As more and more content is available in ultra-high quality like 4K and 8K, you’re going to need a fast connection in order to make the most of it.
- Dual- or tri-band: A router for streaming needs to be able to handle multiple devices at once, especially in multi-person households. Dual-band and tri-band routers are better equipped to handle multiple devices connected at the same time and can maintain high speed connections even with multiple people streaming in the same house.
- DOCSIS: For your modem, make sure you consider Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, otherwise known as DOCSIS. This is an industry-standard for internet, and allows for the high-bandwidth transfer of data over coaxial cable systems. DOCSIS can range from 1.0 to 3.1. Streamers should look for modems with DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1.
- Provider compatibility: It might seem like it goes without saying, but you want to check to make sure that your modem and router are compatible with your internet service provider. Make sure you get a DSL modem and router for a DSL provider, a cable modem and router for a cable provider, and so on.
The bottom line
Having a modem and router for streaming can help make the most of your high speed internet connection. Purchasing your own modem and router gives you more flexibility and lets you pick the device that is right for you, but does carry a larger upfront cost. And don’t forget, your modem and router are only as good as your internet service provider, so make sure you have a plan with speeds fast enough to support streaming.
Need a faster internet plan?
While a modem and router is important for making the most of your internet connection, it can only provide you with the speeds and functionality that are available through your internet service provider. If you need faster internet, consider upgrading your plan or changing service providers.
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Written by:AJ Dellinger
AJ Dellinger is a writer and editor based in Madison, WI. He has spent the last 10 years writing about the internet, gadgets, technology and a variety of other topics. His work has appeared in Wired, Gizmodo, CN… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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