6 Best WOW! 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

Here is our review of the best cable modems for WOW! Internet, including a complete list of all Wow-approved modems.

WOW! approved modems

As a Network Engineer, I have researched and tested to find the best WOW!-approved modem.

And after much consideration, I have concluded that the best modem for WOW is the Motorola MB8600. Because it’s fast, future-proof and reliable – all for a good price.  

Motorola MB8600
Source: Motorola.com

Motorola MB8600 – Editors Choice’s

Best Overall

  • Type: Cable Modem
  • Recommended for: Any WOW plan
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Chosen as: Best Overall

But everyone has different internet needs and wants, with varying internet plans, homes, and preferences. 

Hence, I put together this list of the six best modems and modem/router combos for your WOW Internet. 

Let’s get started.

Top 6 WOW! Compatible Modems

  1. Motorola MB8600 (Editors Choice’s – Cable Modem)
  2. Arris Surfboard S33 (Best Performer – Cable Modem)
  3. Netgear CM600 (Budget-Friendly – Cable Modem)
  4. Netgear CAX80 (Best Performer – Modem/Router Combo) 
  5. Netgear C7800 (Best Value – Modem/Router Combo)
  6. Motorola MG7700 (Budget-Friendly – Modem/Router Combo) 

6 Best Modems For WOW!

Here are overviews of the six best modems for WideOpenWest internet. 

#1 Motorola MB8600 (Editor’s Choice – Cable Modem)

Motorola MB8600
  • Type: Cable Modem
  • Recommended for: Any WOW internet plan
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Chosen as: Best Overall

The Motorola MB8600 is the cable modem I recommend for any WOW customer. It’s a DOCSIS 3.1 modem that is compatible with any WOW internet plan.

The DOCSIS 3.1 is good because this makes the modem future-proof. Because WOW! will change to DOCSIS 3.1 in the future. 

The modem also has 4 Ethernet ports, 3 hidden under the yellow sticker. This can be good as it enables the modem to theoretically support faster speeds in the future. 

Because you can bond two ethernet ports together and create one 2G port. Which makes the modem compatible with plans up to 2000 Mbps. 

The biggest drawback is that it’s a bit pricer than a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, and it won’t make your internet faster if you have one of the slower plans. 

But, likely, you will still save many by getting it since you won’t have to change when DOCSIS 3.1 roles out. 

Read the full review.




#2 Arris Surfboard S33 (Best Performer – Cable Modem)

Arris S33
  • Type: Cable Modem
  • Recommended for: WOW! Gigabit plan or below
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 2 year
  • Chosen as: Best Performer

The Arris Surfboard is for you that want the best of the best. Because this cable modem is compatible with internet plans up to 2500 Mbps. 

That’s a speed so fast that WOW is yet to offer it to consumers. Enough to watch more than 20 4k movies at the same time. 

Such speeds are possible because the S33 has a 2.5G Ethernet port instead of the usual 1G port. 

This incredible speed capacity also makes the cable modem extremely future-proof, so if you want to buy a modem and then forget about it – then it’s perfect. 

That said, the S33 can also be excessive because remember, you can only get as fast internet as you pay for in your internet plan. 

Therefore, I especially recommend it for you with the WOW gigabit plan that wants to buy a modem and not think about it anymore. 




#3 Netgear CM600 (Budget-Friendly – Cable Modem)

Netgear CM600
  • Type: Cable Modem
  • Recommended for: WOW’s 500 Mbps plan or below
  • Channel bonding: 24×8
  • DOCSIS: 3.0
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Chosen as: Budget-Friendly

The Netgear CM600 is a good option for you with the WOW Internet 500 plan or below.

The cable modem is DOCSIS 3.0 with 24×8 channels. This makes it fast enough for a normal home with around 4-6 people.

However, due to being DOCIS 3.0, the CM600 is incompatible with WOW’s Gigabit plan. And thus, also not future-proof.

This makes it an option for you that wants to save money now, but a DOCSIS 3.1 modem might be cheaper in the long run. 

But, if you are moving or switching to fiber in the future, then the Netgear CM600 is a suitable option. 




#4 Netgear CAX80 (Best Performer – Modem/Router Combo) 

Netgear CAX80
  • Type: Modem/Router Combo
  • Recommended for: WOW’s Gigabit plan or below
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 1 year 
  • Chosen as: Budget-Friendly

The Netgear CAX80 is the best modem/router combo for WOW’s Gigabit Internet plan. 

During testing, I couldn’t find out how fast the device was as I only had access to an 800 Mbps internet plan.

But it did reach 800 Mbps from 5 feet, 583.15 Mbps from 25 feet, and 298.47 Mbps from 50 feet, all using the 5GHz band. 

This is one of the fastest speeds I have ever gotten from a modem/router combo and is one of the few combos I can recommend for an internet plan up to 1000 Mbps. 

The router isn’t only fast, but it also has a good range, reaching about 100-110 feet. This is enough for any but the largest homes if it’s placed somewhere closer to the middle of it

However, a drawback with the CAX80 is that it lacks both QoS and Parental controls. 

So you can’t prioritize data on the network or control what your kids can and can’t do on the internet. 

Something I think it should have considering its price.

Moreover, it’s honestly a bit excessive for many reading this, so I only recommend it for people with at least WOW’s 500 Mbps plan. 




#5 Netgear C7800 (Best Value – Modem/Router Combo)

Netgear C7800
  • Type: Modem/Router Combo 
  • Tested Max Speed: 513.64 Mbps
  • Recommended for: WOW’s 500 Mbps plan or below
  • DOCSIS: 3.1
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Chosen as: Best Value

The Netgear C7800 is a good modem/router combo for you with the WOW 500 Mbps plan or below.

During testing, it reached 513.64 Mbps from 5 feet, 309.15 Mbps from 25 feet, and 155.21 Mbps from 50 feet.

This is enough for a family of around 4-6 people to use the internet without issues. 

The cable modem in the combo is DOCSIS 3.1. This makes it both future-proof and very fast. Actually fast enough for the WOW Gigabit plan. 

But since the router only reached around 500 Mbps, I don’t recommend you use it with the 1000 Mbps plan.  

Range wise the C7800 also performed pretty well, reaching about 80-90 feet. This is enough for any but the largest homes. If the device is somewhere closer to the middle of the house. 

The largest drawback with the C7800 is its lack of features. Because it doesn’t have things like Parental Controls or QoS. Meaning you can’t restrict your kid’s activities on the internet or prioritize bandwidth.

Overalls, the Netgear C7800 is a good medium-tier modem/router combo. Perfect for you looking to get value for the price that doesn’t need the extra features. 




#6 Motorola MG7700 (Budget-Friendly– Modem/Router Combo) 

Motorola MG7700
  • Type: Modem/Router Combo
  • Recommend for: WOW’s 200 Mbps plan or below
  • Tested Max Speed: 441.28 Mbps
  • Channels: 24×8
  • DOCSIS: 3.0
  • Warranty: 2 years 
  • Chosen as: Budget-Friendly

The Motorola MG7700 is perfect for you with WOW’s 200 Mbps plan and maybe even you with the 500 Mbps plan. 

I say this because, in testing, it reached 441.28 Mbps from 5 feet and 126.12 Mbps from 25 feet, using the 5GHz band. 

This makes it more than enough for the 200 Mbps plan and feasible with the Internet 500 plan. 

Because the two bands have a max bandwidth of around 1900 Mbps, and this should be enough to provide devices in the house more than 500 Mbps.

Even though I was unable to confirm this during the testing. 

The router has a pretty good range, reaching upwards of 90 feet. So it should be enough for a medium-sized house.

The drawback with the Motorola MG7700 is that it lacks DOCSIS 3.1, which means that you can’t use it for the Gigabit plan and that you will have to change it when WOW switches to DOCSIS 3.1. 

The router also doesn’t have that good Qos or Parental controls. Thus, it’s hard to prioritize data on the network and restrict your kid’s actives on the internet. 

Altogether, the MG7700 is a good cheaper modem/router combo for WOW, as it provides reliable and pretty fast internet for a good price. 




Complete List of All WOW! Approved Modems

Here is a list of all the WOW! compatible modems. [1]

BrandModel #With RouterChannelsDOCSISPuma Chipset
NetgearC6900Yes24x83.0No
NetgearC7000Yes24x83.0No
NetgearC7000v2Yes24x83.0No
NetgearC7500Yes24x83.0No
NetgearC7800Yes32×83.1No
NetgearCBR40Yes32×83.0Yes
NetgearCM600No24x83.0No
NetgearCM700No32×83.0Yes
NetgearCM1000No32×83.1No
NetgearCM1000v2No32×83.1No
NetgearCM1100No32×83.1No
NetgearCM1200No32×83.1No
NetgearCM2000No32×83.1No
NetgearCAX80Yes32×83.1No
Motorola
MB7621
No24×83.0No
Motorola
MB8600
No32×83.1No
MotorolaMB8611No32×83.1No
Motorola
MG7700
Yes24×83.0No
MotorolaMG8702Yes32×83.1No
MotorolaMG8725Yes32×83.1No
Arris
CM8200
No32×8
3.1No
Arris
DG2460
Yes24×8
3.0Yes
Arris
SB6190
No32x8
3.0Yes
Arris
SB8200
No32x8
3.1No
Arris
S33No32×83.1No
Arris
SBG7400AC2
Yes24×8
3.0Yes
Arris
SBG7580-ACYes32×8
3.0Yes
Arris
SBG7600AC2
Yes32×8
3.0Yes
Arris
SBG8300
Yes32×83.1Yes
ArrisG34Yes32×83.1Yes
ArrisG36Yes32×83.1Yes
ASUSCM-32Yes32×83.0Yes
LinksysCG7500Yes24×83.0Yes
LinksysCM3024No24×83.0Yes
TP-Link
CR1900
Yes24×83.0Yes
TP-LinkTC7650
No24×8
3.0Yes

Puma chipset is a problematic chipset linked with latency issues. Even though many problems with it are solved, I would recommend avoiding modems using it.

What to Consider Before Buying a WOW-Approved Modem

Before buying a WOW-approved cable modem, you should consider a couple of things. This, to make the best possible choice for you. 

For a more in-depth guide, check out our modem buying guide.

WOW Compatible Modems

For a modem to be compatible and approved for WOW, it needs to be at least a DOCSIS 3.0 with 24×8 channels or more. 

It can also be any DOCSIS 3.1 modem. 

Currently, there are DOCSIS 2.0 and DOCSIS 3.0 with 8×4 or 16×4 channels on their network. But moving forward, they do now allow any new such devices. [2]

This is because they are end-of-life devices that cannot deliver the speeds WOW offers its customers.

The list above has many available modems that fit these requirements, but some might be missing. 

DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1

DOCSIS is the telecommunication technology that cable internet uses to deliver data to your home over coaxial cables. 

For WOW, you can decide between DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1. The difference is that DOCSIS 3.1 is faster and never, and DOCSIS 3.0 is slower but cheaper. 

Both options have their benefits and drawbacks, but for WOW, I recommend DOCSIS 3.1. 

The reason for this is that a DOCSIS 3.1 modem will future-proof you for speed increases or for when WOW upgrades their network. 

That said, DOCSIS 3.0 is not a bad option if you don’t plan to upgrade your internet plan anytime soon. 

DOCSIS 3.1 Benefits

  • Future-proof
  • Lower latency
  • Faster

DOCSIS 3.0 Benefits

  • Cheaper
  • Usually enough 

For a more in-depth overview, check out our article on DOCSIS 3.0 vs. 3.1.

Channels [Only For DOCSIS 3.0]

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

Channels decide how much data a DOCSIS 3.0 modem can handle, with more channels equaling more speed. 

For WOW, you need to have either 24×8 or 32×8 channels. 

I recommend you to get a modem with 24×8. Because some DOCSIS 3.0 modems with 32×8 channels are problematic. Occasionally having high latency and other issues. 

Moreover, 24×8 modems are often cheaper than 32×8 modems. And for WOW, you can’t use them for any faster internet plan than the 500 Mbps one anyways. 

Modem Speed

So, to summaries.

You don’t need the top-performer listed above if you only have the WOW 200 Mbps plan. But you can instead go for the budget-friendly.

However, if you have WOW’s Gigabit plan, you need to get a DOCSIS 3.1 modem.

Pick a Wow-compatible modem that fits your plan, and note that the maximum speed is not the real-world speed a modem and router has. The real-world rate is substantially lower.

Below is a table where you can see what DOCSIS version and channels are necessary for each WOW plan. 

Internet PlanDOCSISChannels
Internet 1003.0 or 3.124×8 or 32×8
Internet 2003.0 or 3.124×8 or 32×8
Internet 5003.0 or 3.124×8 or 32×8
Internet 10003.1N/A

Modem/Router Combo Vs. Separate Devices 

You also get to decide if you want a modem/router combo (gateway) or separate devices. 

The difference is that a gateway is a modem and a router as one device, while separate has them as two devices. 

There are some pros and cons with both options. But as a Network Engineer, I recommend getting separate devices. 

This is because separate allows you to change one if it breaks or needs an upgrade rather than both. It also offers better performance and more control. 

This is not to say that combos are useless. They take less space, have a cheaper upfront cost, and are often easier to set up. 

In the case of WOW, a gateway is an option because there’re many good ones to choose from. So if you feel that you want one, you can get it. 

Separate Pros

  • Better performance
  • Can change one device instead of both
  • More network control

Combo Pros

  • More convenient
  • Often easier setup
  • Cheaper upfront cost

If you want a more detailed guide on the pros and cons, check out modem/router combo vs. separate

WOW! Phone Service

If you have WOW’s Phone service, you have to lease a modem from them. Because they haven’t approved any modems with eMTA support. 

This leaves you with two options. Either rent an eMTA modem for your Phone service and get an approved modem for your internet. 

Or use the eMTA modem for both the internet and the Phone service. 

For most, getting an eMTA modem for both internet and phone service will be enough, but you should know that it’s an option. 

Rent Vs. Buy WOW! Compatible Modems

The cost of renting a modem from WOW! is $14 a month. Up from the previously $10 a month. 

This is not the most expensive rental fee, but still pretty high. Costing $168 per year, which is enough to buy a new modem every year. 

Therefore I strongly recommend most people to buy their own modem, as it gets much cheaper in the long run. As well as giving you an enhanced network performance and more control. 

Reasons for renting do, however, exist. If you are going to switch to fiber in a couple of months, it might be cheaper to rent those months than to buy. 

If you want a more detailed guide on the benefits and problems with each option, check out this overview

WOW! Internet Plans

WOW! has four main internet plans, and depending on which one you have, I recommend different devices. Here you can see each internet plan and what devices I recommend. [3]

PlanDownload SpeedCable ModemGateway
Internet 100100 MbpsCM600MG7700
Internet 200200 MbpsMB8600MG7700
Internet 500500 MbpsMB8600C7800
Internet 10001000 MbpsS33CAX80

How to Set Up a WOW! Modem

To set up a WOW approved modem:

  1. Pick a location with good air circulation. So the modem doesn’t overheat. If you have a gateway or a router, also try to place it in the middle of your home to improve Wi-Fi coverage. 
  2. Connect the coax cable and the power cord. Also, connect your modem and router with an ethernet cable if you have separate devices. 
  3. Contact WOW! and give them the device’s MAC address for third-party devices. This is for activating your internet. Call them, and they will guide you through the process. 
  4. Follow the instruction manual that comes with the modem/gateway. 

You can find WOW!s guide here if you want a more comprehensive version. 

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about WOW! and third-party equipment.

Which is the best modem for WOW?

After much testing and consideration, we have concluded that the best modem for WOW is the Motorola MB8600. Because it’s fast, future-proof, and goes for a reasonable price. 

But if you want to see some other alternatives check out the article above.

How do I know if a modem is compatible with WOW or not?

A modem is compatible with WOW if it is a cable modem with DOCSIS 3.1 or 3.0 that has 24×8 or 32×8 channels. 

Note that DOCSIS 3.1 doesn’t use channels but is always backward compatible with DOCSIS 3.0 with 32×8 channels. 

My WOW internet seems slow. How do I speed it up?

There could be many reasons for the slow internet. But I recommend checking the speed with a speed test and then comparing it to your plan. 

If you get what you are paying for, you need to upgrade your plan. But if you aren’t, follow our guide on 13 ways to boost your Wi-Fi speed.

If nothing works, contact Wowway (WideOpenWest) and ask them what the problem might be. 

Our Verdict

After much research and consideration, I have concluded that the best modem for WOW is the Motorola MB8600

Because it’s fast, future-proof, and goes for a reasonable price. 

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