Best WiFi Router for Spectrum
If you’re a Spectrum subscriber, you’ve most likely been given the option to rent a Spectrum router for $5 a month. While this may seem like an attractive offer, it’s better to purchase your own Wi-Fi router, as Spectrum units usually lack a lot of advanced features.
The company’s standard router might also not be suitable for big apartments, offices, or houses because of its weak antennas. Having your own third-party router will provide you with better coverage and further give you full control over the settings, allowing you to get the most out of your Spectrum internet plan.
However, since Spectrum is not a very popular brand, selecting a router that suits their internet service can be a very difficult task. To help you find the best WiFi router for Spectrum, we’ve reviewed some of the most popular models available today. Let’s get started!
Why you should have your own WiFi router for Spectrum
Faster Wi-Fi and better performance
Although the standard Spectrum router might not be the worst one on the market, it will also not be the most suitable router for your Spectrum internet plan. We recommend getting a unit that performs at the speeds you need it to.
You’ll get much faster speeds and better performance from your own Spectrum-compatible router as compared to the company’s rental router.
No rental fees
Renting a router for just $5 a month might not seem so bad. After all, it costs just a bit more than a good cup of coffee.
However, a $5 monthly rental fee translates to $60 a year, after which you don’t even get to own the Wi-Fi router you’re spending so much money on. You’ll save a lot of money in the long run if you purchase a separate router yourself.
Extended wireless coverage
Your network size is going to be different from that of your parents, friends, and neighbors. While you’re aware of the size of the network you need, Spectrum is not that well-informed.
A Spectrum rental router will only be able to provide spotty coverage out into your yard or across multiple floors. If you need a router that provides extended coverage, it would be better to purchase a unit that meets your specific coverage needs.
More Secure Network
With the amount of cybercrime in today’s world, you can never be too careful with cyber security. It’s important to have a network that’s as secure as possible. However, a Spectrum router might not cover all the bases.
If you purchase a separate, Spectrum-compatible unit, you’ll be able to decide the level of security your network requires, whether it’s a stronger firewall, a VPN, or even parental controls.
6 Best WiFi Router for Spectrum
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#1 Top Pick
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Best for Parents
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#1 Top Pick
TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Router
If you’re looking for a high-performance, Spectrum-compatible router, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, then the TP-Link Archer A7 should definitely be on the top of your list. This is an excellent all-around unit that works for almost all average networks.
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Motorola MB7621 Cable Modem
The Motorola MB7621 is a reliable device that supports the fastest internet speeds and boasts compatibility with almost every non-gigabit plan from all cable internet service providers in the United States, including Spectrum, Suddenlink, WOW, Comcast Xfinity, Cox, and Sparklight/Cable One.
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Best for Parents
TP-Link AX5400 (Archer AX73)
Ideal for three-bedroom homes, the TP-Link AX5400 is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 device that sets up in minutes and provides basic network security protection and strong parental controls.
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Best for Gamers
ARRIS SURFboard SB8200
The ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 is one of the best-selling gigabit DOCSIS 3.1 modems available today because of its ability to maximize the internet throughput that your ISP offers in the first place.
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Best for Large Homes
TP-Link Deco Mesh Wi-Fi System
If you have a big office or house with multiple floors, the TP-Link Deco Mesh Wi-Fi system is an excellent choice. Deco Mesh technology provides you with a better and faster Wi-Fi experience, extending signal strength to reach every nook and cranny of your house.
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Best for Streaming
TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi System
The TP-Link Deco M5 is a three-piece system that uses mesh technology to provide extended wireless coverage to your entire house. All three units seamlessly work together to cover 4500 square feet.
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1. Most Pocket-Friendly: TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Router
The AC1750 comes with three high-gain antennas that increase the strength of your Wi-Fi signal, allowing it to reach every corner of your house. It has a few LEDs on the front that represent different functionalities of the router, like data transfer, power, and internet activity. It also features a Gigabit WAN port, a USB port, four LAN ports, a power button, and a WPS/Wi-Fi button on the back.
This model is able to provide stable Wi-Fi performance to every device in your house thanks to its solid hardware, advanced technology, bandwidth prioritization (QoS), and powerful CPU for high-speed processing.
The Archer A7 can connect up to 50 devices and provide up to 2500 square feet of exceptional Wi-Fi coverage. Its strong amplifiers and high-gain antennas connect every device, whether you’re using them in your living room or in your backyard.
This unit is also 3x faster than standard routers and ensures a smooth 4K streaming and gaming experience. Its dual-band Wi-Fi further supports more devices with fewer disruptions. It offers parental controls, guest access, and WPA/WPA2 wireless encryption as well, so you don’t have to worry about any cybersecurity issues and can keep your family and all your devices safe.
The AC1750 works with Alexa, and you can easily turn off or turn on the guest Wi-Fi using voice control. Thanks to its intuitive and simple Tether app, you can set up the router in minutes, manage your home network, and even check in remotely using the cloud.
All in all, the TP-Link Archer A7 offers the range and speed most families need at an extremely affordable price. It provides excellent value for money and delivers the perfect combination of features and performance, making it ideal for most homes.
- Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Includes parental controls
- Wireless USB access
- Seamless 4K HD streaming
- Very easy to install
- Does not have MU-MIMO technology
- USB is only 2.0
2. Best Mid-Range: Motorola MB7621 Cable Modem
Voted the best cable modem for 2021 and 2019 by Top Ten Reviews and declared the best modem for most people in 2021 by Wirecutter, this model undoubtedly deserves a place on our list of Best WiFi router for Spectrum.
This device connects easily to any router and provides internet access to all your Ethernet and Wi-Fi-capable devices. This flexible design allows you to pair the modem with any router of your choosing, including a gaming or mesh router. You can also use the Motorola MB7621 with mesh or whole home W-Fi networks, such as Google Wi-Fi, Orbi, and eero.
If you’re not going to use the device’s Ethernet port for a router, you can plug it into a game station, computer, HDTV, or any other Ethernet device. The MB7621 is perfect for internet packages up to 600 megabits per second because it is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem that features 8 upstream and 24 downstream channels.
The setup of this Motorola model is incredibly fast and easy with the quick start guide. Its compact, attractive design improves cooling, minimizes shelf space, and extends the modem’s life, while its stylish color complements the décor of almost every office or home. Lastly, it comes with a 2-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about wasting your money.
When it comes to mid-range performers, you won’t get anything better than this!
- Power button is easy to use
- GigE Ethernet port ensures a high-speed wired connection
- Ideal for speeds up to 600 Mbps
- Works with most US cable providers
- Provides faster and more reliable Internet
- Motorola could improve firmware
3. Best for Parents: TP-Link AX5400 (Archer AX73)
The black device boasts a textured top and six adjustable non-removable antennas. Its front edge has seven LED indicators for Ethernet, Internet, USB connectivity, WPS activity, power, and both radio bands. On its back, it has a power jack, a Gigabit WAN port, four LAN ports, and buttons for switching on/off the front LEDs and Wi-Fi.
It also has a reset button, a WPS button, and a power button. There’s a USB 3.0 port located on the right side of the device as well. However, unlike the AX50, this unit does not offer multi-gig connectivity and does not support link aggregation.
This dual-band router features a 1.5GHz tri-core processor and can reach maximum speeds of up to 4804 Mbps on its 5GHz band and up to 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It can support Wi-Fi 6 technologies, including OFDMA transmissions, WPA3 encryption, band steering, 160MHz channel bandwidth, MU-MIMO data streaming, Dynamic Frequency Selection, and beamforming.
You can manage the Archer AX73 with a web console or the Tether mobile app for Android and iOS devices. It’s better to use the web console, as it provides more advanced settings than the application, such as IPv6, DHCP server settings, and NAT Forwarding. However, the mobile app has a better and easier user interface, and you’ll need to use the app to subscribe to TP-Link’s optional HomeShield service.
You can place this TP-Link model on a flat desktop surface, or you can mount it on a wall as well. With this unit, you’ll get strong parental controls, a solid 5GHz performance, and the ability to check for any potential security risks in your network.
The TP-Link Tether app makes it very easy to install and use, but TP-Link can improve the router’s 2.4GHz throughput performance.
- Excellent 5GHz throughput performance
- Comes with network security tools and HomeShield parental controls
- Wall mountable
- Very easy to install
- Supports OneMesh
- Intuitive web interface offers lots of useful settings
- Lacks multi-gig ports
- Some HomeShield features need a subscription
4. Best for Gamers: ARRIS SURFboard SB8200
The unit’s perfect balance between processing setup and port arrangement eliminates the use of any other networking device. It can also cut through almost any level of congestion, making it perfect for multi-tab browsing and video conferencing.
The ARRIS SB8200 is an exceptionally sleek and stylish cable modem that boasts multiple strategically positioned, heat-dissipating vents. It sports two LEDs at the back and four at the front, while its matte finish makes it look like a truly premium product.
It also has two 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports that can provide maximum speeds of up to 1 Gbps. This unit further features link aggregation support, making it easier to get access to multi-gig speeds.
It also offers multi-ISP support, with compatibility extending to Comcast Xfinity, WOW, Midco, Sparklight, Cox, Mediacom, and Sparklight. However, keep in mind that this model does not support Verizon, CenturyLink, and other ISPs that have video services bundled with their internet plans.
One of the best things about this ARRIS SURFboard model is that it replaces an Intel chipset with a high-speed Broadcom processor. The SoC works with the 3GB RAM, cutting through all kinds of network latency and congestion. It’s important to note that the powerful Broadcom BCM3390 allows you to work with the 32×8 channel bonding support as well.
The SB8200 can reach speeds of up to 2000Mbps. So, if you’re looking for an all-inclusive model that promises a top-notch processing setup along with higher speeds, then the ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 is the one for you. Its excellent performance further makes it perfect for telemarketing firms, big business houses, and professional houses.
- Extremely easy to set up
- Link aggregation support
- Web interface is intuitive and easy to use
- Two Ethernet ports
- 32×8 channel bonding support
- Additional 128MB storage space amplifies networking experience
- Cannot reach its full potential without a separate router
5. Best for Large Homes: TP-Link Deco Mesh Wi-Fi System
This unit offers better coverage than standard Wi-Fi routers. Its three units seamlessly work together to eliminate dead zones and create a mesh network that can cover up to 5500 square feet.
Instead of a Wi-Fi range extender that needs several different network names and passwords, having a Deco S4 enables you to experience seamless roaming throughout your house with only one network name and password. The device automatically connects you to the nearest router, allowing you to enjoy uninterrupted streaming as you move around the house.
It also automatically reroutes traffic, so you keep gaming or streaming, even if one of the Deco units experiences a disruption or loses power. The Deco S4 further boasts adaptive path selection, which helps each of the units find the best connection and path for every device.
With extremely fast AC1200 speeds, this unit is capable of connecting to up to 100 devices. Its advanced Deco Mesh technology also switches devices automatically between units, so you always get the fastest possible speeds.
The Deco app makes it extremely easy to set up and use and is available on both iOS and Android devices. You can also pair the Deco units with Alexa to add devices or share the guest password using just your voice.
Each Deco unit comes with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports and supports Wired Ethernet Backhaul to achieve faster and better speeds.
This model offers advanced parental controls as well. You can use the Deco app to manage, monitor, and limit internet use for the entire family. You can also create individual, customizable profiles to block websites and filter content, receive reports, set time limits, and suspend access to the internet based on the time of day for specific devices or for the entire house.
- Offers better coverage than standard Wi-Fi routers
- Extremely fast AC1200 speeds
- Provides lag-free connections for up to 100 devices
- Convenient Wi-Fi network management with the Deco app
- Remote control
- Robust parental controls
- Security encryption is a bit poor
- App could be better
6. Best for Streaming: TP-Link Deco M5 Mesh Wi-Fi System
With their matte white finish and low profile, you can place all the units out in the open, where they’ll complement almost every décor. Each device comes with a Reset button, a USB-C power port, and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. It also comes with an LED indicator that pulses blue once the system is ready for setup, displays a solid blue color during setup, and glows solid green once setup is complete and the router is up and running. A red light means that the router is experiencing connectivity issues.
All units in the Deco M5 boast a quad-core processor and four high-end internal antennas. This AC1300 system can reach maximum speeds of 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 400 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It also supports beamforming, which directly sends signals to wireless clients instead of over a broad spectrum, and MU-MIMO data streaming, which sends data to MU-MIMO-compatible devices simultaneously instead of sequentially.
The system further employs TP-Link’s Adaptive Routing Technology to choose the best radio bandwidth for optimal throughput. It includes three years of Trend Micro’s Antivirus and Malware protection as well.
You can easily install and manage the Deco M5 with a mobile app on both Android and iOS, but TP-Link does not offer a web-based app that you can access from a PC. But don’t worry, as the mobile app is very intuitive and simple to use.
Unlike traditional range extenders and routers, this model keeps your devices connected as you move around the house without ever connecting to another network or dropping the Wi-Fi signal. You also only need a single network name and password to establish a secure connection.
With uninterrupted Wi-Fi, you can enjoy lag-free online gaming and buffer-free 4K streaming, whether you’re in your bedroom or in your backyard.
If you’re planning on ditching your traditional router setup for a mesh Wi-Fi system, the TP-Link Deco M5 is an excellent option you should consider. It’s extremely easy to install and offers automatic virus and malware protection to every device connected to the network.
The system also offers Quality of Service options and advanced parental controls through its intuitive mobile app but leaves much to be desired in terms of dedicated band selection and web access.
- Robust parental controls
- Extremely easy to install
- Excellent value for money
- Solid throughput performance
- Built-in malware and virus protection
- User-friendly mobile app
- Lacks a web interface
- Does not feature dedicated band control
Features to look for when buying a WiFi router for Spectrum
With such a wide range of units available today, finding the best WiFi router for Spectrum is no easy task. To help you find the model that best suits your needs, we’ve listed some of the most important features you should look for before making your purchase:
Simple, mesh, or combo router
A simple Wi-Fi router only has basic functionalities, and you just need to connect your modem’s internet cable to the router to get internet access. These models provide average wireless coverage and usually don’t have any advanced features.
Mesh Wi-Fi routers consist of one router and one or more nodes that connect to each other to provide a larger coverage area. These units are future-proof and can cover more than 5000 square feet. If your office or house has multiple floors, then it’s better to opt for a mesh system. However, they can be a bit expensive.
A combo modem router is basically a 2-in-1 device, with the modem built in the router itself. It replaces both the ISP-provided modem and router, making it easier for you to manage the device.
However, there are a few disadvantages of a combo unit. Firstly, if only the modem or the router stops working, you’ll still have to replace the entire unit. They’re also not that powerful and lack several advanced features.
A combo modem router is the perfect compact solution if you don’t have a big house or too many Wi-Fi devices.
Internet Speed Package
Although all routers advertise the maximum speed they can reach, it’s important to remember that you can only access those speeds if your data plan can accommodate them.
In simpler words, if you purchase a router that can reach speeds of up to 2 Gbps, but your internet speed package only offers 100 Mbps, you’ll only get speeds up to 100 Mbps, and not 2 Gbps. So, make sure you don’t waste any money on higher-end routers with inaccessible speeds.
Your total activity online
It’s important to consider what you’re doing online. If you’re an avid gamer or someone who streams movies often, then you should opt for a router that can handle that level of online activity.
Similarly, if you’re not likely to stream anything and only use your internet to browse social media, there’s no need to purchase a high-speed router that can handle several different devices at the same time.
Make sure you consider all members of your household as well before making a decision.
MU-MIMO and QoS Features
When you’re looking for the best WiFi router for Spectrum, you’ll also need to consider the features that suit your individual needs. For example, if you’re a gamer, you’ll need QoS to prevent the streaming device from losing bandwidth as soon as another device connects to the network.
It’s also advisable for gamers to opt for routers with MU-MIMO technology, as it allows several different devices to stream at the same time.
What is the difference between Spectrum modem and WiFi router?
Your Spectrum modem is a device that connects your entire home network to the Internet. On the other hand, a Wi-Fi router is a device that allows all your wireless and wired devices to use that Internet connection.
Is Spectrum WiFi router free?
The Spectrum Wi-Fi router is not free, and you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for their pre-configured Wi-Fi router. Most Spectrum data plans come with a $5 monthly fee, but you can decline this offer and purchase your own separate router as well.
How do you get Spectrum WiFi?
You can subscribe to a Spectrum data plan by logging on to their website. You’ll need to connect a wireless router to a Spectrum internet modem for in-home Wi-Fi.
Spectrum Internet customers can also use Spectrum out-of-home Wi-Fi on all their devices.
Like most internet service providers in the market, Spectrum also provides a Wi-Fi router with its internet packages. However, if you want seamless wireless performance, it’s better to purchase your own high-end, third-party router.
We’ve reviewed some of the best WiFi router for Spectrum to help make your search a bit easier. Make sure you go through all the aforementioned models and choose the unit that best suits your needs.