Comcast Approved & Compatible Modem

Comcast Approved & Compatible Modems – Best Modem For Xfinity (2017)

The basic necessities for enjoying surfing the internet is an electronic device capable of accessing the internet via a Comcast approved modem and compatible router. Being the largest provider of home internet services, chances you are a subscriber to Comcast’s services is pretty high. But being a Xfinity subscriber means you may be subject to certain fees that could be an unnecessary expenditure.

Why should you buy your own Comcast Approved modem?

Many policies keep changing in Comcast over the years – noticeably one is the ever slowly increasing modem rental fees that Xfinity subscribers are hit with. You may not notice the small amount, and may think that paying $6 a month for your Comcast compatible modem is no big deal, but as of this year, Comcast is currently charging its users $120 a year for renting out one of theirs Comcast approved modems. Sure, it’s convenient to rent, but is the convenience worth the money you’re shelling out? If you do a bit of homework and research, you’ll see that you can own your very own brand new Comcast compatible modem which is the latest in the market for an amount that matches your yearly rental fee.

Depending upon the Xfinity modem you buy, you could start saving within half a year to a year. Any amount of time after that is pure savings for you. You could potentially save hundreds of dollars in a short time!

Why is it important that it be a Comcast Approved & Compatible Modem?

Comcast Xfinity Approved Modem

There are many factors that determine the compatibility of a modem with the ISP you subscribe to. Each ISP has its own list of approved & compatible modems that function properly with their service. Before purchasing any modem, you should check if the model you are looking at is one of Comcast approved modems as not all modems’ hardware are compatible with Comcast Xfinity.

This is why you should check the list of Comcast approved cable modems to avoid problems at a later stage. The second point that should be factored in your choice is what service speed you are subscribing to. If your service offers high speeds of 100 Mbps and higher, you will need a Xfinity compatible modem that is DOCSIS 3.0 as older models cannot support the high speeds which means you will not be utilising or getting the speeds you are paying for.

How does a modem work?

When you purchase a Comcast approved modem, you are ready to surf the net at your leisure. Short for modulator-demodulator, a DSL modem used to be the way we communicated using a twentieth century invention (The computer) and a nineteenth century creation (the Telephone). Although the transition from DSL to Cable modems is taking place, a huge part of the world still runs mostly via telephone lines – so even though the internet is a digital world, the digital messages conveyed in this world have to be converted to analog signals. A DSL modem helps to translate these messages, exchanging information so that you can upload and download data through your ISP.

However, now your cable modem uses the same television cable connections so that your phone lines aren’t clogged up. This makes your connection faster and more efficient. Your modem helps to provide internet access to your electronic device. Cable modems are a hundred times faster than the traditional DSL modem.

Best Comcast Approved & Compatible Modems (May 2017)

Device Name

Max Speed

Channel Bondig

Editor's Rating

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#1. Arris SB6190

(Editor's Choice)

1.4 Gbps

32x8 channels

97%

#2. Netgear CM700

(Best value for money)

1.4 Gbps

32x8 channels

92%

#3. Netgear CM1000

(High Performance)

1 Gbps

32x8 channels

95%

#4. Netgear AC1900

(Modem Router Combo)

960 Mpbs

24x8 channels

91%

#5. Motorola MB7420

(Low Budget)

686 Mbps

16x4 channels

90%

Why is it better to buy than rent a modem?

There is a list of Comcast approved cable modems on their website which you can choose from. The reason why we advise our readers to buy a Comcast compatible modem instead of renting is simply because we want you to save money so that you can spend it on yourself. When you rent a modem from Comcast Xfinity, you are literally throwing away your money.

Roughly speaking you pay $120 annually and you will always need internet, so multiply 120 x the number of years you see yourself subscribing to Comcast Xfinity.

Now, the cost of Comcast approved modems range from something as low as $23 to one that could set you back hundreds of dollars. If you are a basic internet user, you don’t need something that is extremely high tech, especially if your plan offers only a low internet speed. There is no point in owning a state-of-the-art Comcast Xfinity compatible modem which cannot deliver the speeds it is compatible of giving. There is also no point in owning an older model which is not compatible or unable to deliver the high speeds you are paying for.

Looking at the average price of Comcast compatible modems, your modem would start paying itself back within half a year. Those are huge savings – plus you get to choose exactly what features and which high performance modem you want. There is a huge selection of Comcast approved modems available on the market and the ones you receive from your ISP will, in all probability, be an older model. Also, with a rented modem, you don’t have access to the hardware in case you want to make any changes and the hardware would probably be low quality. The difference between a Comcast rental and your own modem becomes painstakingly clear after you see the comparisons.

Now you’ve made a decision to buy one of Comcast approved & compatible modems, let’s take a look at the best options available in the market today. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to, and here are our five top picks.

1. ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Xfinity Compatible

Best Comcast Approved Modem Overall (Editor's Choice)

This modem is an easy winner in our eyes because it brings to you the full package within an attractive price. With 32 download channels, you know you can really get the maximum of your ISP’s internet speed of 1.4 Gbps. Retailed with a two year warranty, you can really enjoy high quality and high speed internet. Combine that amazing package with easy installation steps, you know you’ve got the best Comcast compatible modem that money can buy.

Modem INSTALLATION:

The set up process is fairly simple, which you can follow via the step by step process manual included in the purchase. We managed to self activate the modem with Comcast Xfinity however; some users may be required to provision it with their Comcast internet which should take you about five minutes. Call up customer service to get your MAC address set up and soon it will be up and running. Many other customers have stated that the ARRIS SB6190 cable modem is super easy to install and configure.

Modem PERFORMANCE:

Say goodbye to days of waiting for videos to stream and for lagging HD gaming – those are problems of the past. We noticed the difference right away when we made the upgrade. This Comcast compatible modem offers excellent wireless range no matter the size of your home, the ARRIS SB6190 comes highly recommended. For many people who think this may over kill, high speed internet of 1Gb and above is a thing of reality, not a thing of the past, so it may be in your best interests to be prepared for the joyful time you can stream HD effortlessly.

Modem Speed:

With 32 downstream channels and 8 upstream channels, this Comcast approved modem is definitely the real deal when it comes to surfing the internet. When you buy the ARRIS SB6190, you will finally receive the high speeds you’re actually paying your ISP. You can reach speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps downstream and 262 Mbps, depending on what plan you subscribe to.

Best Use:

For those of you who are love watching HD movies and have a large family who like doing the same or love HD gaming at the simultaneously while you’re trying to binge watch your TV series, the ARRIS SB6190 has definitely earned the reputation for being the best modem for Xfinity. It doesn’t matter if you live in a small apartment in a heavily populated area where everyone is on the internet or you live in a huge mansion in the suburbs – you will still enjoy fast speed internet regardless of your living space area.

This Comcast Xfinity approved modem is a great choice for those looking to get value for their money.

Arris SURFboard SB6910 Pros

  • Easy Installation and configuration process
  • Offers 32 downstream and 8 upstream channels and 1.4 Gbps download speed and 262 upload speeds with Gigabit Ethernet Port
  • ​DOCSIS 3.0
  • ​Supports IPv4 and IPv6
  • ​2 year warranty
  • Comcast approved & compatible modem

Arris SURFboard SB6910 Cons

  • ​Upfront cost
  • ​Will need to purchase a Comcast compatible wireless router
  • ​DOCSIS 3.1 is unavailable

2. NETGEAR CM700 (32x8) DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Certified for Xfinity

Best Value For Money Comcast Compatible Modem

This is the age of fast internet and the NETGEAR CM700 has proven to outshine the other modems in terms of value for money. When it comes to high speed internet, faster downloads, faster wired speeds and easy installation, it can’t get much better than this. The attractive price means you could start seeing returns on your investment within ten months of purchase.

Modem INSTALLATION:

When it comes to setting up your new Comcast approved modem, the NETGEAR CM700 makes life super easy for you. We thought it would be confusing or time consuming as compared to other cable providers, but we were pleasantly surprised. Simply connect the cable directly (reference the Quick Install Guide for help if needed), follow the easy instructions as given on the web browser and you’ll be connected to Xfinity before you can say WOW, That was quick!

Xfinity customers can get self activation without the hassle of making phone calls to their ISP. For users who don’t have much of a clue about setting up stuff, this is extremely convenient as your MAC address gets automatically registered with your ISP.

Modem Performance:

The DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, combined with 32x8 channel bonding, you can start enjoying fast speed internet in the way that you’re supposed to. No matter where you sit in your home or how many people are using your internet connection, you should face no lags or glitches. HD gamers can take advantage of the Gigabit Ethernet port to really enhance their gaming, even in peak times.

Modem SPEED:

This Comcast approved cable modem is designed to deliver up to 1.4 Gbps download and 240 Upload speeds. However, you should check with your ISP to determine what speed plan you are subscribing to, so that you can put this modem to best use.

Modem Configuration:

It is compatible with major ISPs, and with its 32x8 channels, you can be sure you will be getting a reliable and stable internet connection. One of the fastest DOCSIS 3.0 modems in the market, the NETGEAR CM700 is also programmed to meet previous DOCSIS specifications. The Gigabit Ethernet port has auto-sensing technology and this wired connection will offer unparalleled speeds for your electronic devices, no matter the size of your home.

BEST USE:

This Xfinity compatible modem works best for people who want to stream HD videos, for gamers and for families who want to use multiple devices for their own interests. So if you were planning to have a gaming party but were holding back because of your internet, buying this Comcast approved modem will help make it happen. Or just spend the weekend binge watching HD videos all day long with your buddies. Feel free to get your Xbox One, PS3 and all your electronic devices up and running all at the same time, while running Netflix and watch all of them function flawlessly with no buffering or lagging. Perfect.

Netgear CM700 Cable Modem Pros

  • ​Attractive pricing
  • ​High download and upload speeds reaching 1.4 Gbps and 262 Mbps
  • ​Easy Installation
  • Compatible with Comcast Xfinity and major ISPs

Netgear CM700 Cable Modem Cons

  • ​Has reported to heat up
  • ​Have to buy a wireless router

3. NETGEAR CM1000 DOCSIS 3.1 Ultra-High Speed Cable Modem – certified for XFINITY by Comcast

High Performance Comcast Compatible Modem

There are modems that are priced attractively – and that is a great selling point for many people who want the basics without burning a hole in their pocket. But we all need, want and love fast internet speeds and for many of us, performance is all that matters. If you’ve ever had a rented modem from Comcast Xfinity, you’ll know it’s never the best and the slower speeds can be frustrating, which is why we’ve selected the NETGEAR CM1000 as our best high performance Comcast approved modem unit.

Marketed to be the fastest Xfinity approved modem available, the NETGEAR CM1000 is the modem that will beat all others in the race for best performance, without a doubt. There is no wonder that Netgear continues to carry the torch for being a leading provider of high quality modems for so many years. This sleek, sharply angled edged modem made of shiny aluminum look stylish and delivers as well.

Modem INSTALLATION:

If you already have an Xfinity account, and are simply upgrading modems or have recently decided to go with Comcast, then not to worry because installation is a breeze. By far, the NETGEAR CM1000 has one of the easiest set up procedures. You can self provision your Comcast approved modem on your own, without facing any problems.

Modem PERFORMANCE:

In terms of performance, nothing in the present market can beat the NETGEAR CM1000. While DOCSIS 3.0 modems used to provide the fastest speeds, this modem supports DOCSIS 3.1, a significant upgrade to provide speeds ten times faster than DOCSIS 3.0. Buffering, interrupted streaming and unwanted lags during gaming sessions or HD movie watching is prevented with this modem.

Modem SPEED:

The DOCSIS 3.1 offers improvement as the channels are 20 – 50 KHz wide instead of the 8 MHz that was used by the DOCSIS 3.0. This means that your ISP can squeeze a lot more bandwidth into the same old cables that delivers your current internet. However, in the end, you can only get the higher speeds if your ISP can deliver it. It can handle up to 120 x speeds.

It has 32x8 SC-QAM channels for DOCSIS 3.0 and 2x2 OFDM in DOCSIS 3.1 and offers up to 1 Gbps download speeds which will make your HD gaming and streaming life a lot easier. This modem is geared for the future as well, as we can see how companies are slowly introducing faster internet speeds. But whatever is introduced in the future, you know that with this modem, you’re ready and prepared for it. Just to shed a little more light, it can have top speeds reaching 10Gbps, which at the moment is non-existent, but soon to come.

Configuration:

As it is backward compatible with DOCSIS 3.0, this modem offers the best of what is current and is ready for the fast speeds yet to be common everywhere. Offering consistent speeds and no drops, no matter where you are in your home makes this an ideal choice. Lounge in the garden, chill in your backyard, relax in any room with no lagging in your browsing.

Best Use:

If you have many friends who pop over or a large family who like to do their own thing online, then this is the perfect Xfinity compatible modem for you. It can get tedious and irritating if you’re all watching your own HD videos at the same time, or having an extended gaming session with your buddies and you notice your internet lagging. With the Netgear CM1000, you can do all of this and more to your heart’s content. Ideal for fast downloads and intense high speed gaming.

Netgear CM1000 Cable Modem Pros

  • ​DOCSIS 3.1
  • ​Super Easy installation and self provisioning
  • ​32x8 DOCSIS 3.0 channels and 2x2 OFDM DOCSIS 3.1
  • Auto sensing technology
  • IPv6 support

Netgear CM1000 Cable Modem Cons

  • ​Price
  • ​Not compatible with many ISPs (but compatible with Comcast XFINITY)
  • ​Separate router needed

4. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi Cable Modem Router (C7000) Certified For Xfinity from Comcast

Best Comcast Approved Modem Router Combo

Being a Comcast customer does have its benefits, especially if you have access to buy the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900. For those of you who don’t like the hassle of researching and buying two separate units, this Comcast approved modem router combo unit can work out to be a sweet deal. Buying only one unit instead of two separate ones makes this a money saver. Combine this with easy installations and the fast speeds offered, this Comcast approved cable modem remains a favourite with many customers.

Modem Router INSTALLATION:

The Netgear Genie App makes installation an effortless dream. Gearing into the 21st century has never been easier. You can now monitor, connect to your home network as well as control it from your electronic device. Forget about spending endless hours with Customer service and make the most of the self-activation available only to Comcast Xfinity customers.

Modem Router PERFORMANCE:

The Dual band ensures that you can enjoy fast downloads and uninterrupted streaming any time, and also have internet access no matter where you in your home, regardless of walls and other obstacles which usually act as a barrier for your internet. Designed for medium to large sized homes, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 offers reliable connectivity so that you can work or play from home without any worries of the connection dropping.

Modem Router SPEED:

It offers up to 960Mbps downstream and has 24x8 channels to help you surf faster and better. The Dual band which runs on 2.4GHz and 5GHZ means that you can have internet access no matter where you are in your home. Combine this with the DOCSIS 3.0, you’re in for a treat – you just have to make sure that your ISP provides the speeds that this modem router combo can handle.

CONFIGURATION:

Being 2-in-1 is a huge bonus and this Comcast compatible modem router combo offers a lot for its price. It is compatible with most major ISPs and offers reliable internet connectivity. The Guest Network Access is a huge plus point in our eyes, which helps keep your private network more secure for you and your family.

BEST USE:

Because of the Dual band, this modem router combo is ideal for multiple device usage, HD streaming and gaming. It is great for those who are not extremely tech savvy and don’t want to shop around for two separate units when one can get the job done.

Netgear AC1900 Cable Modem Router Pros

  • ​Easy and simple installation process with self activation within minutes
  • Fast speeds
  • 24x8 channels
  • Compatible with Xfinity
  • 2-in-1 with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 2.0 USB port
  • ​DOCSIS 3.0
  • Genie app for faster troubleshooting

Netgear AC1900 Cable Modem Router Cons

  • ​Poor Parental control
  • Bulky size
  • Price
  • Short 1 year warranty

5. Motorola 16x4 Cable Modem, Model MB7420, 686 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0, Compatible with Comcast XFINITY

Low Budget Comcast Approved Modem

Newly released just last year in 2016, this Comcast approved modem is reliable, offers fast speeds and is certifiable for all major ISPs. It can get confusing when you’re trying to decide which modem us the best for you – and if you’re not convinced about your usage, and want one that visually looks appealing, yet has an easy installation, then this modem may be just the thing you need.

Motorola has built a name for itself in the world of communications and they are a reliable choice for any user. Simple yet functionally designed, this modem is easy to read, setup, use and understand.

Modem INSTALLATION

So simple that even the aunt you thought was not tech savvy could install this. The modem itself is color coded and labeled very clearly for an easy installation and set up process.

Modem PERFORMANCE:

This is one smart cookie. You can find other modems available in the market that may have more channels, but this Comcast compatible modem excels in the service it offers. Even though it manages only 16 channels, it’s technology allows it to pick and choose the channels that have the lowest traffic. That means with this modem, you’ll always enjoy fast speed internet with no interruptions. If your home network has many connections that could possibly influence or affect the effectiveness of your connectivity, the Motorola MB7420 may be just the thing you need.

Modem SPEED:

Enjoy faster speeds with the DOCSIS 3.0 Comcast approved cable modem which offers speeds up to 686Mbps. The DOCSIS 3.0 is sixteen times faster than its predecessor, so you know that no matter how many electronic devices are connected or how many users are using your home network for their own HD gaming or streaming, you’re in good hands. If you don't want to break the bank and still get a great piece of equipment, this Xfinity compatible modem is a great choice.

CONFIGURATION:

The built in lightening and power surge protector will definitely be an added layer of protection for your modem. The full band Capture digital tuner will guarantee fast internet speeds, even during peak times. This new design released by Motorola is a move away from its traditional Arris brand. This rebranded modem also boasts of a heat sink that is designed to handle temperature variations in response to feedback for previous models.

Motorola MB7420 Modem Pros

  • ​Lightening and Power Surge Protection
  • Easy installation process
  • 2 year warranty
  • Unlimited access to tech support 24/7
  • Faster internet speeds
  • ​Full Band Capture Digital Tuner
  • Easy color coding for a simple, hassle free set up process

Motorola MB7420 Modem Cons

  • ​Not compatible with every network

What to consider while searching for the best modem for Xfinity?

There are many factors that should determine your choice of purchase, especially if you are buying a modem for a Comcast connection. If you’re shopping online, you should keep an eye out for these details that could make a difference to the results of your purchase.

Comcast_Xfinity_Approved_Modem

#1. Double check that the modem you want to buy is Comcast approved and compatible with Xfinity

There are many modems available to buy, and you may be attracted to the design, price or performance of that modem, but all its qualities will not help you if it is not Xfinity compatible. To get around this problem, you can always check out the list of compatible modems on your ISP’s website. If your ISP has not provided a list, you’ll have to dig deeper to get the information, but research is key to a good buy.

#2. Get a modem that offers high speed performance

Purchase Comcast approved modems that are DOCSIS 3.0 or higher and avoid purchasing any modems that are below that, no matter how attractive the price. This is 2017 and speeds are only going to get better, not worse, so you may as well be prepared for higher speeds. Also keep in mind that higher priced modems usually have more features, which is why their price is hiked up and these modems will offer better downstream speeds. Get a modem with more channels so that you can get better uninterrupted internet connectivity.

#3. Check the speed of your Ethernet port

This point applies to people who are looking to buy a router separately from their modem. There are many things that can slow down your internet and a slow Ethernet port/cord could be one.

#4. Do you want control over your modem?

If you are buying your modem to fit a specific need, then you will probably want more control of what your modem can and cannot do. For example, you may want control over which electronic device in your home has priority in certain activities such as HD gaming.

#5.  Make the final buying decision on whether you want separate units or a combo unit

You’ve gone through our top 5 list of best Comcast approved modems, and now you are in a better position to make an informed decision on which modem to buy. All’s that left is to choose if you want a separate modem and router or a combined unit of both. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but the end decision lies on your shoulders.

6) How much is your budget?

You may want the moon, but your pocket only runs that deep, so you must settle for something a little more affordable. Modem prices are a huge factor in the decision making.

Why Does the Modem has to be Comcast Approved?

Motorola MB7420 Xfinity Compatible

Each Hardware and Firmware is unique

With so many modems available and manufactured by different companies, it’s easy to understand why they won’t be compatible with all ISPs. This is because each company is unique, and their hardware and even firmware could have slight differences which make them unable to be compatible with certain ISPs.

So You Can Access the Internet

It is vital that your purchase be one of many Comcast approved modems because if you finally do buy it and it is not Xfinity compatible modem, you cannot access the internet. That would have been a waste of time and money. They have made life easier for us by making a list of what works with their internet connection so that you can shortlist from that list to get a modem that is certified for Comcast network.

Doing a bit of research before you make that final purchase could help you even more than you realize. If you are a new or an existing customer, getting in touch with Comcast will inform you of your level of services that you subscribe to, and this could help you make a more informed decision of what modem to buy.

Because Comcast Tested The Approved Modems

Another reason is that Comcast has a stipulation that they should have tested the hardware of the modem you want to buy so that they know it works. They have tested a fair bit, but there are also many unbranded new modems that are released into the market and in all honesty, it wouldn’t be cost effective for the company to test all of them. So, they request their customers to refer to the list posted on their website for a hassle free purchase and hassle free installation.

Do all cable modems work with all ISPs?

Internet Service Provider ISP

No, this is because each modem is designed and created differently, and your service provider has to have the equipment to recognize the modem you want to use with their network. Surprisingly, many modems do not conform to the standards that are laid out.

Each ISP has their own criteria and some modems may either be too old or even too new for the ISP to handle. For example, if your modem is running on an obsolete hardware, with DOCSIS 1.1 or even 2.0 in some areas, it may not be able to handle the high speeds your ISP is providing of 100 Mbps and higher. High speed internet is becoming more common every day, and your modem has to keep up with the jumps in technology.

Similarly, if your modem is DOCSIS 3.1, your ISP may not have made the necessary upgrades to support this new technology. High speed internet is inevitable, but the change may take a while for ISPs as they have to make many adjustments from their end. Time is the only factor, but you have to work with what’s current as well.

Why Is It Better to Buy a Comcast Approved Modem Instead of Renting It?

Modem Slots

If you are renting your modem from Comcast, it’s about time you changed that. If you break it down, it sounds really ridiculous. You pay Comcast a modem rental fee, every single month, for a service that you anyways pay for. That doesn’t sound so bad, but when you realize you’re paying a fee for getting to ‘rent’ the services of an older Comcast compatible modem which probably doesn’t deliver what you actually pay your cable provider for, that’s when you know enough is enough.

Comcast charges you $10 a month just to rent a Xfinity compatible modem, and this is all just extra on top of what you’re already shelling out for your internet access. Even if you return your Comcast modem for whatever reason, you could find that you’re still getting charged! It’s about time you took matters into your own hands and made the leap of faith. You end up saving a lot of money and your modem could start paying for itself within a year!

You should also get a Comcast approved modem if the one you currently use is NOT DOCSIS 3.0 or higher. Internet speeds keep going higher because of demand and competition. Why would you want to remain in the dark internet ages, getting that few Mbps when the rest of the world is getting Gbps? If your modem supports DOCSIS 2.0, it’s time to upgrade.

DOCSIS upgrades show considerable improvements in performance with faster upstream traffic and they also spell doom for anything supporting DOCSIS 2.0.

Of course, it goes without saying, if you have a DSL connection or even if you’re lucky enough to have a fiber connection, you don’t need to do any of the above.

How Does A Modem Work

For all that we’ve been talking about modems, and how to choose them wisely but being clueless about why and what you are purchasing is leaving you open to being told what to buy by your internet provider. It can get frustrating when an official from Comcast tells you or you get a notification that informs you that your modem needs to be replaced with one from their Comcast compatible modems so that you can enjoy its full benefits.

Your modem is the gateway to the internet. It helps to connect your electronic device to the internet via a router and of course, your ISP. It would cost a huge sum for your ISP to lay out new cable lines just for internet. Instead, they use the existing cable lines to transmit the internet connection via a coaxial cable.

Just like how each TV channel takes up only 6 MHz of space in a cable that can hold hundreds, similarly, your internet also takes up a certain amount of bandwidth. Short for modulator-demodulator, a modem modulates a digital signal and passes on and vice versa. Converting the digital information into analog, the A/D convertor in the modem converts the signal and transforms it into a series of ones and zeroes.

In short, your modem is the translator to the two different languages spoken by your computer traveling through your cable line and reaching the internet.

What’s the difference between a cable modem and a DSL modem?

Depending upon the type of internet connection you have, your Comcast modem could be of the two. In a way, this is like the history of modems.

1) Dial up Modem

It all started with the dial-up modem. This type may be way before your time, but I remember the dial up noise and we couldn’t use the telephone lines while the internet was running because the phone lines were busy. This is the earliest form of a commercial modem and has become obsolete more or less all over the world.

2) DSL Modem:

DSL is short for digital subscriber line and is the upgrade from the early Dial-up. The herald of a new digital era, the DSL modem also used the existing phone lines to transmit data, but they were operated at a higher frequency which did not clash with voice frequency. This meant that calls could be made at the same time when you were surfing the net. Your ISP could also provide you with a filter that helps separate the internet and the voice data so that they don’t overlap.

However, with DSL, it is important to note that distance played a huge role on how good your internet connection really was. The further your connection was from your ISP’s main hub, the slower your connection would be. It travels through the copper wiring in your telephone lines.

3) Cable Modem:

This is what is currently favored by majority of internet users and is supposed to be the tool of getting high speed internet via the coaxial cable that gives you your TV channels. As each TV channel has its own signal, similarly the internet is treated in the same manner.

Cable modems and DSL do make up the majority of internet subscribers, but in some areas where cable lines don’t run, people often turn to satellite. Fiber optics is slowly being laid out in many major cities, which offer unparalleled internet speeds of 1Gbps and more.

However, these are just explaining what the modems are; let’s find out how they are different from each other.

1) Area Code:

Signals carried by DSL can degrade over distance and become weaker, this is why your proximity to your ISP hub is important if you want to enjoy fast speed internet. A cable modem translates the digital data via the signals sent – these do not weaken over distance. Whether you live could determine what service you get, and accordingly what modem you purchase.

2) Internet Speeds:

DSL modems are a lot slower, which is why majority of internet users prefer cable modem, which deliver higher internet speeds. DSL offers a max speed of 15Mbps downstream and a max limit of 1Mbps upstream. On the other hand, cable modems can reach 100Mbps download speeds.

3) Connection stability:

Digital data transferred via cable is uses a block of bandwidth which is shared by a group of internet users. The load may cause the connection to weaken, especially at peak times or heavily populated areas. DSL connections use the phone line – which is never shared with anyone else, so your connection will always be stable and reliable.

Why is it better to have a separate modem and router?

Separate Modems and Routers

You may think that having a modem router combined unit makes the most sense – and for many, it does. If your internet needs are few and basic, this is a good choice for you. But when you have only one unit doing all the work, you end up having less control on what you want your unit to do, or limitations on its capacity.

Parental Control

But as parents you may want parental control of what is accessible to your children, and you may want to go into depth into networking things like web hosting – which is when you should ideally have two separate units. If you are an entrepreneur, work from home, run your own business then you should opt for separate units as this will offer better security.

Modem Upgrades

Modems rarely need to be upgraded. If you buy a really good one, it will last you for years. However, routers will need to keep up with advancing technology, so if you buy a combined unit, you will have to keep upgrading over the years which will cost you more in the long run. If you purchased separate units, you could upgrade only the router, which does work out to be a cheaper option.

Control Over Firmware

Also, by having a separate modem and router, you get more control over firmware and various settings. You can tinker around with your router and even have the opportunity to update it using a third party firmware such as DD-WRT.

Another advantage is that you have to deal with your ISP less. This could be the clinching point for many customers who are tired of dealing with customer service or having to wait days and spend precious time following up. Having a separate router means one thing less to bother your ISP about – in any case, if it’s not theirs, you’d probably have to run around in circles for a fair bit.

If you’re paying for great speeds, having a separate router will help you make sure you actually receive those speeds. When you have control over your units, you can purchase high end models which will offer better wireless connectivity for your home. And you can also place your router in the best possible central location of your home by using Cat5 cable extenders – the location of your router could affect the performance of your internet.

What is DOCSIS and why does it matter?

DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification and this is the standard as well as the technology behind cable broadband services. There are different tiers and levels within this standard, as changes and improvements keep happening. There is DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1.

DOCSIS 3.0 Standard

Each new specification shows marked improvements in terms of performance and speed over the previous tier. DOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1 is absolutely obsolete and 2.0 may be present in a few areas, but the standard that is commonly used is the 3.0.

To truly understand why it matters is to see how it has evolved. D1, as it is usually shortened to, was impressive when it was released, back in 1997. You could access a max of 38Mbps downstream and 9Mbps upstream. With the D2, the upstream capabilities remained the same but the upstream capacity tripled to 27Mbps because research and reviews had revealed that the disparity between the upload and download speeds was too high in the D1 model which was rectified in the D2 model.

All this was supported in a single channel, but when the D3 came around it revolutionized the internet world. This is because now multiple channels could be supported and then bound for a better performance. As each channel offered 38/27 speeds, but as the amount of channels was increased, this potentially meant that now users could access high speed internet which could exceed 100Mbps.

So, DOCSIS matters. If you want fast speeds and better performance and want to access the high internet speeds you are actually paying for.

Why is Channel Bonding important?

Channel bonding has made a difference in how Comcast approved modems work because now, they can be more efficient in transferring data and also in offering stable connections. In older Xfinity compatible modems, you may have noticed lagging or buffering.

To put it across simply, it is like a highway. Imagine trying to get into the city at rush hour on a one lane highway. Of, if you were stuck in that, you would be so frustrated. But now imagine a new highway opened up, one which had 16 lanes going into the city and 4 going out. What do you think the traffic would look like now? It would be moving smoothly with no traffic jams.

And this is exactly what channel bonding does. While previously only one channel was available to transfer digital data, now there are 16x4 channels, and the newest modems even offer 32x8. This means saying goodbye to waiting while your movie buffers, being able to watch HD videos while everyone else in your family has fun HD gaming. It’s all possible because of channel bonding.

When multiple channels are combined to form one channel, you can get more data in and out of your home network.

Final Words – Wrapping it up

The internet world is getting simpler by the day, as is the technology. Understanding the basics will help you get a better grasp of what to buy and what to avoid. Feel more like the tech guru rather than the lamb who follows with this guide.

With all points broken down so you can understand the points easily, you can now decide on which Comcast approved modem you would like to purchase for your home. The internet is evolving every day to become faster and buying a Xfinity compatible modem that will keep up makes logical sense.