WOW! Internet charges $10/month for modem rental ($120 yearly). By using your own modem, not only do you save the monthly rental by one-time payment, but you would also have better connectivity and OWN it too! Isn’t it a good idea to get a modem of your own?
But is it possible to use your own modem with WOW! Internet? YES, you can use them, provided that they are approved/compatible with them! But how to find the compatible models? One way would be to look at their official modem compatibility document (not recommended). The other way is to trust us and check out our list, which includes the modems that have been tested in various locations with WOW!
If you have a subscription from WOW! Internet, it is time you stop paying $10 every month for renting equipment. It is known as a reliable ISP, but what it is not known for is, giving its customers a good quality modem, and for a minimal price, you could pick one up online.
In this article, we not only review the best modems for WOW! Internet, but we’ve also covered an in-depth guide on how to choose one. So, if you’re a beginner, feel free to check it out. Now, without wasting any more of your time, shall we begin with the list?
- Best WOW Compatible Modems in 2021
- Things To Consider When Choosing A Modem
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
Best WOW Compatible Modems in 2021
|Arris Surfboard SBG8300|
|Arris Surfboard SB8200|
|Arris Surfboard SB6190|
|Arris Surfboard SBG6900AC|
After testing about 15 modems in 15 different locations, we have shortlisted a few that performed best with WOW! Internet in our tests. We considered several factors and used them for different purposes like working from home, attending online meetings, playing online games, movie streaming and more.
1. Best Overall: Arris Surfboard SBG8300
WOW, like any other ISP, sets forth rather exorbitant rental charges, which accumulate with time. Moreover, with this internet service provider best known for continually upgrading its service sets and speed limits for select plans, purchasing an all-inclusive modem seems like the most probable option.
This is where the Arris Surfboard SBG8300 makes a cut, featuring more like a modem-router combo that has you covered even for future upgrades.
Coming to the specifications, the ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 is more like two devices rolled into one, featuring at least three top tier technologies. While the DOCSIS 3.1 standard makes it a future-proof device, the router-centric capabilities are whetted by the AC2350 standards.
The performances associated with the SBG8300 are top-notch, to say the least with 32 x 8 channels for the user to benefit from. Besides, ARRIS has also dedicated two downstream and even 2 upstream channels specifically for the OFDM standards, just to ensure higher speeds during the peak hours. While the modem is rated to reach download speeds of up to 4Gbps, with WOW!, you can reach close to 1Gbps, in real-time.
However, the real essence of the download and upload speeds shows up with respect to the routing capabilities of this device. Based on the Wi-Fi standards, you can reach cumulative speeds of up to 2350Mbps, with 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands talked about in unison.
As tested for the Wi-Fi speeds in a life-like scenario, the 2.4GHz band was able to accommodate download and upload speeds of 350Mbps and 100Mbps respectively, whereas it was 950Mbps and 320Mbps, respectively for the 5GHz band. Therefore, despite the maximum limit closing in on 4Gbps, the existing Wave 2 technology actually constricts the Wi-Fi speeds, by a significant margin.
However, the router centric capabilities of the ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 doesn’t end here as despite the 3 x 3 mode for the 2.4GHz, it still allows you to reach better MU-MIMO inspired speeds with 4 x 4 streams, provided the gadget maintains LOS with the router. Coming to the gadget layout, the ARRIS SBG8300 flaunts an upright design with the rear panel making room for four Gig Ethernet ports.
Each of the four ports allows you to establish the best possible wired connections minus the attenuation and latency exhibited by wireless networks. Besides, you also get to experience two gadget-adhering LEDs, which are more like indicative units. Finally, setting up this modem-router combo is probably the easiest with the mobile application lending assistance.
Besides, the Alexa compatibility is yet another decisive feature that further allows you to set up a more cohesive space. Overall, the ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 is one of the more complete and all-inclusive modem-router combos available in the market, best suited for the Gig internet connections from WOW!, or any other cable-reliant ISP.
- Modem-router Combo
- Supports OFDM channels
- DOCSIS 3.1 is future proof
- MU-MIMO support for the 5GHz band
- 4 Gig Ethernet ports
- Lacks Wi-Fi AX support
- Lesser number of LEDs
2. Best Runner Up: Netgear CM1000
More often than not, as avid gamers or working professionals, we need high-speed internet that supports all of our activities. The NetGear CM1000 does a brilliant job of handling internet speed and making your work smooth and seamless. It is ideal for intensive gaming, movie watching, and live streaming videos.
We understand that there could be a lag when there are multiple users, and you could experience pings. Once you set this up, it significantly reduces your pings, which is quite crucial for the gamer.
Now, this modem is easy to set-up and install. It comes with a triangular venting system that gives out excessive heat during intense gaming. It comes with a default category 5 cable, but you can increase your bandwidth by opting for the category 7 cable.
For only $150, you get to eliminate monthly rentals of $12 forever and with a much superior modem to boot. Sleek and sturdy build with DOCSIS 3.1 platform makes this capable of over 6Gbps download and 1Gbps upload. The presence of the top end Broadcom BCM3390 chipset and 256MB of RAM provides smooth operation and a complete lack of overheating.
A dependable workhorse that boasts the latest tech – the CM1000 has to be used vertically or with wall mounting. It is quite small at only 9 inches tall and can be tucked away in a corner. 32 x 8 channels mean there are enough data routes for all your devices to download and upload without a long queue forming.
This comes in a black and charcoal grey tone connected by a single-screw stand. It is durable and light and will last you for a long time. Make sure to check that your service provider supports this modem and can handle the speed of the carrier.
- Easy to set-up
- High Speed
- Heats up quickly
- Not suitable for multiple devices
3. Best for Streaming: Arris Surfboard SB8200
The Arris Surfboard SB8200 is best suited for 4k Video streaming, virtual-reality gaming, and movies. This supports the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology, although if your area doesn’t provide it, it supports the 3.0 version as well. The device is smaller than most modems in the market but performs exceptionally well.
There is no lag and also 290/23 wireless Velop nodes work well without a signal drop. The modem sheds off excessive heat when subject to intensive gaming. You can use a small fan that keeps the device from warming up and avoid any damage if you come in contact with it.
The speed is very high and you can stream videos and movies without a lag. The transition into the gaming world is seamless and there is no ping. With the capability of handling IPv4 and IPv6, browsing is a smooth experience.
The interesting configuration includes two Ethernet ports allowing you to set up two discreet networks – say one for kids and one for you and your wife. 10Gbps download speed and 1 Gbps upload over 32 x 8 channels gives it the capability to deliver data to at least a dozen devices.
This is very easy to install and set up. The wonderful self-activation and auto-configuration save you the hassle of filling in jumbled words like Subnet Mask as the device loads them in automatically, So all you need to do is connect to your laptop through the ethernet, activate it and restart. All this can be done at your home without the help of technical support staff.
At the heart of the device is an Intel Puma chipset that can work for days without any hassle. Just turn it on and forget it. It only consumes 10 watts and that means almost nil electricity cost. Now, this is a modem only and not a router. Make sure that it is compatible with your router and then invest in this device.
- Easy to install
- High speed
- Heats up quickly
- Steep price
4. Best Modem/Router Combo: Arris SBG7580AC
The Arris Surfboard SBG7580AC is ideal for catering to your professional and gaming requirements. The best part about this is that it works excellent with speeds even higher than what you have originally subscribed to.
The matte black front has a USB port for you to plug in a large external hard drive that can be used by anyone in the home to back up all their media. Desktops come with a default of 2.5G and this router supports 5G. All you need to do is buy an adapter capable of receiving both bands. With this, the router delivers more optimal performance and caters to higher speeds.
Do not look down on it for being a Docsis 3.0 device. It is still capable of blazing-fast speeds that are enough to feed several data-hungry devices. We consistently clocked it at 1.4Gbps during downloads and 343Mbps for uploads.
What we especially liked is the McAfee built-in antimalware protection. With ransomware on the rise and phishing attacks happening so often, one can never have enough security. All of the features can be controlled through an app, and you could keep a watch on your child’s online activity from another city.
What you may have to factor in is that the interface is quite slow. Opening firewalls on this device is not very intuitive and takes a while to figure and understand. The range of this device is quite good and in a 2500 sq home, it is possible to get a network in almost all the rooms.
The device restricts Stream chat, which seems to be a problem area even with the firewall deactivated. So, if you are a stream user, consider this aspect before making the purchase. Also, when you have to extend the wireless or mesh networking, Arris doesn’t support that and you have to seek a third-party solution. Pick this to relieve yourself of paying the monthly rental fees.
- Good coverage and range
- Easy to set up guest networks
- Slow interface
- Restrictive on known applications
5. Best Under Budget: Arris Surfboard SB6190
What if a modem could cater to high-speed requirements without losing on the speed bit almost all the time? The Arris Surfboard SB6190 provides lightning fast internet with almost no signal drop. The range of this device is quite big, and in a decent-sized home, you can comfortably access it from all the rooms.
The device is great for uploading and downloading high-resolution photographs, streaming 4K videos (preferably on 4K laptops) and virtual reality gaming. Even with these internet hungry applications, the speed is uncompromised and works without a lag.
Arris is one of the biggest names in modems and routers, and this device proves why. The stunning looks mean you would not want to hide this modem behind a sofa but have it front and center beside the subwoofer.
With 32 downstream x 8 upstream channels, you are never going to run out of bandwidth. This is a top-end DOCSIS 3.0 device and can handle 1.4Gbps and 131Mbps upload without any effort. All that you need to do is attach a Wifi router to the Ethernet port, and you have full coverage of your property.
The 2 years warranty amply shows how much the brand believes in its quality. This is also compatible with most routers and when you plan to upgrade your internet speed, the support is great and works almost instantly. It is easy to operate and reliable. It will last you a great deal of time if you are worried about the price point.
What you may have to factor in is the Intel Puma chip, which does a brilliant job in handling all the hardware required for the modem into a single chip. Now, this also means that internet traffic can be blocked, which sometimes may cause a delay. Overall, this a great device.
- Great hardware
- High speed
- Works well for heavy usage
- Intel Puma Chip issue
- High Price
6. Best for Home: Arris Surfboard SBG6900AC
For one, Arris Surfboard SBG6900AC is certainly a fast modem-router combo. While the modem has great speed, the router is capable of going even higher. It hits the max speed quickly. We have streamed multiple videos and songs at the same time and it all played without any lag.
We have performed speed tests and always found satisfying results. Of course, some of the drop and pick up can still be attributed to the ISP provider.
However, despite how fast it is, there are times when the speed drops drastically. It’s not too bad, but when you’re used to a reasonable speed, it can get you impatient. Aesthetically it is a bigger version of the SB6190. That is due to the router circuitry and antennas inside. The SB6900 also has a USB port at the front that is quite useful if you need a secure connection to the network from a storage device in a hurry.
AC 1900 2.4/5 GHz Wifi also comes with beamforming. This concentrates the signal to where it is needed instead of sending it out in all directions at once. The SB6900 can easily handle IPv4 and IPv6 addresses that make surfing the internet a delightful experience.
This is definitely one of the more sophisticated modem-router combos boasting of 16 x 4 channels. An added advantage is that the connection is pretty stable. We have used it for sometimes and we have yet to see it randomly disconnect, which isn’t the case for most modems in the market these days.
The setup procedure is quite easy, as well. You pretty much need to plug it in and then call your service provider to tell them the serial number, so that it can be activated. There’s also a website where you can tinker and keep track of the signals and firmware upgrade.
- Incredibly easy setup
- Stable connection
- More ports would be nice
- Lights are a bit too bright for people that can get annoyed by it
- Internet speed drops sometimes
7. Best for Small Office: TP-Link N300
With the advent of technology in every aspect of life, it is important to stay connected at all times. The Best for gaming and professional use – TP-link N300 Modem router provides seamless gaming, software installs, and movie streaming over Docsis 3.0 platform.
The modem-router combo is durable and easy to install. The website is intuitive and guides the user through the steps. If that is tedious for you, the customer care executives are available to help you.
This 8 x 4 channel modem-router has a high range of internet speed and is capable of handling multiple devices without a lag. Though it is inexpensive, it is unbelievably sleek with a large black grille covering most of the exterior.
It may appear that 343Mbps is slow, but when you think that HD streaming takes only 25Mbps, you understand it in perspective. 143Mbps upload is perfect for most homes and small offices. The Wi-Fi could easily reach a distance of 150 feet and across several rooms. Our 2000 sq ft lab was covered end to end with no trouble.
TP-Link is known for manufacturing sturdy electronics, and this device is no exception. For newbies, this modem makes the hardware firewall easy to configure with a 4 level choice from Off to High. All things considered a thoroughly impressive gadget.
While it has high speed and connectivity, the modem seems to have trouble with high-resolution videos. There is a noticeable lag and sometimes the device has to be continually restarted. Similarly, certain websites seem to be difficult to access from the modem. Not only does it take time to load, but the signal is lost midway.
Overall, the device is a good buy when you are trying to save money on monthly rentals to the cable company.
- Easy installation
- High speed and connectivity
- Compatible with most carriers
- Internet drops with heavy usage
- Requires constant restarting
Things To Consider When Choosing A Modem
1. DOCSIS Technology: 3.1 or 3.0?
DOCSIS is an acronym for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. Put simply, it is the same as generation (3G/4G/5G) in mobile data. DOCSIS 3.0 tech allows a theoretical speed of 912 Mbps or almost 1 Gbps. In practice, the speed is throttled down to 300 Mbps or a similar rate. Whereas, DOCSIS 3.1 allows theoretical speeds of 10 Gbps or 10 times faster than DOCSIS 3.0.
Internet channels are duplex, meaning separate channels for download and upload. Downstream and Upstream channels are like traffic lanes. Each channel is 6 MHz wide and can carry 38 Mbps. More the channels, the more your speed.
So 8 x 4 allows you about 300 Mbps download and 150 Mbps upload. The more the first number, the better it is.
3. Download/Upload Speed
Speed is measured in Mbps or megabits per second or 1 million bits per second. Note that one byte (B) is made of 8 bits (b). Hence to download a 1200 MB file would need 9600 million bits, and at 2 Mbps would take 9600/2 = 4800 seconds or 80 minutes. The more the number, the better it is.
4. Modem/Router Combo
The modem is a device that changes the incoming signal into one that can be used by your home network. The router splits this incoming traffic and also joins together the outgoing traffic. A stand-alone modem has one single RJ45 output that is connected to a router that splits the signal between a dozen devices.
A combo is one unit that has both a modem and a router. Many prefer high-performance routers and thus buy a separate unit for modem and router.
Frequently Asked Questions
Priced less than $80, the TP-Link N300 is a very useful modem and router. In our tests, it could support 300 Mbps of steady download speeds. We tested it connected to a laptop streaming 1080p video and two gaming devices, and it never buffered.
The Arris SURFboard SB8200 is perfect, and it is not at all expensive for something that supports the latest 3.1standards and also the new IPv6 system. The model claims to deliver 10 Gbps, and in our tests, we found it to perform steadily at 6 Gbps mark and in bursts attain 10 Gbps.
The Netgear CM1000 is quite expensive at 4150 and built to last years, if not a decade. With a Broadcom chipset and processor and 3 GB of RAM, it is fast and efficient. You could couple it to a Netgear Nighthawk router for the perfect availability of 500 Mbps speed around the house.
The ARRIS Surfboard SBG7580 fits the bill superbly. It has a sustained download speed of 400 Mbps in our tests and has an Ethernet output port that lets you connect it to a Wifi. There was very low latency, and all the webpages loaded equally fast. If you are looking for a replacement for your WOW modem, we suggest this one.
The Arris SURFboard SBG6900AC has a built-in AC1900 Wifi router. It is sleek and has four Ethernet ports for hooking up all the external hard drives and desktops you have. Capable of supporting over 300 Mbps of speed, it was able to send Wifi signal all over our 2000 sq ft lab with no effort.
Our best pick was the Arris Surfboard SBG8300. However, one drawback about it is you’ll need to get a different wireless router, which could add up to your cost. You can surely go for cheap routers that cost less than $100, but that really won’t make sense!
Being a lab geek, we loved the performance. That is why the Arris Surfboard SB8200 held our attention. The factor that we paid most attention to was a low signal to noise ratio and ease with which the firewall could be configured. In both respects, the modem performed above expectations.
The cheapest in our test was the thrifty and nifty TP-Link N300. Good things come in small packages or at least small prices. It is wall-mounted and has a 2-year warranty. The USB port offers secure connectivity to external storage. The device has a very low profile, and though it won’t win any design contests is definitely unobtrusive.
Which one are you getting? Have you used any of these? Would you want to share your experience and help others make an informed buying decision? Feel free to post your thoughts!