You need a powerful and efficient modem that comes with the latest technologies like DOCSIS 3.1 to take full advantage of RCN’s high-speed internet plan that you have subscribed to. It doesn’t stop there; you just can’t order any other modem and get your internet-powered up. To be able to connect with RCN, you’ll need a modem that’s approved by them.
Most of the cable internet providers, including Mediacom, Optimum, Suddenlink and WOW! provide outdated equipment; that’s why you don’t get the fullest possible speed despite having a high-speed internet plan. The fact that makes it even more disappointing is you pay $10/month as a rental for such outdated internet equipment.
You could just search on Amazon or Best Buy to find an endless list of modems that are compatible with RCN, but if you’re looking for expert advice to choose the right model, then here’s a list of devices that we’ve tested with RCN in various locations.
- 11 Best RCN Compatible Modems in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk CM1100
- 2. Best Runner Up: Arris SurfBoard SB8200
- 3. Best Docsis 3.1 Modem: Netgear CM1000
- 4. Best Modem/Router Combo: ASUS CM-32
- 5. Best for Office: Arris SurfBoard SBG7400AC2
- 6. Best for Home: Arris SurfBoard SBG6950AC2
- 7. Best for Live Streaming: TP-Link TC-W7960
- 8. Best Under Budget: Netgear C3000 N300
- 9. Best for Small Businesses: Arris SurfBboard SBG6580
- 10. Best for Downloading: Arris SurfBoard SB6121
- 11. Cheapest Option for RCN: Netgear CMD31T
- Frequently Aked Questions
11 Best RCN Compatible Modems in 2021
|Netgear Nighthawk CM1100|
|Arris SurfBoard SB8200|
|Arris SurfBoard SBG7400AC2|
|Arris SurfBoard SBG6950AC2|
|Netgear C3000 N300|
|Arris SurfBboard SBG6580|
|Arris SurfBoard SB6121|
Our main aim with this article is to help you find the modem that’ll work best for your usage, that’s why we tested 43 different modems in 13 locations in Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania and are here with 11 different modems and modem/router combos that are highly compatible with RCN.
So, shall we begin with the list?
1. Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk CM1100
Despite reviewers finding it hard to identify RCN compatible modems that can manage the high-speed Gig-level internet plans, we have finally zeroed in on the Netgear Nighthawk CM1100. While this appliance boasts higher speeds, reliable connectivity, and exceptional affordability, the entire specs sheet is actually in line with the user preferences and the latest technologies.
For starters, the Netgear Nighthawk CM1100 exhibits the DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which translates into 32×8 streaming channels. Despite packing in 32 downstream and 8 upstream channels, the gadget is still 10 times faster as compared to DOCSIS 3.0 modems with a similar channel spread. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to tag this as a future-proof modem, capable of helping you reach speeds close to 2Gbps, provided the ISP permits the same.
The existing DOCSIS 3.1 technology is further bolstered by the channel bonding and link aggregation support. Besides, two downstream and two upstream channels are stacked with OFDM and OFDMA technologies, precisely to transmit data at enviable speeds even during peak hours.
Not just that, this is one of the few RCN modems to offer the QoS support for prioritizing network traffic as per requirements. Moreover, when tested in the speed labs, our experts could reach download speeds of up to 600Mbps for certain mid-range RCN plans.
Coming to the structural attributes, the Netgear Nighthawk CM1100 flaunts an upright design and weighs close to the 1-pound mark. Besides, you get access to two gig Ethernet ports, making this a multi-gig unit, with auto-sensing functionality to rely on. This means you can make good use of the RCN-offered internet package even in the wired form if you aren’t planning to set up a wireless network.
As far as compatibility is concerned, the Netgear Nighthawk CM1100 works well with Cox, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, and other relevant cable ISPs. Furthermore, this is one of the few DOCSIS 3.1 modems that offer IPv6 support for addressing selecting networks and internet protocols. Besides, this is one backward compatible modem that works perfectly with the DOCSIS 3.0 hardware.
Moreover, if you are planning to pair a wireless router with the same, we would urge you to consider an Archer device with Wi-Fi AX compatibility to make the most of the speeds exhibited by the Netgear Nighthawk CM1100. Overall, if you are looking for a budget-friendly, future-proof, and relevant modem for the RCN-compatible services, the Netgear Nighthawk CM1100 is the perfect option, more so due to the easy installation and setup.
- 10x faster as compared to DOCSIS 3.0 modems
- Two Ethernet ports for better-wired connectivity
- Boasts of link-aggregation support for reach multi-gig speeds
- Backward compatible
- Doesn’t run hot
- Experiences compatibility issues with certain modems
- Experiences connection drops
2. Best Runner Up: Arris SurfBoard SB8200
With the evolving needs of high-speed internet and constant connectivity, we all need a device that can do that effectively. The Arris SurfBoard SB8200 is great for streaming 4K movies, playing virtual-reality games and streaming movies from quality sources using the 32 x 8 channels. It does all this without a lag due to the DOCSIS 3.1 tech used.
The modem is easy to set up. By hooking it to the system and following the instructions, you can set it up without the help of technical support. However, if you’re still unable to set it up, you can contact RCN’s customer support and ask for help.
The Arris Surfboard SB8200 is capable of 10Gbps downloads. In 7 locations where we tested this, we could get steady download speeds up to 2Gbps and upload speeds at 1.3Gbps.
When left unattended for long hours, this modem tends to get locked and then you may have to restart it to make it operational again. Instead of that, power off when not in use and restart when you have to use it to save on time and optimally use energy.
With intensive usage, the modem gets too warm for comfort. You can combine it with a cooling pad or a USB fan to absorb all the extra heat and keep your device cool. This is only a modem, so make sure your cable operator and router are compatible with this before buying.
- Easy to install and set up
- Value for money
- Locks up-constantly have to restart
3. Best Docsis 3.1 Modem: Netgear CM1000
In today’s world where high-speed internet is the order of the day, the Netgear CM1000 does a decent job of catering to it. Be it high-end gaming on a laptop or heavy multitasking, this DOCSIS 3.1 based cable modem can support it all without a glitch.
It is fairly easy to set up and install. All you need to do is plug it into your computer and follow the instructions on the website. Post that, it is ready for use in minutes. And since it’s approved by RCN, you don’t need any technical support to setup. Now, we understand that intensive gaming means excessive heating of the modem. To ward off the heat, you can use a small USB fan or keep it in a cool corner.
When compared to other modems with similar specifications, this is priced slightly higher. But do factor in the 32 x 8 channel bonding and the high-speed connectivity before making a decision. It is capable of steady 1 Gbps downloads and 500 Mbps uploads for several hours.
Since it is NOT a modem/router combo, you’ll need to get a separate Wireless router for WiFI. Also, this modem is compatible with a selected routers only, so make sure that it works with the router you’re planning to get or already own.
- Backward compatible
- Easy to set up and install
- Heats up quickly
- Steep price point
4. Best Modem/Router Combo: ASUS CM-32
What if there was a device that could cater to multiple devices accessing the internet without a lag. The Asus CM-32 modem-router combo does that seamlessly. If you place this DOCSIS 3.0 based device in a central location, it offers great coverage across all rooms of the house.
This device is also fairly easy to install and set up. You can set it up yourself with the technician on the phone, and it is ready for use in a jiffy. In spite of intensive gaming and multiple websites running parallelly, the modem doesn’t give off any heat, which is a great plus and makes it durable equipment.
Also when you are live streaming high-quality videos and engrossed in multiplayer virtual reality gaming, the device does beautifully. There is no spotting or pixel blur or lag due to 1.3Gbps download and 600Mbps upload speeds which is something you experience on the internet equipment you get for the rental.
Now, the price point may be a bit high compared to other devices, but do factor in the 32 x 8 channels and high speed before making a decision. This is a modem and router so you can buy it without a worry.
- Excellent range
- Great value for money
- Steep price point
- Cannot connect to VPN sites
5. Best for Office: Arris SurfBoard SBG7400AC2
It is 3 products wrapped into one. The Arris SURFBoard combines a 24 x 8 channel cable modem, AC 2350 Dual-band Wi-Fi router and a 4-port Gigabit router. It is the ultimate in networking solutions. The Arris SurfBoard SBG7400AC2 comes equipped with DOCSIS 3.0 which is equipped with 24 downstream and 8 upstream channels.
It is your one-shot solution for gaming, downloading and Twitch streaming. Now, you can get rid of multiple devices. The all-in-one SBG7400AC2 also helps you to cut costs on monthly cable modem rentals. It is compatible with most U.S. cable network service providers like Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum and offers 1Gbps download and 155Mbps upload consistently.
It is a great space-saving and cost-effective option. It is just perfect for your home network. The set up is also quite easy. You can manage it with just a few clicks. The 4 Gigabit additional ports aim at providing ultra-fast wired networking technology at your doorstep. It can help you connect to just about anything, that includes gaming consoles, smart TVs and other devices.
It is also equipped with McAfee’s secure home internet that allows you to take control of your home network. You can guard your home network against malware and phishing scams. It is free for 3 years and that is the best part. Parental control is another top feature of the cable modem-router combo and that should make you click in the buy button.
- Set up is easy
- Fast and reliable
- USB ports are very handy
- Rental costs can be recovered in one year
- Can support multiple devices
- A great addition to any home
- Configuring the factory settings is a problem
- Not compatible with AT & T
- The support site is of no use
6. Best for Home: Arris SurfBoard SBG6950AC2
The Arris SurfBoard SBG6950AC2 modem-router combo caters to the ever-rising need for connectivity. It is best for streaming high-resolution videos, gaming and most workstation software updates and installs.
With cable companies charging rentals on modems, it is only wise to invest in your own device. At its price point, it does justice for medium to high internet usage. If placed in a central location, almost every room of a decent-sized apartment gets enough speed and coverage.
It is simple to set up, and you can do it on your own without the assistance of a technician. The download speed of 686 Mbps and upload of 300 Mbps is quite decent. It uses 16 x 4 channel bonding that can connect a fair number of devices.
We understand that heavy usage may cause this DOCSIS 3.0 modem to heat up, and that heat is quite troubling. You can use a USB fan or keep it in a cool corner to ward off the heat.
Sometimes, the lights on this device can get very bright at night and may interfere with your gaming. Keep this in a corner to avoid the glare. So if you don’t have the perfect corner setup avoid getting this.
- Easy to set up
- Great coverage
- Value for money
- Gets heated up quickly
- Bright lights of modem
7. Best for Live Streaming: TP-Link TC-W7960
It is time to move away from monthly cable modem rentals. The TP-Link has come up with a great Cable modem cum router just for you. The TP-Link TC-W7960 is perfect for internet plans up to 150Mbps. It is compatible with the US Cable service providers like Cox, Spectrum, and Comcast. It is the ultimate in wireless networking.
You get 8 downstream and 4 upstream channels that are able to deliver 343Mbps download and 143Mbps uploads. Docsis 3.0 technology gives you faster speed, almost 8X. The USB port lets you access files and media and share your network with multiple devices.
To top it all, now you have total control over your home network. You can monitor your children’s activity and also guests. There is Parental control that makes life easy for worried parents. TP-Link TC-W7960 is a 2-in-1 device that just works for you.
It replaces your ISP’s rental modem and comes with a whole lot of other functionalities. It is easy to set up. Now, watch movies and play games without interruption.
The signals are so strong, that you can even use them outside your house. Then there is the 2-year warranty to back it up. The LED display device shows the network status so well. You are very much informed all the time.
- Under normal circumstances wireless signal is good
- Easy to set up
- Great with Comcast/ Xfinity
- Good reliable speed
- Drops connections when browsing heavy content
- Reset required every few days
- Wi-Fi signal is lower than a wired connection
8. Best Under Budget: Netgear C3000 N300
The Netgear C3000 helps you eliminate your monthly cable network bills. Now save up to $156 per year on networks Cox, Spectrum and Comcast. The Netgear C3000 N300 is a 3-in-1 cable modem router combo equipped with 2 Gigabit switch. It is a great combo of modern technology.
You will get 8x speeds on DOCSIS 3.0. Add to that the Genie App content filtering feature. You can manage your network now from anywhere. The 8 x 4 channel device offers smooth video streaming, gaming, attending online classes, video conferencing, and faster downloads. It is suitable for medium-sized homes offering downloads of 340Mbps and uploads of 122Mbps.
The device can be set up easily. You can now operate it through your smartphone. The Genie app offers a dashboard to control your network. It has easy push-button Wi-Fi controls as well. You can also wirelessly share data using hard drives. You can create a separate network for your guests. This is the best in networking solutions today.
There is a faster self-activation system for Comcast Xfinity users which isn’t really a plus for RCN users but isn’t a negative thing either. However, it’s compatible with the majority of ISPs in the US so you don’t have to get a new modem/router combo if you shift to a different ISP.
- Value for money
- Certified with major U.S. service providers
- Good download speeds
- Reliable and stable
- Customer service is bad
- Internet is slow
- Quality degrades with time
9. Best for Small Businesses: Arris SurfBboard SBG6580
The Arris SurfBoard SBG6580 is one of the latest cable modem cum router. Compatible with most of the US cable internet service providers, you sure will find several reasons to purchase it. Your cable modem cum router is compatible with major service providers like Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity.
The use of DOCSIS 3.0 technology provides faster networks than old gen 2.0. Now download large movies and games quickly with downloads at 343 Mbps and uploads of 131Mbps. You cannot get anything better than this. However, if RCN provides DOCSIS 3.1 at your location, consider getting the Netgear CM1000.
You require a cable internet service of up to 100 Mbps for this to work. You can now take total control of your home network. High-speed internet is what you need for your home today. This device with 8 x 4 channel bonding is an affordable solution. It also has in-built security that lets you control your network.
Now you can surf online securely. The 2-year warranty is another add-on. It is also equipped with status indicators for power, receive, online and send functions. This is great for online jobs.
It can also be used for your home office or small business. This is a gateway modem that allows networking up to 253 desktops, laptops, and other wireless devices. The plug-n-play installation is quick and easy.
- Good speed
- Easy installation
- Self-managed dashboard
- Requires frequent reboots
- Degrades over time
- Wi-Fi stops at intervals
10. Best for Downloading: Arris SurfBoard SB6121
The Arris SurfBoard SB6121 with the Motorola logo in front is a reliable modem. We tested it at our lab, and it was consistently able to provide above 172Mbps download speeds and 131Mbps during uploads.
To put that in context, it takes about 20 Mbps to watch streaming 4K video. It is quite challenging to consume in excess of 100Mbps consistently over a home network. So be assured that you have at least 50% overhead should you need it.
The Docsis 3.0 tech-based modem has 4 x 4 channel bonding. That is not an ideal configuration but enough to run a UHD tv, a gaming device, and YouTube at the same time. The same model is also available with 8×4 and 16×4 channel bonding but at a slightly higher price.
The rear plate has a single Ethernet port. It is advisable to connect the modem to a router and distribute the incoming data among devices. It is not a modem and router combo.
The form factor is vertical, and you can neatly tuck it away in the corner of a room. The blinking LEDs in front indicate Power, Data In, Data Out, and WAN Status. There are numerous perforations on the side for ventilation, and there is no cause for it to get overheated.
- Vertical form factor
- Solid build quality
- Stable at speeds above 100 Mbps for hours
- No USB port
- Single Ethernet port
11. Cheapest Option for RCN: Netgear CMD31T
With an off white chassis, the Netgear CMD31T looks delicate and quite classy. The package contained a stand, and you could place it horizontally or vertically.
The rear panel has an Ethernet port. We suggest you attach it to a router (you can choose a router that costs less than 100 dollars). There is also the coaxial cable internet input. There are several LED indicators in front, indicating Power, WAN Status, Upload, and Download. The last two can turn partly green and amber to show how many channels are in use.
Setting it up was a breeze. Just type in 192.168.100.1 and type in “admin” and “password” for logging in the first time. The configuration pages were auto-filled mostly, and there was little to select except the device name or SSID.
We downloaded several Ubuntu distro torrents (these are legal torrents hosted in high-speed servers) to install it on a few Ubuntu compatible laptops. The download speed was quite steady at above 150 Mbps. The upload was also satisfactory and showed above 120 Mbps most of the time.
For a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with 4 x 4 channels, this is reasonably satisfactory. The circuit boards and connectors are quite well built, and the product will probably last several years, even with constant use. Our conclusion, a cheap, efficient workhorse that is ideal for homes using no more than 5 devices simultaneously.
- Extremely affordable device
- Time tested use with several different ISPs
- Excellent ease of set up
- Only one Ethernet port is restrictive
- Lack of battery backup
Frequently Aked Questions
Which one is a highly capable modem with Wifi?
A mode, a wired router, and wifi router – you get all of this in one body with the Arris SURFboard SBG6950AC2. Capable of supporting IPv4 and v6 simultaneously, it is not very expensive and is rated AC1900 in Wifi. The device is pleasant to look at and blends unobtrusively into your living room. Get great Wifi speed across almost 2000 sq ft and connect every room to a fast wireless connection.
Which of these offers the fastest downloads?
The fastest speeds could be observed when we tested the Netgear CM1000 modem. It delivered consistently 1 Gbps service with no time lag and pause. This is due to its new DOCSIS 3.1 compliant hardware, and if you connect it to an Ethernet router, you will get fast Wifi everywhere in your property.
I want a VoIP modem. Is there one in this lineup?
The Arris Touchstone TM702G is probably the best VoIP modem we have ever tested. For a price of only $147, it sets you free from long-distance call charges forever. It has a massive battery backup, which ensures that your phone lines are never interrupted due to power outages.
Is there a latest SurfBoard device for RCN?
The Arris SURFboard SB8200 is designed, keeping in mind the latest DOCSIS 3.1 that RCN has implemented. The 32×8 channel bonding gives you sustained 5 Gbps sustained speeds with spikes of 9 Gbps. The newest protocol takes this device to a whole new level allowing super-smooth gaming and video streaming experience for all.
Does TP-Link have any modem for RCN?
The TP-Link N300 is priced at a sub-$70 and gives blazing fast speeds. The modem also has a built-in router, and you can at ease stream 300 Mbps to multiple devices over 100 feet away.
With so many exceptional devices laid against each other, it was quite hard for us to come to a decision. Finally, we decided that the first place belonged to Arris SURFboard SBG6950AC2. It is not only reasonably priced but also a very handsomely designed product. The McAfee protection is the icing on the cake.
The Netgear CMD31T took second place. It is really cheap and very dependable. Many of us have used it in the past, and none could recall it ever giving any trouble. The download of 150Mbps is not insignificant. You could play games and use it for video conferencing at the same time and never note any delay.