You’re on the fast lane of gaming traffic and you need to have a steady green signal all the way through to the end.
This is why gamers shouldn’t settle for any modem for their gaming needs, they need the best modem for gaming they can get.
PC Gamers understand the need for speed. You can kit out the top gaming devices money can buy, invest in the latest computers with RAM and graphics cards and the whole works, only to find out that your modem is letting you down.
Best gaming modem can lower latency issues, strengthening the speed of your connection. Also, going wired instead of wireless will give you a better gaming experience.
Facts To Consider When Choosing A Gaming Modem
When you look at modem’s descriptions on any website, you’ll always see a generic speed given, with no further explanations. Advertised speeds are always download speeds. If your modem states a speed of 1 Gigabit, then it can get 1000Mbps from your connection. Download speeds are always higher than upload speeds. Also, the speed measurements are in ‘megabits/ second’, not megabytes.
Before buying the best modem for gaming, you need to check if it is compatible with your ISP. Major ISPs have a list of approved modems that can be used with their service, and it will be given on their website. Smaller ISPs may have more limitations on the type of modems you can use.
Abbreviated for ‘Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification’, DOCSIS is the protocol that allows an ISP to travel through a coax cable. This enables your modem to have access to the internet. DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 are versions of this protocol. DOCSIS 3.1 is the latest version and these version numbers refer to the speed and the amount of simultaneous channels.
This is a way to combine adjacent channels for increased throughput. The more channels you have, the better your speeds and connection will be. Numbers such as 4x4, 8x4, 16x4, 21x8 all reflect the downstream and upstream channels supported by your modem. A modem with 8x4 can handle an internet connection of up to 100Mbps, but you should get a modem of 16x4 or higher for multi-device households and higher internet service plans.
5 Best Modems For Gaming Of 2019
1. Motorola MB8600
Editor's Choice - Modem Only
2. Arris SB6190
3. Netgear C7500
Editor's Choice - Modem Router Combo
4. Motorola MD1600
3. Netgear XR500
Editor's Choice - Router Only
Modem Router Combo vs Separate Devices
If you want to upgrade your networking gadgets at home, but need to know whether to opt for separate devices or a modem router combo, here are a few factors that can help you decide.
Benefits Of A Modem Router Combo For Gaming
Benefits of Separate Router + Modem For Gaming
1. Motorola DOCSIS 3.1 Modem MB8600
Best Gaming Modem (Editor's Choice)
What better than to be connected in one go, with the MB8600, a modem that not only handles your ISPs internet speed, but future proofs your home for faster speeds which may be accessible later.
A vertical tower with rounded edges, the MB8600 stands far apart from other Motorola modems manufactured by Zoom. The grey matte finish covers the slightly tapering body, with the base being thicker than the top, giving it better balance.
Running at hot temperatures is a problem that many modems face, but not the MB8600. It has vents running down the right, left and top parts of the modem, to keep it running cool. The modem does weigh more than the average modem design, and you can’t really miss it if it is placed on a table.
There are 5 LED lights on t he front of the modem which indicate the status of your network. This has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, but most home owners will utilize only one as we do not currently have speeds faster than 1Gbps available from any ISP. These ports can be useful for businesses however.
The MB8600 has a Broadcom chipset, 512MB RAM and is DOCSIS 3.1 – the latest version of the DOCSIS protocol.
Even though you can reach theoretical speeds of 3.8Gbps with this modem, it will still be a while when that is possible in real life. Your ISP will have to deliver speeds faster than 1Gbps and allow link aggregation. This is a great modem even if you don’t have access to gigabit speeds – people living in crowded areas can benefit from the many channels the MB8600 uses.
The set up process is fairly simple – you have the option of setting it up manually or getting the help of your ISP. If you face any problems at a later stage and want to know the problems that your modem is facing, you can log into the Spectrum Analyzer feature to know more.
This is a great buy for serious gamers who want to rule their online empires or territories.
2. ARRIS SURFboard SB6190
If you want to be connected but don’t want to shell over a huge amount, the SB6190 is a good choice for you. Available at an affordable price, the SB6190 is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with 32x8 channels
Design wise, there is nothing spectacular to really rave about. This vertical structure doesn’t stand as tall as other vertical modems, but the structure itself is stable and sturdy. You know it won’t fall apart on you after a while.
Available in white, it is a step away from matte grey and glossy black modem designs, and you can comfortably place this anywhere. It has 1 gigabit Ethernet port, supports IPv4 & IPv6, is DOCSIS 3.0, 32x8 channels.
You do get what you pay for, and in the case of SB6190 – you’re set if you’re not looking to get set with overloading your network. High powered users will not love this modem – but it is great for households that don’t place heavy demands on their network, while being a great buy for those looking for a bargain.
It has a simple set up process, taking about 5 minutes to get it up and running. Even though it boasts of 1.4Gbps download speeds and 262Mbps upload, reality is a little different. We still were able to get decent speeds from this modem, and the 32x8 channels did give a boost in speed and performance.
This will get you through all the levels of your online game, but don’t expect it to outperform separate high performance modem and routers. You should also keep an eye out of the problematic Puma6 chipset. Although there are many who have faced no problems, there are a handful of gamers who have complained about latency issues caused by the Intel Puma6 chipset.
3. Netgear Nighthawk X4 (C7500)
Best Modem Router Combo For Gaming
Netgear has always delivered on its promises and the Nighthawk X4 is definitely no exception.
The basic design structure is similar to previous models, making it familiar for Netgear users to navigate through. The C7500 has a variety of security features like port configuration, Parental controls for parents who want to control their children’s’ gaming hours and site blocking.
The size of the C7500 may be a little larger than what you would expect from pictures given on websites, so do ensure that you have ample space in the location you plan to place the C7500. Fortunately, you can use the interface to disable pesky lights if they bother you in the night.
It is a dual band router with 24x8 channel bonding and has a 1.0GHz processor for boosting your gaming performance.
The Netgear C7500 has a reputation for being one of the fastest modem router combos on the market, and when we tested it out – we found that it did rank on the top for the best gaming modem router combo.
To start with the installation process was fairly simple and is straightforward enough for any user to manage.
It is a great option for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of dealing with two separate devices. Most modem router combos are great for simple usage, but the C7500 can manage a multi-device household with ease. If you are TVs streaming HD videos, have family members and friends who constantly are gaming online or you have many people doing their own thing online, this is a great modem router combo to have.
If you’re a Fortnite player, this is the best modem router combo for gaming you could get.
4. Motorola MD1600 DSL Modem
DSL Modem For Gaming
This modem router combo was launched earlier this year, and it definitely came in with a bang. Value for money, the Motorola MD1600 can get you online and connected within minutes.
This is a great option if you subscribe to certain DSL providers. Do remember that it won’t work with Bonded VDSL, ADSL services or VDSL vectoring. It definitely saves on space – big time. It has VPN capability, 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, a single USB 2.0 port, firewall, can reach speeds up to 1600Mbps and supports IPv4 and IPv6.
Sleek and black, the MD1600 prevents fingerprints from marking the surface of this modem router combo.
The set up process was straightforward and simple. You have the Quick Set Up guide to follow to get the device running. The Motorola Set Up Wizard simplifies the process to get your connection activated within minutes.
This modem router combo boosted our throughput significantly, and having the option to set up a guest network proved a god-send – especially for the many people who kept coming over. We noticed that previous dead spots were eliminated and the range delivered by the MD1600 reached far beyond our testing space.
If we had to pick on one feature we weren’t too happy about, it would be the configuration manager which we feel could have been improved with better feature control. Average users will be happy with the stats this device provides, and gamers can rest easy with the MD1600.
It is one of the fastest DSL modem router combos we’ve reviewed and is definitely a top contender for being the best gaming modem router combo.
5. Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Pro-Gaming
Netgear just raised the stakes in the gaming arena with the XR500 Nighthawk Pro. This is an 802.11ac gaming router that has a dazzling array of features that would make any gamer drool.
When you’re paying for something good, you expect it to be high quality and visually striking. The XR500 does not disappoint. This is the absolute high end of the gaming router spectrum and it looks aesthetically pleasing.
The device itself is a little on the bulky side, but it holds a powerhouse of features. It has 4 external antennas and a dozen LED indicators, which all reveal the status of various parts of your network. There are vents in the front and back to keep it running at cool temperatures.
This dual-band router has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1.7GHz dual-core processor, Advanced QoS for lowering congestion in your network. The Geo-filter fixes gaming lags and you have the option to customize your gaming dashboard.
Serious gamers know the importance of a reliable connection and a good router that can deliver. TheXR500 can support up to 2600Mbps on the dual-band and this upgrade really shows when you play Black Ops 4 or Fortnite.
Setting up the Netgear Nighthawk XR500 is as easy as sneezing. Plug it and play using the Netgear Genie app. The DumaOs software is speed boosting software which helps to prioritize your bandwidth. Now you can hog all the bandwidth when you’re gaming.
Having other people using your network just when you are in the middle of helping your team get away from the horde of Zombies, is nothing short of painful. Suddenly you see your game lagging and this can be really frustrating (trust us, we know). When reaction times are measured in milliseconds, reliability is a key factor to consider. The Hyper-Traffic mode helps you be top hog, putting your packets on priority over other online activities like websites, music etc.
The interface is very user friendly for gamers who know what they are doing. You can access gaming control through the navigational interface and change bandwidth prioritization according to your needs. You can be really specific with your networking parameters with the XR500. The firmware allows advanced users to delve deep into the settings, to optimize the router’s performance even more.
Gamers will appreciate the Geo-filter feature that limits the distance to servers, reducing ping times. You can even identify players with slow bandwidth connections who are within that range.
The DFS and double width 160MHz channels automatically select the best channel, allowing more data to be transmitted. Yu can keep your network secure with setting up your own VPN.
Ethernet vs Wireless Modem Connection For Gaming
MMORPGs rely on a continuous flow of data to provide a seamless gaming experience. Gamers know that wired is always better. If you are a beginner who doesn’t care too much for results, and you’re just looking for a fun time gaming with friends, then you can go wireless. Wireless allows for more players to be connected to the network, but this means the heavy load will have consequences for your gaming performance.
Ethernet connections provide stability and reliability in your connections, have lower ping and reduce lags, as well as boosting speeds and performance. This is not only related to gaming. File transfers within your local network are faster with Ethernet. Even devices connected to Plex or Kodi see a boost in the quality of the data streaming. However, you can always get the best router for 4K streaming that has a strong wireless signal and coverage.
Overall, Ethernet lowers latency issues, optimizes for lower pings, and delivers a stable connection with the highest speeds and more.
How To Set Up your Modem For Top Gaming Experience
- 1Check your modem is compatible with your ISP
- 2Connect your modem to the cable output via a coax cable
- 3Find a suitable place for your gaming modem – place it in a high place for better performance. Ensure that a power outlet is close by
- 4Go through the set up process as indicated in the manuals provided with your modem.
- 5You’re good to go!
Owning the high performance gaming networking equipment has always been, and will remain an obsession with true-blue gaming enthusiasts. Serious gamers know the importance of not ‘settling’ for mediocre and compromising on their gaming performance.
If you want to be on the top of your game, the BlueGadgetTooth team highly recommends the Netgear XR500. As of now, no other router comes close in terms of performance. If you’re on the hunt for the best modem for gaming, you should go with our Editor’s Choice - Motorola MB8600 with your eyes closed. The sheer value for money, packaged with a bundle of features that will keep any gamer happy is the best choice.
Those who don’t want to invest in two separate devices can buy the Netgear C7500. As you can see, Netgear features heavily in our guides due to their quality and attention to detail when it comes to going online.