6 Best RCN (Astound Broadband) Approved Modems In 2022 [Full List]

Note, no device can get you faster internet speeds than your internet plan provides.

Also, get the device you need. A modem and a router are not the same things. Some types of internet require both others only one. If you are uncertain, click here

This is our review of the best modems for RCN internet in 2022. Note that fiber-optic internet does not use modems. This is only for cable internet. 

RCN modem and router

As a Network Engineer, I have bought a bunch of modems and tested them against each other. 

And out of these, the best modem for RCN proved itself to be the Arris Surfboard SB8200. Because it’s fast, future-proof, and affordable. 

Arris Surfboard SB8200
Source: Surfboard.com

Arris SB8200 - Editors Choice’s

Best Overall

  • Type: Cable Modem
  • Recommended for: Any RCN Interent Plan
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Chosen as: Best Overall

But, since everyone has a different home, internet plans, and preferences, it won’t be perfect for everyone.

Thus, I have picked the six best modems for RCN so you can choose the one that fits your preference and needs the best. 

Let’s dive in!

Top 6 RCN Compatible Modems

  1. Best OverallArris Surfboard SB8200 – Cable Modem
  2. Best PerformerNetgear CM2000 – Cable Modem
  3. Best Budget-FriendlyNetgear CM600 – Cable Modem
  4. Best ValueMotorola MG8702 – Modem/Router Combo
  5. Best Premium OptionNetgear CAX80 – Modem/Router Combo
  6. Best Budget-FriendlyMotorola MG7700 – Modem/Router Combo

6 Best RCN Compatible Modems

Here is an overview of the best modems for RCN in 2022. 

#1 Best Overall – Arris Surfboard SB8200 

Arris Surfboard SB8200
  • Type: Cable Modem
  • Recommended for: Any RCN Internet Plan
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Chosen as: Best Overall 

Pros

  • Future-proof
  • Works for plans up to 2000 Mbps
  • 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Very bright lights
  • Port Bonding is a bit harder to use

The Arris Surfboard SB8200 is a good modem for any RCN customer looking for a future-proof solution.

The SB8200 is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem compatible with internet plans up to 2000 Mbps. This makes it compatible with any RCN internet plan. 

It’s so fast because it has a feature called Port Bonding. This allows you to combine two Ethernet ports into a single data stream with a capacity of 2000 Mbps. [1]

A feature that isn’t especially useful today. Because RCN has no cable plan exceeding 1000 Mbps. This feature does, however, make the modem more future-proof. 

Yet, I don’t recommend the SB8200 if you think you might change to fiber-optic in a year or less. Because then there is no point of future-proofing. 

If that’s your case, you should get a modem with the minimum requirements for your internet plan (see tables under “Speed”).

Altogether, the Arris Surfboard SB8200 is a modem for you that simply want what works that you then don’t have to think about.

Read the full review here.




#2 Best Performer – Netgear CM2000

Netgear CM2000
  • Type: Cable Modem
  • Recommended for: RCN 940 Mbps or below
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Chosen as: Best Performer

Pros

  • Future-proof
  • Works for plans up to 2500 Mbps

Cons

  • Sometimes excessive

The Netgear CM2000 is for you that want the best of the best. With a 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet port, this modem is compatible with internet plans up to 2500 Mbps. [2]

These are speeds so fast no ISP has yet to offer them to consumers. It would be enough to watch more than 20 8K streams simultaneously.

The CM2000 is very much like a more refined version of the SB8200. Being faster, newer, and even more future-proof.

The thing is that this also makes it more excessive. Because a modem can only provide you with the internet speed of your internet plan. 

Thus, I especially recommend the CM2000 with the RCN 940 Mbps plan. 

For more info, read our review of the CM2000.




#3 Best Budget-Friendly – Netgear CM600

Netgear CM600
  • Type: Cable Modem
  • Recommended for: RCN 400 Mbps or below
  • Channel: 24×8
  • DOCSIS: 3.0
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Chosen as: Budget-Friendly 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Often enough

Cons

  • Not future-proof
  • Slower

If you have an internet plan of 400 Mbps or less and want a more budget-friendly cable modem, consider the Netgear CM600. 

It’s a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with 24×8 channels. This makes it less future-proof than a DOCSIS 3.1 option but still within RCN’s recommendations. 

Nevertheless, as RCN progresses towards DOCSIS 3.1, it’s ambiguous how long this cable modem will be sufficient. 

Thus, if you get this cable modem, you might need to get a new one sooner than expected. 

Overall, the Netgear CM600 is a decently fast and affordable modem. It’s perfect for you with an internet plan below 400 Mbps that won’t upgrade anytime soon. 




#4 Best Value – Motorola MG8702

Motorola MG8702
  • Type: Modem/Router Combo 
  • Tested Max Speed: 518.51 Mbps
  • Recommended for: RCN 500 or below
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Chosen as: Best Value

Pros

  • Pretty future-proof
  • Decently performance and range
  • 2-years warranty

Cons

  • The router is insufficient for the gigabit plan
  • Lacks features

The Motorola MG8702 is a good option for you with RCN 500 Mbps plan or below. 

In our tests, it reached 518.51 Mbps from 5 feet and 272.03 Mbps from 25 feet, both using the 5GHz band. 

Pretty good results considering it is a Wi-Fi 5 router and enough for a family of around 5 people to use the internet without any issues. 

Range wise the MG8702 also performed pretty well, reaching about 80-90 feet. This is enough for a normal home. But if you have something too large with thick walls, you might experience some dead spots. 

The biggest drawback of the MG8702 is that of most other modem/router combos. It lacks the extra features. 

Some might disagree and say that it has both Parental Controls and QoS, which is true. But they are basically useless, as the interface is slow and unpractical to use. 

Overalls, the Motorola MG8702 is a solid gateway that will provide fast internet with good coverage. Just don’t get it if you have RCN 940 Mbps plan and/or want better features. 




#5 Best Premium Option – Netgear CAX80

Netgear CAX80
  • Type: Modem/Router Combo
  • Recommended for: RCN 940 Mbps or below
  • Max Wi-Fi speed: 800+ Mbps
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Chosen as: Best Performer

Pros

  • Future-proof
  • Very good performance and range

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Lacks features

The Netgear CAX80 is the best modem/router combo for you with the RCNs Gigabit plan (i.e. the 940 Mbps plan). 

I wish I could tell you the max Wi-Fi throughput, but I could not find it as I only had access to an 800 Mbps plan. 

Because the router reached 800+ Mbps from 5 feet, 583.15 Mbps from 25 feet, and 298.47 Mbps from 50 feet. All using the 5GHz channel

Excellent results for a modem/router combo, enough for a large family of 8 or more people to use the internet without any issues. 

Its coverage is also a match to its speed because its Wi-Fi reached about 90-100 feet. Enough for any but the largest homes.

The drawback with the CAX80 is, however, its features. Lacking both Parental Controls and QoS, which enables you to restrict your kid’s activities on the internet and prioritize applications on your network. 

Overall, The CAX80 is a modem/router combo for you that want pure performance that isn’t on a budget. Just note that it’s a bit excessive if you have an internet plan below RCN’s 500 Mbps packet. 

Read the full review here.




#6 Best Budget-Friendly – Motorola MG7700

Motorola MG7700
  • Type: Modem/Router Combo
  • Recommended for speed: 400 Mbps or less
  • Max tested speed: 441.28 Mbps
  • Channels: 24×8
  • DOCSIS: 3.0
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Chosen as: Budget-Friendly

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Decent range

Cons

  • A bit slow
  • Lacks features

The Motorola MG7700 is the best budget-friendly modem/router combo for RCN if you have an internet plan at or below 400 Mbps.

It achieved 441.28 Mbps from 5 feet and 126.12 Mbps from 25 feet during testing, using the 5GHz band. 

Good results, enough for a family of around 5 people to use the internet simultaneously without any issues. 

The router range also proved pretty decent, covering a distance of around 80-90 feet, even though it is hard to know exactly. 

It should nonetheless be enough for any normal home and even a slightly larger home if it’s placed somewhere closer to its center

The drawback with the MG7700 is that it lacks any good Parental Controls and QoS like all the other modem/router combos. 

It’s also only DOCSIS 3.0, making it less future-proof than many other options. 

Overall, the Motorola MG7700 is a good affordable modem/router combo for RCN. Because it delivers relatively fast internet for a lower price.




List of RCN Approved Modems

Here is a list of RCN-approved and compatible modems. These modems follow the requirements and not the recommendations. 

BrandModel #With RouterChannelsDOCSISPuma ChipsetVoIP
NetgearCM500No16×43.0NoNo
NetgearCM600No24×83.0NoNo
NetgearCM700No32×83.0YesNo
NetgearCM1000No32×83.1NoNo
NetgearCM1000v2No32×83.1NoNo
NetgearCM1100No32×83.1NoNo
NetgearCM1200No32×83.1NoNo
NetgearCM2000No32×83.1NoNo
NetgearCAX80Yes32×83.1NoNo
NetgearCBR40Yes32×83.0YesNo
NetgearC6250Yes16×43.0NoNo
NetgearC6300Yes16×43.0YesNo
NetgearC6300v2Yes16×43.0YesNo
NetgearC6300BDYes16×43.0YesNo
NetgearC6900Yes24×83.0NoNo
NetgearC7000Yes24×83.0NoNo
NetgearC7000v2Yes24×83.0NoNo
NetgearC7500Yes24×83.0NoNo
NetgearC7800Yes32×83.1NoNo
NetgearCBK40Yes32x83.0NoNo
ArrisSBG10Yes16×43.0YesNo
ArrisSBG6900-ACYes16×4 3.0NoNo
ArrisSBG6950AC2Yes16×4 3.0YesNo
ArrisSBG7400AC2Yes24×83.0YesNo
ArrisSBG7580-ACYes32×8 3.0YesNo
ArrisSBG7600AC2Yes32×83.0YesNo
ArrisSBG8300Yes32×83.1YesNo
ArrisS33No32×83.1NoNo
MotorolaMG7540Yes16×43.0NoNo
MotorolaMG7550Yes16×43.0NoNo
MotorolaMG7700Yes24×83.0NoNo
MotorolaMG8702Yes32×8 3.1NoNo
MotorolaMB7420No16×43.0NoNo
MotorolaMB7621No24×83.0NoNo
LinksysCG7500Yes24×8 3.0YesNo
LinksysCM3016No16×43.0YesNo
LinksysCM3024No24×83.0YesNo
Zoom5370No16×43.0NoNo
SMCD3CM1604No16×43.0NoNo
TP-LinkARCHER CR500Yes16×43.0NoNo
TP-LinkARCHER CR700Yes16×43.0NoNo
TP-LinkCR1900Yes24×83.0NoNo
TP-LinkTC-7620No16×43.0NoNo
TP-LinkTC7650No24×83.0NoNo
ASUSCM-16No16×43.0NoNo
ASUSCM-32Yes32×83.0YesNo

Puma Chipset is a problematic chip some modems use. I recommend avoiding models using it since they are linked to latency issues.

What to Consider When Buying A RCN Approved Modem

Here are the things you should consider before buying an RCN-approved modem. For a more general guide, check out our modem buying guide

What’s Makes a Modem Compatible With RCN?

RCN does not have a list of approved modems like most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have.

Instead, they have specs requirements that a modem must have to work with their internet. 

RCN’s Modem Requirements

These are the minimum requirements for a modem to work with RCN. [3]

  • At least 16 downstream channels for 250 Mbps or less (DOCSIS 3.0)
  • At least 24 downstream channels for 400 Mbps or less (DOCSIS 3.0)
  • DOCSIS 3.1 for more than 400 Mbps
  • If you have a fiber-to-the-home service, you need to use an RCN device. 
  • If you have RCN’s phone service, you need a modem from RCN. 
  • Not using EURODOCSIS (only in America)

RCN’s Modem Recommendations

But, RCN does have other recommendations for their customers. This so they will deliver the fastest internet possible.

  • DOCSIS 3.0 with 24 downstream channels for 400 Mbps or below
  • DOCSIS 3.1 for any plan above 400 Mbps 

In this article, I will follow these recommendations. Thus, I only recommend modems that fit them.

Just know that you only need to follow the requirements for a modem to work for RCN. 

Note: The Motorola MB8600 doesn’t work on RCN even though it checks all the requirements.

DOCSIS 3.1 or 3.0

The most immediate thing you get to decide when you get a cable modem is whether you want a DOCSIS 3.1 modem or a 3.0 modem. 

The difference is that DOCSIS 3.1 is faster and newer while DOCSIS 3.0 is slower but cheaper. 

For RCN, I recommend getting a DOCSIS 3.1 modem because they have been actively raising their modem requirements in the past few years. 

And if they continue at this pace, you will need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem soon anyways. 

That said, if you think you’re going to switch to fiber in a year or less, I recommend you get the slowest modem compatible with your internet plan (see table under “Speed”). 

Because then, there is no point in future-proofing. 

DOCSIS 3.1 Benefits

  • Future-proof
  • Faster
  • Lower latency

DOCSIS 3.0 Benefits

  • Cheaper
  • Often enough 

For a more in-depth overview of the topic, check out DOCSIS 3.1 or 3.0

Channels (Only for DOCSIS 3.0)

If you decide to get a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, you also need to consider the channels. 

These decide the modem’s bandwidth, with more channels equaling more speed.

RCN minimum requirements for slower internet plans are at least 8 downstream channels. At the same time, they recommend you have a modem with at least 24 downstream channels.

This is to make sure you get the optimal performance.  

I recommend you follow their recommendations, but if you are on a budget, you can follow their requirements instead.  

I also suggest you avoid the 32×8 modems, as they often have the infamous Puma Chipset. Which is a chipset linked with latency issues. 

Just note that you can’t get a DOCSIS 3.0 modem if your internet plan exceeds 500 Mbps. 

Speed

When buying a modem, you need to make sure it’s fast enough for your current internet plan. 

Because otherwise, it will bottleneck your internet speed, and you won’t get what you are paying for. 

For RCN, you need a modem with at least DOCSIS 3.0 and 8×4 channels for plans up to 250 Mbps. And more than 16×4 channels or more for 330 Mbps packets or below. 

But if you have a plan faster than 500 Mbps, you need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. 

RCN Requirements for Each Internet Plan

These are the minimum requirements you need for each internet plan. [4]

Internet PlanDOCSISChannels
50 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.116×4 or more
100 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.116×4 or more
250 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.116×4 or more
330 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.116×4 or more
500 Mbps Internet3.1N/A
940 Mbps Internet3.1N/A

Note: DOCSIS 3.1 modem doesn’t use channels. Only their backward compatibility, which always is 32×8.

RCN Recommendations for Each Internet Plan

These are what RCN recommends for each internet plan.

Internet PlanDOCSISChannels
50 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.124×8 or 32×8
100 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.124×8 or 32×8
250 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.124×8 or 32×8
330 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.124×8 or 32×8
500 Mbps Internet3.1N/A
940 Mbps Internet3.1N/A

I recommend following their recommendations, but if you are on a strict budget, consider the minimum requirements instead. 

Modem/Router Combo or Separate for RCN?

Another thing you must decide before you buy a modem is whether or not you want separate devices or a modem/router combo (gateway).

The difference is that a gateway is a modem and a router in one device. While separate is one standalone modem and router connected through an ethernet port. 

Both options have their merits, but as a Network Engineer, I recommend getting separate devices for RCN. 

This is because separate devices make it possible to change one device if it breaks or needs an upgrade instead of both. 

 It also will allow for better performance and more customization. 

That said, modem/router combos are not useless. They often offer a lower upfront cost and are generally easier to set up.

Separate Devices Benefits

  • Can change one device
  • Better performance
  • More customization

Modem/Router Combos Benefits

  • Often a lower upfront cost
  • Generally easier to set up

If you feel uncertain about what to get, check out combo vs. separate – which is best for you? 

Home Size

Suppose you decide to get a modem/router combo. In that case, you also need to consider the range of the device you want to get. 

Because a larger home will generally require a better router, while a smaller one can get away with a worse router. 

You can read the overview of some of the modem/router combos I have tested for an approximation of the range. 

That said, it’s always hard to know exactly. If you have problems with the coverage, also consider the router’s position. 

Ports

Ethernet ports are significant for cable modems, especially DOCSIS 3.1 models. 

This is because they are often the limiting factor on the modem’s bandwidth. 

And because of this, many DOCSIS 3.1 modem is moving away from the standard 1-gigabit port. Instead, opting for a 2.5-gigabit port. 

This port makes the modem compatible with plans up to 2500 Mbps instead of 1000 Mbps. 

Another solution to the problems some modem use is Port Bonding. This allows you to combine the bandwidth of a 1-gigabit port into a single data stream that supports 2000 Mbps. 

The faster the Ethernet port the better. 

RCN Voice Service

Unfortunately, if you have RCN Voice service, you must rent your modem from RCN. Because no eMTA modem is approved for them. 

This leaves you with two options. Either use the eMTA modem for both your phone service and the internet. 

Or get another modem for the internet, and use the eMTA modem for your phone only. 

This won’t be necessary for most, but you should know that this is an option. 

Buy Vs. Rent an RCN Modems

RCN charges a fee of $16 a month to rent a modem from them [5]. This fee is not the highest but neither the lowest of all ISPs. I would still strongly recommend you buy your modem if you have RCN. 

$16 a month makes $192 per year. This is enough to buy yourself a high-performing modem. And if you buy a cheaper device, it will be pay off itself in as little as three months.

So, this is why I recommend you buy a modem. 

That said, if you have to move soon, you might want to rent, as you can’t be sure your modem will work at your next location. 

Also, note that I’m somewhat biased. I make a small commission if you buy any of a modem. 

For a more detailed overview, check out buying vs. renting a modem & router – which is best.

Benefits of Buying an RCN Compatible Modem

As I said, I think it’s better to buy a modem than rent it. Here are some of the main reasons why. 

Monthly Fee

RCN has a monthly fee of $15 a month if you rent a modem. This means that you pay $180. Enough to buy a pay of a modem in 3 to 20 months, depending on what you get. 

Faster Internet

Getting a third-party modem will also enable you to receive a faster internet speed. As the rented devices you get from RCN are not the best. 

Buying a high-performing third-party option will often give you a faster internet speed. However, if you buy a cheaper device, you could theoretically get a slower internet speed.

More Control

A third-party modem will enable you to get a device with features that fit you. 

This could be VPN support, parenting control, or guest networks. Things that RCN’s modem might not support. This enables you to have more control of your network. 

RCN Internet Plans

RCN offers five main internet speeds in their plans. And here are they and the speed, a modem and a gateway that I recommended for that speed. [6]

Download speedRecommended ModemRecommended Gateway
50 MbpsCM600MG7700
250 MbpsCM600MG7700
330 MbpsSB8200MG8702
500 MbpsSB8200MG8702
940 MbpsCM2000CAX80

FAQ

Here are some common questions regarding RCN and third-party equipment. 

Which is the best modem for RCN?

After much testing and consideration, we have concluded that the best modem for RCN is the Arris Surfboard SB8200. Because it’s fast, future-proof, and affordable. 

That said, if you want some other alternatives, check out the article above. 

Can I always use a third-party modem with RCN?

No. If you have RCN fiber, you can’t use a third-party modem but need an RCN device (even though you can get a router). 

You can also not buy a third-party modem if you are a Digital Phone customer. Then you must use an RCN eMTA modem.

For a normal cable connection, however, you can get a modem and get rid of the annoying modem fee. 

How do I set up a third-party modem with RCN?

This is a short description of setting up a modem with RCN. 

1. Pick a good location with good air circulation. 
2. Follow the set-up manual that comes with the device.
3. Call RCN and give them the device’s MAC address, and they will activate it. 

Click here for a more in-depth guide

Our Verdict

After much testing and consideration, we have concluded that the best-approved modem for RCN is the Arris Surfboard SB8200

Because it’s fast, future-proof, affordable, and fits the RCN requirements and recommendations well. 

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2 thoughts on “6 Best RCN (Astound Broadband) Approved Modems In 2022 [Full List]”

  1. I have the so called gigabyte plan and intend to install a mesh wifi orbi system. Does this make the netgear the best option for performance?

    Reply
    • Hey Kellye,

      Both the SB8200 and the CM2000 will be able to deliver 1 Gbps of your internet plan without any issues.

      But if you want to future-proof your modem, the CM2000 is a better option. As the Netgear Orbi doesn’t support Port Bonding.

      Reply

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