Cable internet has seen a huge jump in speeds, and to reach that gigabit potential, you need to have the best DOCSIS 3.1 modem to complement the gigabit speed internet packages that many ISPs are launching nationally.
Honestly, gigabit technology is new on the block, and that is why many modems are not built to support or handle the higher speed tiers that your ISP may be providing to your area.
This is where the best gigabit modems enter the scene. Now modem manufacturers are providing modems for homes that can handle gigabit service.
How are they different from previous modems? They are designed keeping in mind the awesome gigabit speeds you will have or already have access to.
BlueGadgetTooth reviewed and tested the SB8200 vs MB8600 vs CM1000 to check which gigabit modem topped this guide. Take a closer look at the DOCSIS 3.1 modems that BlueGadgetTooth recommends below.
Not sure of your speeds? Use this speed tool to check if you need a gigabit modem.
Save on Expensive Installation Fees – It can get pretty frustrating waiting for the technician to come by your place to simply install a cable or wiring to get high speed internet. You can install a DOCSIS 3.1 modem by yourself. Save time, save money.
Increased Speed And Data Capacity – It has been proven that having a DOCSIS 3.1 modem can help boost your capacity over the same spectrum by over 50%.
Active Queue Management – Reduces network delay significantly, even though you may have many connected devices that may drain your bandwidth. This means that your HD videos will load faster and your graphics on your online games will be clearer and sharper than ever, using higher resolutions.
Accessible High Speed Internet – As it uses your ISPs existing HFC network, they don’t have to go through a complete overhaul and can provide higher speeds and improved performance easily, with only minor upgrades, which will result in cable speeds rivaling the super fast fiber speeds.
Improved Wireless Speeds – When your network itself is tapping into Gigabit speeds, your wireless network will also translate to a higher speed tier for your mobile devices. As of now, wireless performance vs wired is far behind, but with a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, we may find that the gap is getting bridged.
1. Motorola MB8600
2. Netgear CM1000
3. Arris SB8200
As of now, the largest ISPs in the country offer Gigabit internet. Cox, Comcast Xfinity, Google Fiber, AT&T and CenturyLink all provide gigabit internet. If you live in a city, your chances of having access to super fast speed internet is pretty high.
But why would you need Gigabit Internet?
The first thing that comes to mind is the blazing speed. Modems with DOCSIS 3.1 can support downstream speeds of up to 10Gbps!
Paying for Gigabit internet can be an expensive affair, but one way of saving on those huge costs is to get your own networking equipment and buying the best DOCSIS 3.1 modem for your home. Having your own gigabit modem and router can cut down on pesky rental fees, allowing you to come close to achieving those max speeds.
Just a note: not all ISPS that provide gigabit internet require the use of a cable modem. FTTN (Fiber to the node) and cable tech will need the traditional modem, whereas FTTP (Fiber to the premises) will provide an ONT (Optical network terminal), for which no consumer version exists.
Newly released in 2017, the Motorola Ultra Fast DOCSIS 3.1 MB8600 is built to deliver Gigabit speeds, provided your ISP can handle it. We appreciate that it is backwards compatible to accommodate the type of ISP you have, so you won’t face any problems if your ISP hasn’t updated its end to accommodate DOCSIS 3.1.
This modem is considered to be our Editor’s choice and our best DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem because you usually buy the best modem because you want better speeds. The deciding factor in selecting nay modem should be the total bandwidth provided, and the Motorola MB8600 is a beast in the modem arena.
Gigabit Ethernet connections is considered to be the best way to channel the internet in your home, due to lower pings, lower packet loss and stable bandwidth, but the MB8600 is too much for just one Gigabit Ethernet port to handle – in fact, you may have to use 4 to really max out your download bandwidth because one won’t be able to handle it. If this is not future proofing your home, what is?
Even though you are still heavily reliant on your ISP to fully take advantage of the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, the modem has AQM feature which helps to prioritize important data and helps to really improve performance significantly. Now our websites didn’t take any time to load, and gaming and doing any online activities that was HD4k was pure bliss. Honestly. If anyone has ever played GoW on their laptops and watched the graphics load frame by frame, will appreciate the smooth transition from scene to scene, without interruptions.
We did notice a bump up in speeds, with our devices registering speeds up to 872Mbps in multiple speed tests. This is at close proximity, as we went further away, the speed dropped marginally, but not enough to give us palpitations.
Netgear has and still continues to create top of the line internet equipment that we can rely on. The CM1000 is no different, instead taking your internet online experience to the next level with its DOCSIS 3.1 modem. Although it is compatible with a select few ISPs like Cox, Comcast, Mediacom Cable, if you are a subscriber to any of those companies, you should seriously consider buying the CM1000.
When we started testing this modem, we weren’t too sure about it because we knew about the firmware issues the CM1000 faced when it was first released. Updates were released, but we still had that in the back of our minds. However, when it came to performance, there were no glitches. There were no sudden shut downs, or unresolved issues and the speeds were what we expected.
If you are looking to give your network a boost we recommend you buy this router, invest in some good Cat6 cables and simply factory reset your router.
We are not joking; this modem did boost our speeds. It’s not so Earth shattering as doubling our speeds – no way, but enough to make us appreciate that this is a pretty sweet deal. Our speeds went up by at least 100Mbps, and that is good news for us considering we were getting decent speeds in the first place.
Arris is a well known brand in the world of internet equipment, and we knew this list would be incomplete without the Arris SB8200 being featured on it. From being compatible with all major ISPs, to having two Gigabit Ethernet ports so that you can create two separate networks, the SB8200 is considered to be one of the best DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems.
The home of today has many demands of its modem – from demanding better and faster speeds to improved reliability; the new tech generation has lost patience with slow gadgets and poor connectivity. Time and tide wait for no man, and an electrical gadget can get obsolete very quickly, which is why Arris released the SB8200, in an effort to keep homes future proofed, without compromising on performance.
This definitely gets high recommendations from the BlueGadgetTooth team for the sheer user friendliness of the self activation and set up process. Coming from someone who constantly needs to ask questions, this is high praise indeed.
Transferring heavy data files was a breeze and we noticed that the latency issues we were facing had reduced considerably. Even though we tried to put a lot of load onto the network, we faced no networks. Of course, it’s not all rosy and we did find that the SB8200 got considerably hot. You would be well advised to place this in a well ventilated area to be on the safe side.
From the minute we plugged in the SB8200, we saw our speeds doubling. This is always a good thing and we have no complaints when it comes to speed.
There is nothing better than getting the best money saving deal you can possibly get. With the C7800, launched by Netgear as part of its Nighthawk series, you get something legendary, very cool looking and something that gets the job done, without the hassle of shopping around for a second device to get your devices connected.
This is a huge time saver in so many ways – we appreciate the fact that it is a modem router combo, saving us the time in looking for something that would be compatible with the modem, and one that would complement the DOCSIS 3.1 standard as well as the features the C7800 has.
The days of renting our modem from our ISP was over, and we could happily say goodbye to those rental fees that juts added up over time, with nothing spectacular to show for it. The C7800 and X4S modem router combo feature son our list of best DOCSIS 3.1 modem because it firstly, supports the latest standard, and secondly, is a modem router combo. Need we say more?
The set up process was fairly simple and probably took us about fifteen minutes, which included a few minutes of just goofing around. When it came to wireless performance, we weren’t too sure as modem router combos usually don’t have the same level of awesomeness as a separate modem and router. But we have to admit, this is a pretty sweet deal, and the connection as well as range delivered with this gadget is excellent.
It is built to deliver speeds that could theoretically reach 3.2Gbps. This is still a ways away as your ISP probably needs to catch up. However, we found that our speeds had increased to what our old router and modem used to deliver, so that’s good news. It’s still not blazingly fast but we suspect it could have something to do with our ISP, and not the limitations of the product.
Is It Compatible With Your ISP: Before buying any modem, you have to check the list of compatible modems on your ISP’s website. You can also simply pick up the phone and call them up to find out. Always make sure that the modem you buy works with your ISP.
Speed: Gigabit speeds are still relatively new, so unless you know that your ISP is delivering gigabit speeds to your doorstep or is expected to provide amazing speeds soon, there is no real rush to upgrade to the best DOCSIS 3.1 modem just yet. However, it’s always good to future proof your home.
Number of Ethernet Ports: This can be a point of concern for many. You probably will be using a separate router to access the internet, or may have multiple devices that you want to plug in directly to your modem to access high uninterrupted speeds. The number of Ethernet ports as well as the speeds offered on those ports should be able to handle gigabit speeds. Having more is always better, and having a few slow Ethernet ports could be a death trap for your internet speed.
After reviewing the SB8200 vs Motorola MB8600 vs Netgear CM1000, it was clear to see which one was the winner. However, let’s compare the three gigabit modems with each other for a close look.
Gigabit Ethernet Ports
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32 - 122 F
At first glance, the two modems would seem quite similar, apart from the colour difference of white and sleek grey. However, there are subtle differences that set the SB8200 vs MB8600 apart. A closer look will reveal the physical power button and the 2 additional Ethernet ports on the Motorola MB8600. It is bigger than the SB8200, but it works at a lower temperature, while having 4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports located at the back. It is also lighter than the SB8200, so no heavy weight lifting for you, if you own the MB8600.
Admittedly, the SB8200 has 3GB RAM. That is far more than the MB8600 which has only 512MB RAM. Does this make a difference? We don’t think so. The 3GB RAM is overkill, and perhaps the reason why the SB8200 runs hotter, using up more power. More RAM won’t give you faster speeds, whereas the MB8600’s 4 gigabit Ethernet ports will make it faster in the near future. In addition to this, the MB8600 has lightning protection and advanced surge protection built into the modem. This is a better feature than excess RAM any given day.
As mentioned in our guide, the MB8600 is a beast in the modem arena. The 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports are great for solving bandwidth issues. Its AQM feature also helps improve performance, and we reached close to the advertised speeds. On the other hand, SB8200 was great for solving latency problems. Our speed did see a considerable boost, but our vote goes to the MB8600, hands down.
The MB8600 is compatible with Cox Gigablast, Mediacom and Comcast Gigabit services, while approved for all speeds provided by Comcast Xfinity, CableOne and Cox. The SB8200 is compatible with Comcast Xfinity, WOW, Spectrum, Time Warner, Brighthouse and Cox Cable. Both modems seem on par with each other in terms of compatibility.
Note: Cable modems are not compatible with DSL, satellite or fiber optic services provided by Verizon, AT&T or CenturyLink, Frontier.
Looking at the sheer number of features, design, performance and speeds, it’s clear that the Motorola MB8600 is the winner here. If you’re looking to really future proof your home, want the best gigabit modem for a lower cost that operates at lower temperatures, then the MB8600 is the modem for you. Also, the MB8600 is the only modem that can break the Gigabit barrier with link aggregation.
Gigabit Ethernet Ports
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The Netgear CM1000 has more or less stuck to its standard design lines, with a few improvements. Slightly curved edges and a no fingerprint retention matt black finish makes it very attractive. Both MB8600 vs CM1000 have great heat management, with all the indicators, ports and also boast of good design. However, the 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the MB8600 makes the Motorola modem the winner.
Both the MB8600 vs CM1000 use a Broadcom based chipset instead of the Intel Puma chipset, removing any latency issues. The MB8600 has a 512MB RAM, while the CM1000 has 256MB RAM. Both are equally on par with each other, but the Motorola MB8600 seems better equipped to handle the load and higher speeds, which makes it the winner between the two.
Both modems deliver excellent speeds, so even if you choose the MB8600 vs CM1000, your performance in terms of speed and performance will be more or less similar. However, the 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports give the MB8600 a distinct advantage for future proofing your home.
The MB8600 is compatible with Comcast, Cox and Mediacom, while the CM1000 is compatible with Comcast, Cox, Mediacom and WOW. It’s just a matter of time before Charter approves these modems. To us, it makes no difference as the two biggest ISPs approved both.
Even though the Motorola MB86000 vs Netgear CM1000 go neck on neck in various categories, the BlueGadgetTooth team favours the Motorola MB8600. The more ports, more Gig speeds, built in surge and lightning protection, cooler operating temperature all make us favour the MB8600 as the winner.
Gigabit Ethernet Ports
32 - 122 F
32 - 102 F
The design styles of the SB8200 vs CM1000 are slightly different in approach. While the white form of the SM8200 looks decidedly more cheerful, the CM1000 seems a little more sombre. However, both take care to control heat management, with the cut-outs on the sides. The CM1000 is decidedly lighter, more than 1lb lighter than the SB8200. This could be great for you or not, depending on where you place it in your home. The lighter weight may make the CM1000 easier to push off a surface. However, as the Arris SB8200 has a second Ethernet port, it gets the vote for this round’s winner.
Both modems use Broadcom chips, so no complaints there. The SB8200 has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which can reach 2Gbps download combined through link aggregation. However, that is still a ways away, however, that is enough to tell us that the Arris SB8200 is a better choice for us in terms of its hardware.
Both modems are great for HD gaming, 4K HD streaming and VR. However, the performance on the Arris SB8200 was marginally better due to its lowering our latency issues and boosting the speeds more than the CM1000. Arris wins this round.
The SB8200 is compatible with Cox, Comcast and WOW, whereas Netgear’s CM1000 is compatible with Cox, Comcast, WOW and Mediacom. Just because it is compatible with more ISPs makes the Netgear CM1000 the winner.
This comparison round was a little more close, due to the many similarities in terms of design, build and performance. However, little details like the Arris SB8200 having a Spectrum Analyzer that makes the set up process easier and thee extra Ethernet port tips the Arris SB8200 as the winner between the SB8200 vs CM1000.
Gigabit speeds are still not as prevalent as we would like, but future proofing your home with the best DOCSIS 3.1 modem is important, if you want to access those awesome lightning speeds the moment your ISP brings those gig speeds to your doorstep.
The SB8200 vs MB8600 vs CM1000 comparison battle was tough, but thorough reviews and our research proved that our Editor’s Choice – the Motorola MB8600 to be the overall favourite. The affordability and as it supports port bonding and the highest potential download speed makes this our top pick.
Any of the modems mentioned in this guide will do the trick for your home, but if you’re looking for something which takes up less time and is a little more hassle free, you could opt for the Netgear Nighthawk X4S- C7800, which is the top DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem router combo.
In the end, you should think about how many gadgets will be wired connected to your modem for better speeds, like your gaming station, streaming video device, computer or HDTV, apart from your wireless router. Once you know this, it will be easier to choose the best gigabit modem for you.
Hey, it's Tomas here! I'm the founder and chief editor here at BlueGadgetTooth. After spending hours explaining my parents how to hook up their Internet, why it's being so slow etc. I decided to start this blog to help people with their gadgets and questions about technology.