Best Modem for Gaming and Router Combo for 2020

What's worse than a wire-filled mess scattered throughout your home? Almost nothing, and there isn't an easier way to clean up that mess than by trading in your router and modem for a two-in-one router/modem device. Don't worry about gaming and streaming. These products have plenty of speed and power.

Brands like NETGEAR and ARRIS are leading the charge, offering high-quality products that look great and perform even better. Their new futuristic standards also users to get the highest possible connection speeds and their multiple channels help to greatly reduce lag.

Forget about renting a modem router combo from your internet company. You'll save hundreds of dollars over the long run by purchasing one outright. Some companies only charge around $5 per month, but others are as high as $25 per month. Stop paying monthly to rent subpar equipment.

Also pay close attention to the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification system, or DOCSIS. While most routers run DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 and establish telecommunication standards of around 1 Gbps, newer models can run newer DOCSIS platforms that top out at nearly 10 times that speed. These speeds are currently reliable, but will be in the future. It is similar to purchasing a 4K HDR television. It might not be the most efficient device on the market right now, but it will be soon.

For the router part, you'll want to look at models that have dual-band designs and beamforming technologies. This way, it can focus the WiFi signals to your gaming console and experience faster speeds. If the router has both of these specifications, the modem part that comes with it should be fine. Just make sure to increase your internet service provider's (ISP) speed if you're experience slow load times. It isn't always the router or modem's fault.

Best Modem Router Combo for Gaming:

1. NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo

Cable Provider Compatibility: All Major Cable Providers (and Xfinity, Spectrum, COX)

Best for Cable Internet Plan Speed: Up to 300Mbps

Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1600Mbps

Wi-Fi Coverage: Up to 1500 sq ft (and 25 devices)

Modem Technology: DOCSIS 3.0 and 16x4 Channel Bonding

Connectivity Technology: WLAN, USB, LAN

Data Transfer Rate: 1Gbps

The NETGEAR Nighthawk is one of the best modem router combs on the market in 2020. With ultra-fast WiFi performance that covers over 3,000 square feet and 45 devices, even mansions can't slow this device down. It's lightning quick too, capable of handling cable provider plans of up to 2 gigabits. And that speed can be optimized with a wired connection through four gigabit ethernet ports or 2 high-speed USB 3.0 ports. Finally, this product supports both speed and security with DOCSIS 3.1 32x8 channel bonding and WPA2 wireless security protocols.

Don't worry about finding the perfect internet service providers either. the NETGEAR Nighthawks works with all major cable providers, as well as Xfinity, Spectrum, and COX. And keep the kids from spending all day surfing the web with built-in parental controls. What more could you ask for? 

         Pros

  • Powerful 1.5GHZ processor
  • Supports high internet speeds over DOCSIS 3.1 standard
  • ​Works with Comcast and COX ISPs ​
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    Features a dual-band router with up to 3200 Wi-Fi Speeds
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    Provides extensive coverage with the high-speed antennas
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    It offers parental controls and creating of a guest network
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    Two 3.0 USB ports

Cons

  • There are problems with Xfinity compatibility in some areas
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    It has some software bugs that cause signal drops.

2. ARRIS SURFboard (32x8) DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Plus AC1750 Dual Band WiFi Router

Cable Provider Compatibility: All Major Cable Providers (and Xfinity, Spectrum, COX)

Best for Cable Internet Plan Speed: Up to 400Mbps

Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1750Mbps

Wi-Fi Coverage: Up to 1500 sq ft (and 25 devices)

Modem Technology: DOCSIS 3.0 and 32x8 Channel Bonding

Connectivity Technology: Ethernet, Wireless

Data Transfer Rate: 1.4Gbps

ARRIS's SURFboard is one of the best modem router combinations on the market. With beamforming, an advanced radio wave technology, it creates a stronger, faster and more reliable wireless communication between the router and devices. Most devices are two-in-one, but this monster of a product is actually three-in-one with a 32x8 cable modem, dual band WiFi router and 4-port gigabit ethernet router.

This product supports plans of 300 Mbps and above and is compatible with all major cable providers, including Xfinity, Spectrum, and COX. And it has one of the best and strongest security systems currently available with McAfee Secure Whole Home Internet and 1.4 Gbps DOCSIS download speeds. You can control the entire setup from your smartphone, which makes it abundantly easy to use. 

           Pros

  • Supports beamforming technologies
  • Dual-band connectivity is ​great for gaming
  • 4-port gigabit ethernet router
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    ​Comes with McAfee security software free for three years
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    32x8 channel bonding
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    Allows setting of parental controls from your smartphone

        Cons

  • ​Problems with provisioning, which can give you low 90 Mbps speeds when on a 250 Mbps Comcast plan
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    ​Not compatible with fiber optic systems

3. Motorola MG7700 (24x8) Cable Modem Plus AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router

Cable Provider Compatibility: All Major Cable Providers (and Xfinity, Spectrum, COX)

Best for Cable Internet Plan Speed: Up to 400Mbps

Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1900Mbps

Wi-Fi Coverage: Up to 1500 sq ft (and 25 devices)

Modem Technology: DOCSIS 3.0 and 24x8 Channel Bonding

Connectivity Technology: WiFi Built In, Ethernet

Data Transfer Rate: 1Gbps

Motorola might not be at the top of the cell phone market these days, but as far as routers and modems are concern, they're still one of the best. This Motorola MG7700 features dual-band technology with gigabit ethernet ports and power boost WiFi amplifiers. The maximum service speed is 1000 Mbps, and this device supports service speeds up to 650 Mbps. It is also compatible with all major cable providers, including Xfinity, Spectrum, and COX.

The wireless power boost increases the device's speed and range, allowing for WiFi coverage up to 1500 square feet across 25 different devices. And beamforming helps to increase that speed and range. Most importantly, a Broadcom chipset provides security by blocking service attacks. 

         Pros

  • ​Has three internal antennas
  • ​Offers wireless power boost and beamforming technologies
  • ​24x8 downstream and upstream channels provide faster speeds
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    Comes with advanced firewall
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    Jitter-free Broadcom modem chipset

      Cons

  • ​More expensive than NETGEAR's Nighthawk AC1900 24x8
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    Not compatible with DSL, fiber optics, and satellite services

4. Netgear CM700 DOCSIS 3.0 32 x 8, R8000 Cable Modem Router Bundle: Best Value

Cable Provider Compatibility: All Major Cable Providers (and Xfinity, Spectrum, COX)

Best for Cable Internet Plan Speed: Up to 300Mbps

Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1300Mbps

Wi-Fi Coverage: Up to 3500 sq ft (and 50 devices)

Modem Technology: DOCSIS 3.0 and 32x8 Channel Bonding

Connectivity Technology: Wireless

Data Transfer Rate: 3.2Gbps

This NETGEAR device is similar to the Nighthawk, but a little less impressive. It comes with cable transfer speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps, and 32 download and 8 upstream channels. Its multiple devices are both high quality, as the router is tri-band, delivering more WiFi to more devices. And its 1GHz dual-core processor produces a lag-free gaming experience.

As far as USB ports are concerned, it has both 2.0 and one 3.0 USB ports. It also comes with wired ethernet ports to make sure your connection never fails. NETGEAR really put out a great product, and for those that aren't interested in the Nighthawk, the CM700 could be the perfect fit. 

Pros

  • Offers great internet speeds up to 1.4 Gbps
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    Tri-band connectivity with the R8000 router
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    Offers QoS, guest networks, and parental controls
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    Top Seller
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    Up to 50 devices

      Cons

  • ​2.4GHz band is buggy
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    Netgear does not offer much help when you experience any connection dropouts

5. Netgear Nighthawk C7000-1AZNAS) Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router Combo

Cable Provider Compatibility: All Major Cable Providers (and Xfinity, Spectrum, COX)

Best for Cable Internet Plan Speed: Up to 400Mbps

Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1900Mbps

Wi-Fi Coverage: Up to 1800 sq ft (and 30 devices)

Modem Technology: DOCSIS 3.0 and 24x8 Channel Bonding

Connectivity Technology: WLAN, USB, LAN

Data Transfer Rate: 1.9Gbps

Another NETGEAR modem, this cheap alternative to the best modem router combo in the world is great for people that want to save a little money but still get a great 'bang for their buck. As far great modem router combos in 2020 are concerned, it doesn't get much better in terms of value. Getting multiple devices for under $200 is a complete steal.

With max download speeds up to 400Mbps, this NETGEAR device can handle most high-speed internet plans. Forget about connection issues with four gigabit ethernet ports and two USB ports. It's versatile enough to connect gaming consoles, computer, televisions, and much more. 

      Pros

  • Delivers up to 960Mbps cable modem speeds
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    ​Offers 1.9Gbps Wi-Fi speeds
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    Provides channel bonding for fast internet speeds during peak hours
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    Gigabit Ethernet ports are ​great for gaming
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    It has a 1.6GHz combined processor
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    Settings can be managed on the genie app

    Cons

  • ​Doesn't support WiFi mesh system
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    ​Only one USB 2.0 port

6. TP-Link Archer CR1900 up to 1000Mbps Speeds

Cable Provider Compatibility: All Major Cable Providers (and Xfinity and Spectrum)

Best for Cable Internet Plan Speed: Up to 600Mbps

Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1900Mbps

Wi-Fi Coverage: Up to 1500 sq ft (and 25 devices)

Modem Technology: DOCSIS 3.0 and 24x8 Channel Bonding

Connectivity Technology: WiFi

Data Transfer Rate: 1Gbps

TP-Link isn't exactly a household name in the same way as NETGEAR's Nighthawk or the ARRIS Surfboard, but it'll get the job done just the same. With three internal antennas and high-power amplifiers to boost signal strength, it has increased WiFi range and device connection capabilities. It has some of the best upload and download speeds, and overall, is one of the best modem router combinations on the market.

It is great for gaming and streaming, and it comes with an industry-leading two-year warranty, so forget about it break before you recoup your money from that pesky cable company. 

      Pros

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    Supports gaming and 4K streaming
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    1GHz dual-core processor
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    Great and easy set up in minutes
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    Offers up to 1Gbps over cable modem
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    It has guest Wi-Fi and parental controls
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    Supports beamforming ​technologies

    Cons

  • ​Antennas are not enough for heavy traffic
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    ​Can’t be wall mounted

7. Motorola MG7550 16x4 Cable Modem Router for Casual Gaming

Cable Provider Compatibility: All Major Cable Providers (and Xfinity, Spectrum, COX)

Best for Cable Internet Plan Speed: Up to 300Mbps

Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1900Mbps

Wi-Fi Coverage: Up to 1500 sq ft (and 25 devices)

Modem Technology: DOCSIS 3.0 and 16x4 Channel Bonding

Connectivity Technology: WiFi

Data Transfer Rate: 600Mbps

This Motorola is another one of the best modem router combos in the world in 2020. It comes fully-equipped with Wireless Power Boost, a built-in high-speed WiFi router, and a two-year warranty to ensure you'll get your money back from the internet company, assuming you're currently renting their product. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with any USB ports, but it does have four spots for a gigabit ethernet connection.

Outside of NETGEAR's Nighthawk product line, the ARRIS Surfboard, and other, more-advanced Motorola products, this one is great. It doesn't have to be the absolute best cable modem router combo of 2020 to win over customer's hearts and mind. It just has to be close.

      Pros

  • ​Has 10 LEDs to show connectivity status
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    Ruggedized with a power surge protector
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    Supports iPv4 and iPv6
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    ​Has AnyBeam beamforming technology and power boost support
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    Detailed settings management software

    Cons

  • ​Security issues Motorola is aware of and needs to fix
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    ​Has problems connecting over Comcast

8. Asus CM-32 Cable Modem Router Combo for Hardcore Gamers

Asus CM-32 is designed for gaming thanks to its ability to deliver up to 1734Mbps Wi-Fi speeds.

Design Features

Using its dual frequency router, Asus CM-32 makes for a superior model that supports high internet speeds. It comes pre-configured to eliminate any setup hassles. If you are not tech savvy, comes with the SSID name and password, so you don’t have to make changes if you don’t want to.

With this model, you get to enjoy MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multi-Input Multi-Output) technology. Every device in your home can connect simultaneously to the network instead of one at a time. What’s more, it explores AiRadar beamforming technology to transmit signals even further.

The cable modem has 32 x 8 channel bonding for download speeds up to 1.3Gbps. It has a 1.6GHz combined process responsible for running all the functions without delay. It is a powerful CPU that eliminates input lags when running heavy traffic to your gaming stations.

Performance

What we like most about Asus CM-32 is its ability to deliver full bandwidth. It is a good candidate for high internet demands, especially for our gaming needs. Because it combines beamforming and MU-MIMO, there’s no doubt about the signal strength without having dropouts from time to time.

Snags

Asus CM-32 says in the instructions to go to router.asus.com which is incorrect. It needs inputting the device’s default IP address to go to the web interface that initializes the setup process.

Verdict:

From versatility to blazing speeds the Asus CM-32 perfectly targets hardcore gamers. It packs a punch with impressive maximum throughput, and it can handle most internet plans. Even with the Intel Puma chip, it does not suffer from dropped connections and latency.

      Pros

  • Supports MU-MIMO and beamforming technologies
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    It is pre-configured for simple setup
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    Two USB 2.0 ports and four Gigabit Ethernet ports
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    32 x 8 channel bonding
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    Full bandwidth at 1734Mbps data rates

    Cons

  • The USB ports do not support turbo transfer speeds
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    It does not support Comcast Voice/TV

9. Motorola VDSL2/ADSL2+ Modem Router Combo

If your internet provider choices are Frontier, CenturyLink, a VDSL or ADSL, the Motorola VDSL2/ADSL2+ modem router combo is a top consideration for gaming speeds.

Design Features

This device looks much like a TP-Link router without the antennas. It has the LED indicators on the front face so you can know your connection status. This device combines an AC1900 Gigabit router with the VDSL2/ADSL2+ modem. It uses telephone wiring for connection so you can say goodbye to rental fees for your modem.

We particularly like that it sets up easy and takes up the least space on your desk. And thankfully, it won’t be falling off since it has a stability stand. It also receives advanced surge and lightning protection meaning it can live through a storm.

Performance

Motorola VDSL2/ADSL2+ supports the 802.11n, ac, g, and b wireless protocols. It will work great with your gaming station as well as PCs, smart TVs, tablets, and smartphones. It provides high-speed internet so you will never feel left out if your area only has VDSL and ADSL internet options.

Snags

Motorola VDSL2/ADSL2+ is not compatible with AT&T and Verizon services. It is kind of limiting, and you also need to know if you have bonded or VDSL or bonded ADSL.

Verdict:

Motorola VDSL2/ADSL2+ makes it known you don’t have to own a cable modem router to have excellent internet. This model does more than just surf the web since you can also game and download files at impressive speeds.

      Pros

  • Internet speeds are up to 100mbps on the modem side
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    It comes with an AC1900 router
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    It supports sharing of media files through DNLA
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    It is capable of connecting over a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
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    The router supports iPv4 and iPv6

    Cons

  • One USB 2.0 port
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    Isolated complaint about compatibility with Frontier

10. Netgear Nighthawk D7000 AC1900 VDSL/ADSL Modem Router Combo

Cable Provider Compatibility: All DSL ISPs

Best for Cable Internet Plan Speed: Up to 300Mbps

Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1900Mbps

Wi-Fi Coverage: Up to 1500 sq ft (and 25 devices)

Connectivity Technology: WiFi

Data Transfer Rate: 1.9Gbps

Surprise! Another NETGEAR product makes the list, and yet again, it is a Nighthawk product. This device might be slightly ugly, but it works extremely well, at least for those with a DSL internet connection. It is not compatible with upgraded vectoring CenturyLink DSLAM. It is also not compatible with Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-Verse or bonded VDSL. If you have any of those services, consider the ARRIS Surfboard or another NETGEAR product.

It does provide plenty of WiFi coverage and connects to ample devices. Its data rate transfer is high, and with WiFi speeds up to 1900 Mbps, it will provide a lag-free gaming experience. While it isn't the best modem router combo in the world, it'll get the job done. 

      Pros

  • ​Supports remote access through iOS and Android devices
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    ​Has 1 USB 3.0 and 4 gigabit ethernet ports
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    Three external antennas have extensive reach in large homes
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    1GHz dual-core processor
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    Supports beamforming ​technologies

    Cons

  • ​Does not support bonded VDSL
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    ​Not discrete and rather large

Buyer's Guide: Modem Router Combo for Gaming

When deciding between a buying a router and then a modem as separate devices or a modem router combo device in 2020, it makes sense to consider the pros and cons of each. Below are a few specs to consider when purchasing a modem router combo, as well as answers to a few frequently asked questions regarding modem router combos and gaming.

Specs to Consider

While purchasing a router and modem combo can seem confusing at first, there are actually only a few considerations you'll have to deal with. Different than dealing with various gaming monitor or television specs, such as input lag, screen size and others, routers and modems need to be fast, secure and worth the price.

Speed

One of the most important things to consider when looking at new router and modem setups is the maximum speeds the device is capable of achieving. Most of time, that number is going to be around 1Gbps for upload speeds and 500Mbps for download speeds. This is enough for most households, but if you're looking for an elite performance for heavy gaming, streaming, and multiple device configurations, be sure to check the product's description.

Two other aspects to consider are range and your current internet plan. If you're attempting to use a router that doesn't have a good range through a large house, the signal is going to get weaker the further you move away from the router and modem combo. Some devices come with boosters for this reason.

If your current internet plan only supports up to 150Mbps of download speeds, it doesn't matter how great your modem or router is. Most products clearly list which internet data plans are best for that specific device. Be sure to consider this when purchasing, and don't always blame the product for being slow; it could just be your service provider.

Security

From credit card information to embarrassing personal secrets, very important information is frequently transmitted through your WiFi and cable internet. It is of the utmost importance to protect that information. There are two systems capable of securing your network connection, and you'll want to check that your modem and router combo has both.

Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, or DOCSIS, is actually slightly more important for speed than security, but it helps with both. It is an international telecommunications standard that adds high-bandwidth data transfering capabilities to existing coaxial systems. This means users won't have to update to fiber optic cables to enjoy fast, secure data transfer. More importantly user's security, the DOCSIS system includes security components that ensure user data privacy across shared cable networks and prevents unauthorized access to DOCSIS-based data transport services. Most modems and routers utilize DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1.

The other system is WiFi Protected Access (WPA). WPA comes after the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), which was retired in 2004 due to security concerns. It is the direct response and replacement for WEP. As security protocols for routers improved over time, WP3 was invented. It is currently the best security options for your router on the market. Some routers, however, do not support it. WPA2-AES is perfect capable of keeping your information safe. Anything less than WPA2-AES is a threat to your privacy.

Price

Routers and modems range in price from a nice night out on the town to a down deposit on a car. Fortunately, buying a router and modem together, as a single device, should save money. It also saves the number of cables you'll need to connect to get the device working. There are some great budget router and modem combo options available. Just know what you're looking for, what you're willing to pay, and how much certain specs mean to you.

Are Router Modem Combos Good for Gaming?

Yes, router modem combos are good for gaming. For most gamers, buying a router and modem in a single device will be perfectly acceptable. These devices are getting increasingly powerful and capable of handling even the heaviest-load gaming consoles and games.

Unfortunately, there is going to be less in the way of customization with a combo device. You won't be able to shop around for both a router and a modem. For example, you might be happy with the router but want a different modem, or vice versa. This isn't possible. Also, if one of the two components breaks, you'll have to buy another combination device, or purchase a router and a modem, despite having a modem or router that still works.

There is a downside to choosing a double-component device, but the convenience and price outweigh those downsides most of the time.

Is a Router Modem Combo Better for Gaming?

The best modem and router setup depends on your specific goals and desires. For example, if having full control over the setting of both your modem and router is a top priority, it is probably better to purchase them separately. If, however, convenience, pricing and ease-of-use are top priorities, it is probably better to purchase the two-in-one device.

As far as gaming is concerned, a two-in-one device can do almost everything two separate devices can do. Just be sure that the device has enough gigabit ethernet ports to connect video streaming equipment, televisions, and gaming consoles, if you're an avid streamer.

Do Gaming Modems Make a Difference?

The short answer is not really. Bandwidth, or the raw speed of your connection, isn't going to help much, especially if your internet service provider's (ISP) connection is slow. Gamers need low latency, which is referred to as "ping" or "lag." A high-priced router or modem can help with latency issues, but only to a certain degree. The better option is to spend that money upgrading your ISP's connection.

Conclusion

To be the best, you have to beat the best, and the best cable modem router combo of 2020 comes from NETGEAR. The Nighthawk is unbelievable in terms of a quick internet connection, a lag-free gaming experience, and value for its price tag.

A modem router combo is cheaper and more appealing than buying the two devices separately. While you will give up a little bit of control in the purchasing process, it is worth it because of the high-speed internet connection, ease of set up, mess-free environment, and gaming and streaming abilities.

Forget a modem and router. You'll have to plug in multiple cords, find enough outlets for all your gaming consoles, set up separate devices with your internet company, and it won't even look great when it's done. Your friends and family will be much more impressed with a combination device. When someone asks you where your modem is, point to your router. When someone asks where your router is, point to the same device. It really is that easy! Maybe a few years ago it would be difficult to justify using a two-in-one product, but now, they're faster and more secure than ever. 

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