A high-speed internet plan will only go so far if you have a slow modem or router. With Viasat internet, you can rent a Viasat modem from the company. Still, there are some reasons to consider buying your own. Rental fees can seem cheap at first, but you can end up paying more than if you bought it in the first place. Thankfully, many modern 2-in-1 router modems can serve as a Viasat compatible modem. So, when looking for the best modem for Viasat, there can be quite a few to consider.
Pro Tip: Check out our Viasat internet guide to learn more about Viasat’s plans.
Should you rent or purchase your Viasat equipment?
Pros and cons of renting a modem and router
It is the most convenient option
It is designed and chosen specifically for Viasat internet service and plans
It can end up costing more in fees than if you bought your own
Pros and cons of buying a modem and router
One-time cost with no ongoing fees
You can select the equipment with the features that you want
It usually costs more in the short term than renting does
Viasat 2-in-1 modem and router reviewed
|Device||Speed||Price||Features||Best plan||Best at/for|
|NETGEAR Orbi||3 Gbbps||$$$||Up to 5,000 sq/ft coverage, up to 25+ devices||Unlimited Platinum||Best all-around router|
|ARRIS Surfboard SBG7600AC2||600 Mbps||$$||DOCSIS 3.0, 32×8 channels||Unlimited Silver||Multiple internet devices|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000||400 Mbps||$$$||DOCSIS 3.0, 24×8 channels||Unlimited Silver||Versatility|
|VIASAT WiFi Gateway Modem||1 Gbps||$$$||3×3 channels, Viasat certified modems||Unlimited Gold||Convenience|
|Motorola MB8611||6 Gbps||$$||DOCSIS 3.1, 2.5 gigabyte Ethernet port||Unlimited Platinum||Standalone modem|
|ASUS Modem Router Combo||1 Gbps||$$$||DOCSIS 3.0 32×8 channel bonding||Unlimited Platinum||Gaming or streaming on multiple devices|
|ARRIS Surfboard SBG10||400 Mbps||$$||DOCSIS 3.0 16×4 channel bonding||Unlimited Bronze||Budget|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router||1.7 Gbps||$||Netgear Armor security||Unlimited Gold||Standalone router|
How we chose the best modem/router for Viasat
Considering the options available, we compared devices by speed, price, features and customer reviews. The different devices were then compared against the four primary Viasat internet plans to determine which was best for each. Beyond these comparisons, it is essential to consider the limitations of satellite internet plans.
While some modem and routers compatible with Viasat can deliver speeds over 1 Gbps, Viasat plans top out at 100 Mbps. With that in mind, the final winners provided the best features and speeds that a customer can use with a Viasat plan. Still, devices that exceed Viasat plans were kept, when their robust features and relatively low prices maintained competitiveness.
Best 2-in-1 for the Unlimited Bronze 12 plan: ARRIS Surfboard SBG10
The Arris Surfboard SBG10 has the speed potential to handle any of the Viasat plans. Still, it may perform better with the slower plans. This device can serve as a Viasat modem router combo. Meaning it can handle both wired and wireless networks. It has an AC1600 dual-band Wi-Fi router and two-gigabit Ethernet ports. It has 16×4 channel bonding, allowing it to process 16 streams of data being downloaded and four streams being uploaded.
For casual, everyday internet use with multiple devices, this device could function well on the Viasat Bronze and Silver plans. While the features and speeds aren’t incredible for the industry, they’re more than enough to handle most satellite internet plans for casual use, and it comes at a relatively low price.
Best 2-in-1 for the Unlimited Silver 25 plan: ARRIS Surfboard SBG7600AC2
The ARRIS Surfboard SBG7600AC2 comes with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem and AC2350 dual-band Wi-Fi built-in. This 2-in-1 offers four gigabit ports for high-speed wired connections. The device has 32×8 channel bonding, enabling it to manage many internet devices at once. The manufacturers recommend it for internet plans up to 600 Mbps, making it functional for any of the Viasat plans. Especially for busy households that run many internet devices simultaneously, this can be a suitable Viasat router modem combo.
This 2-in-1 comes at a higher price than some alternatives but can still save money over renting. For those who may consider switching providers in the future, it’s important to know that this device won’t work with DSL or fiber internet providers.
Best router for the Unlimited Gold 50 plan: NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WIFI Router
The NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi router offers an extensive set of features. This device can handle up to 25 internet devices at a time, running at fast speeds. With the Viasat Gold plan, you won’t be able to unlock the full potential of this router, but it still has much to offer. The NETGEAR Armor security system is included as a free 30-day trial, providing heightened home internet security on top of the DOS protection, VPN and a firewall. When it comes to additional features, the router has a whole suite, including dynamic QoS, smart connect, beamforming plus and others, making it a solid choice as a Viasat router.
The speeds of Viasat internet plans will limit some aspects of this router, but it still has plenty to offer. The combination of price and features make a persuasive argument. Many of the features, ranging from security elements to the number of devices supported, are helpful even without the fastest internet plans.
Best router for the Unlimited Platinum 100 plan: NETGEAR Orbi
For those who want to go all out with their router, the NETGEAR Orbi can provide an extensive range of both coverage and features. This router offers Wi-Fi coverage up to 5,000 sq. ft and supports more than 25 internet devices at a time. With wireless speeds up to 3 Gbps, it’s more than robust enough for even the Viasat Platinum plan. There are parental control options for those with children, although these require a paid subscription after the first month.
For security, the router includes a free trial of NETGEAR Armor. But it also has DOS protection, VPN and a firewall. This router is best for those who want everything that a router can offer and are willing to pay for the features. While this router can handle more speed than satellite internet offers, it can also be used with other providers.
What to look for in a Viasat compatible modem
Viasat plans are convenient when it comes to compatibility, giving customers a bit more leeway when purchasing their own modem. Some factors to consider are device security, speed, channel bonding and which version of DOCSIS it uses. Each of these variables plays a vital role in your home internet network. It can be helpful to compare the equipment you’re considering with the Viasat approved modem offered by the provider.
- Security: Security is increasingly important as the world becomes more digitized. A good way to check the security rating on your modem is to ensure it has WPA2 encryption, at a minimum, and to look for additional security features and software that may be included.
- Speed: Speed is what many people focus on first when they look at a modem, but doing that can end up tricking you. Fast speeds are important, but the modem can’t move any faster than your ISP plan allows.
- Channel bonding: The more streams of data flowing through a modem, the more it must work to maintain and send them. To reduce buffering and lag, modern modems operate multiple bonded channels. The more internet devices using the modem, the more important this is.
- DOCSIS technology: DOCSIS is a technology that allows your modem to interface with TV coaxial lines and use them for cable internet. DOCSIS 3.1 is the newest standard for this technology and provides faster speeds and more robust features than previous versions.
Need a faster internet plan?
Satellite internet has more limitations on speed than other types of internet, but there is still a range of options. Satellite and other internet service providers are constantly expanding their service areas. So, it’s always worth checking to see what providers are available in your area. If you’re looking for faster internet, these plans can be a good start.
The bottom line
Having your own equipment can save you money and give you greater control. It can even help you get more speed out of your internet service, in some situations. Nevertheless, even the best 2-in-1 modem router won’t be able to deliver speeds beyond your ISP plan. So, when considering Viasat equipment, always double-check the max speed on your plan, and consider a plan improvement if necessary.
By Joshua Cox-Steib
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