Today, I will be reviewing two cable modem / wireless router combo I’ve tested recently.
One of them, I ended up keeping – the other one got returned.
-First of all; both of them performed very well over the LAN cable. Under the new 200/20 Mbps plan with Time Warner Cable, both reached approximately 120 Mbps download and well over 11 Mbps upload speeds. Both packages contain the modem, power cable and a LAN cable only so; you should obtain the coaxial cable yourself if you don’t have one.
-Both units are capable of transmitting over 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies for your Wi-Fi however ARRIS/Motorola SBG6580 allows you to only select one band at a time. On the other hand, NETGEAR C3700 can broadcast on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands at the same time; which turned out to be one of the major points in my decision.
-The wireless speeds and consistency turned out to be the most important things is in my decision making though. I placed the modem to the back of the TV which is approximately located in the center of the two story house. In this setup, the rooms on the corner may not have a consistent signal or may not achieve the desired speeds over the wireless. Unfortunately ARRIS/Motorola SBG6580 had a complete failure upstairs, often disconnecting. Sometimes it gave 2 to 3 Mbps downstream speed but what is more interesting is this poor connection speed showed no improvement when coming very close to the router. I didn’t modify auto settings of the router at all so that it can pick the optimum channel for communication. I wouldn’t like to do injustice to ARRIS/Motorola SBG6580 but I was also surprised the router picked one of the most congested channels, channel 11, while other channels looked more available.
-Router performance may depend on the other networks around and all bands except for the yellow and the blue one shows my neighbor networks. I should note that I have seen random spikes that were almost as strong as my own network’s power. Here is what I achieved with NETGEAR C3700. Its algorithm correctly picked channel 1 for the G-band where it’s less congested. This way it doesn’t have to compete with other networks. On the A-band, the highway for the network is pretty open so it’s OK to pick any lane, so it did.
-Captures by inSSIDer for Home. Yellow and Blue bands show my final network setup.
-Here is a Speedtest.net result on iPhone 6 using NETGEAR C3700 from one of the farthest locations of the house: 29.22 Mbps downstream and 11.69 Mbps upstream, more than enough for my needs.
-The only downside of NETGEAR C3700 that I have experienced so far was that I had to reset it every three to four weeks. The wireless on the 2.4 GHz band got unresponsive. I would expect any wireless router to keep working without a reset at all. I have to note I had to sometimes reset my previous Belkin router every other day or so, or at least once a week even though it had an auto reset scheduled once a week. Given that fact, this is kind of acceptable for me but I would expect it to be resolved by a software update. I have the latest firmware as of this writing. (Update: the reset problems disappeared probably after moving the router to an even more central point on second floor and away from the TV.)
-It’s easy to tell by now that I made my choice towards NETGEAR C3700. Considering the price point, it’s not so expensive as the other high(er)-end wireless router/cable modem combos and justifies the one-time payment and save me from the costs of rental modems in the long run.