Owning your internet equipment is often a better option in the long term. However, if you are using Comcast internet, you should choose a router that meets all your present and future needs. We have picked out six options for you to consider.
When buying an internet router, remember to check if it is compatible with your service provider, in this case, Comcast’s Xfinity internet. Other perks worth considering include the number of devices you can connect and whether the router has an inbuilt modem.
A feature every router worth its salt needs to have is MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output). It divides the bandwidth to all connected devices. Often, you’ll have more than one connected device; thus, the MU-MIMO is a must-have technology.
Once you enable bandwidth sharing, you should prioritize the bandwidths to a specific device(s). You can only do this when your router has the QoS (Quality of Service) feature.
Here are our six best picks for Comcast internet.
- Best Router Overall: TP-Link Archer A8
- Best Xfinity Modem-router combo: NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000
- Best for Gaming: TP-Link AC4000
- Best for Xfinity Voice Services: NETGEAR Nighthawk C7100V
- Best all-in-one: NETGEAR Orbi CBR750
- Best for Gigabit internet plans: ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300
Best Overall Router: TP-Link Archer A8
The TP-Link Archer A8 is the best overall in terms of cost and essential features. This could be an excellent option if you are looking for a quality router worth less than $100. It is an upgrade of the Archer A7 and a very efficient option.
It comes with cool features worth noting, such as the Tether app, which allows you to access and manage your router faster and more easily. The parental control function lets you set restrictions on how and when certain devices can access the internet. With this feature, parents can monitor and restrict what their family members, especially minors, access on the internet.
And then, there’s the MU-MIMO feature which connects several devices to your home network simultaneously, and the QoS feature lets you control how these devices work.
One Mesh is yet another incredible feature on the A8 router. It allows you to expand your signal coverage. The router also has a WPA3 feature to protect you from potential cyber-attacks.
On speed, the A8 depends on 2.4GHz, which can deliver up to 600 Mbps. Hence, if your internet plan offers browsing speeds of more than 600 Mbps, you may consider the other five picks below.
Check out the TP-Link Archer A8 on Amazon.
Best Modem-router Combo: NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000
- Compatible with major cable internet providers including Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox and more. NOT compatible with Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, DSL providers, DirecTV, DISH and any bundled voice service....
- Coverage up to 1,800 sq. ft. and 30 devices with WiFi 5 AC1900 speed (up to 1900Mbps)
- Replaces your cable modem and WiFi router. Save up to $168/yr in equipment rental fees
- 4 X 1 Gig Ethernet ports and 1 USB 2.0 port for computers, game consoles, streaming players, storage drive, and other wired devices
- Supports WPA/WPA2 wireless security protocols
If you need to replace your Xfinity gateway with a modem-router unit, then we strongly commend the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000. It is a two-in-one unit, which reduces costs and takes up little space. While there are more such combos in this list, the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000 wins when compared against the rest in terms of modem-router features alone.
It has a range of 1800 sq. ft, which means it can cover large homes while delivering up to 900 Mbps internet speed. It can handle up to 30 devices simultaneously, and since it has separate 2.5GHz and 5GHz bands, you can separate your devices into different band levels. You can also connect gaming and computer consoles to it using any of the four Gigabit Ethernet ports.
In terms of connectivity, like the A8 above, it supports Wi-Fi 5 but not Wi-Fi 6, which explains the low speeds despite its high capability. Routers at the same price range deliver high speeds and have Wi-Fi 6. However, it makes for this limitation by adding a modem into the unit.
Check out the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7000 on Amazon.
Best for Gaming: TP-Link AC4000
Do you need a router that will support hardcore gaming? You should consider one that offers high-performance speed and has good security features. TP-Link AC4000, also known as the Archer A20, is the router to buy in such a case.
It is suitable for 800 Mbps Comcast Internet plans but offers a range of 3,000 sq. ft. It uses MU-MIMO technology, making it possible to connect several devices to the Wi-Fi network. For wired connections, you get a pair of 2Gbps and a pair of 1Gbps Ethernet ports.
It is a tri-band router with one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz bands, with the latter delivering up to 1625 Mbps each. With read and write speeds of 90 and 80 Mbps, the AC4000 has better gaming performance than its rivals, such as the Asus RT-AC86U.
Check out the TP-Link AC4000 on Amazon.
Best for Voice Services: NETGEAR Nighthawk C7100V
- Compatible with Xfinity Cable & Voice Plans up to 600Mbps speed.
- Three-in-one DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem + AC1900 WiFi Router+ Xfinity Voice and 2 USB ports
- DOCSIS 3.0 unleashes 24x faster download speeds than DOCSIS 2.0
- Ideal for streaming 4K HD videos, faster downloads, and high-speed online gaming.Optional battery backup for power outages with up to 8 hours of standby and 5 hours of talk time
- 2 Voice over IP (VoIP) Ports and 4 Gagabit Ethernet Port.System Requirements:Microsoft Windows 7, 8, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX, or Linux.Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, Firefox 2.0, Safari 1.4 or...
If you are using Comcast Xfinity VoIP services, having a router with two telephone ports reduces the number of devices taking up space in your room. The NETGEAR Nighthawk C7100V has the same features as the C7000 except for the two RJ-11 telephone ports.
It is a router-modem combo with a range of 1800 sq. ft and can support up to 30 devices. It supports beamforming technology, allowing sending and receiving of data efficiently between connected devices. It also had DOCSIS 3.0 capabilities, a pair of USB ports, and two pairs of Ethernet ports.
Unlike most of its alternatives, this modem-router combo comes with a backup battery to help you survive a blackout. It is a necessary feature considering you might need to use your home Wi-Fi to contact emergency services. The only caveat with this router is that it is not as futuristic as expected of routers within its price range.
Check out the NETGEAR Nighthawk C7100V on Amazon.
Best All-in-One: NETGEAR Orbi CBR750
- Integrated cable modem and WiFi 6 router provides high-performance WiFi coverage for up to 2,500 sq. ft. and 40+ devices. Expand coverage by 2,500 sq. ft. with each optional Orbi Mesh WiFi 6 satellite...
- DOCSIS 3.1 modem supports Internet plans up to 4Gbps and is compatible with most cable service providers. Currently certified with Spectrum and Cox (up to 1Gbps) and Xfinity (up to 800Mbps). Future...
- Fast AX4200 Gigabit speed with WiFi 6 technology for uninterrupted streaming, HD video gaming, and web conferencing
- Save up to $168/yr in equipment rental fees
- Sets up in minutes with the Orbi App; easily manage WiFi settings, test internet speed, and monitor data usage
One fundamental limitation of stand-alone routers and modem-router combo systems is that you need additional devices to create a Wi-Fi mesh network. NETGEAR again solves this with its NETGEAR Orbi CBR750 all-in-one tri-band cable modem router.
First, its modem is fast, offering 10Gbps and 1Gbps download and upload speeds, respectively. The 32×8 channel cable modem uses DOCSIS 3.1 but is back-compatible with DOCSIS 3.0.
Its tri-band router can deliver up to 600 Mbps over the 2.4GHz band and 1400 Mbps over the 5GHz band and a range limit of 3000 sq. ft. There is a dedicated 5GHz band for mesh network satellites that maxes out at 2400 Mbps. Adding satellites extends the signal reach to 7500 sq. ft.
For wired connections, you get four Gigabit Ethernet ports that you can use to connect smart TVs, gaming consoles, computers, and others. To protect your network, you get NETGEAR Armor. It scans your network to detect and block security vulnerabilities such as spyware, viruses, and malware. However, you must turn it off when gaming to avoid lagging.
You can easily set up and monitor the network using the Orbi companion app. The problem with the Orbi CBR750 is that it is the least compact of all the six options discussed here. If you are on a low budget, check out other all-in-one alternatives on the market.
Check out the NETGEAR Orbi CBR750 on Amazon.
Best for Performance: ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300
- DOCSIS 3.1
- Four 1Gbps ports
- 1Gbps max internet speeds
- Four OFDM channels
- Easy setup with the SURFboard Central App
When using the Gigabit Pro Comcast internet plan, a heavy-duty router is what you need. The Orbi CBR750 router above can handle the performance, but if you do not need a 3-in-1 combo, then theARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 is your solution.
It is a 2-in-1 modem and router combo that can support cable internet connections of up to 4Gbps. It is also one of the few Comcast-compatible options suitable for Xfinity Gigabit plans. The cable modem is DOCSIS 3.1, which supports 32×8 channels. It also has two downstream and upstream OFDM channels that might be helpful for higher bandwidth usage.
In terms of connectivity, wired connections can deliver up to 10 Gbps download speed, while on Wi-Fi, you can get 2400 Mbps. It is also one of the few modem routers with voice control capability.
Unfortunately, the SBG8300 does not have USB ports. Also, as a cable modem, it only handles signals through copper wires. Therefore, you cannot use it with satellite, optical fiber, and DSL internet connections.
Check out the ARRIS SURFboard SBG8300 on Amazon.
How To Pick The Best Comcast Internet Router
The first consideration is compatibility, especially when buying a 2-in-1 or all-in-one system. You can check the Xfinity website for supported models or the router’s specifications to find compatible ISPs.
Once you have narrowed your choices to compatible models, you also need to consider the following:
- Your Budget
- Internet speed
- Wireless protocols
- Select features
If you cannot afford it, do without it. It is a simple economic principle that will save you from the financial woes of maxing out your credit card limits to get an entertainment system.
Nonetheless, it is essential to remember that your budget almost always determines the quality you get. You will need to spend more to get faster speeds, more range, and more features such as tri-band.
Ensure the router provides more speed than that on your Comcast internet plan. It allows you to maximize the bandwidth you are paying for. For dual-band routers, it is worth knowing that they rarely use the two bands simultaneously; therefore, ensure you check the top speeds of each band.
In case your budget allows, it is best to future-proof your home network by going for systems that offer faster speeds, even if your current internet plan is among the fastest. That way, you will not need to buy another router when you need faster connectivity.
Additionally, internet speeds often slow down when traveling through walls, floors, and furniture, so your speed will almost always be lower than advertised. To overcome this, consider a router that allows wired connections as they have more bandwidth.
Wireless protocols determine the maximum Wi-Fi speeds, with the latest protocols providing the highest ones. To know the type a router is using, check the specification for the number 802.11XXXX. The final digits can be 11n, 11ac, and 11ax, which stand for Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6, respectively.
Wi-Fi 4 supported up to 600 Mbps and was the first to allow dual-band connections. Wi-Fi 5 can deliver up to 3.5 Gbps, while the latest protocol, Wi-Fi 6, can reach up to 10 Gbps. However, remember your router’s performance depends on hardware limitations such as RAM and processor power.
Some routers provide estimates of the maximum range; as a rule, you need to buy a router that will supply Wi-Fi to almost every room or part of your home. You can buy a Wi-Fi extender or a mesh Wi-Fi system for large homes or go for an all-in-one like the NETGEAR Orbi CBR750.
One feature you should look for in a router is the QoS, especially if you are a gamer, so you can set your router to prioritize your gaming console connection over smart TV connections. MU-MIMO technology is another should-have, allowing you to share your bandwidth with more devices simultaneously.
The last select feature that a modern router ought to have is beamforming. It allows routers to laser-focus signals toward the devices resulting in more robust connections. Routers without this feature send signals in all directions.
What to Know Before Buying a Router for Comcast Internet
It is essential to determine whether renting or owning a router is cheaper. Find out from the Comcast dealer near you the monthly equipment fees.
Sometimes, setup issues and maintenance problems make renting better than owning. However, the modern router is easy to set up, has an extended warranty, and comes with supporting smartphone apps.
Using Comcast Internet Router: What it’s Like
Even though a stand-alone router might get you high speeds at a lower price, a 2-in-1 modem and router combo offers better versatility and more scalability. The critical aspect to keep in mind is your future internet needs and as such, always settle for a router that uses the latest protocols and offers high internet speeds. Nonetheless, it is often better to let your budget be your guide.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©metamorworks/Shutterstock.com.