6 Best WOW! Compatible Modems in 2023 [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! (Woways) Internet, including a complete list of all Wow-approved modems.

WOW approved modems 2

As a Network Engineer, I have bought a bunch of modems and tested them 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. Best OverallMotorola MB8600 – Cable Modem
  2. Best PerformerArris Surfboard S33 – Cable Modem
  3. Best Budget-FriendlyNetgear CM600 – Cable Modem
  4. Best PerformerNetgear CAX80 – Modem/Router Combo
  5. Best ValueNetgear C7800 – Modem/Router Combo
  6. Best Budget-FriendlyMotorola MG7700 – Modem/Router Combo

6 Best Modems For WOW!

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

#1 Best Overall – Motorola MB8600

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


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


  • Sometimes excessive
  • Bonding Ethernet ports is a bit complex

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. 

Want to learn more? Read the full review.

#2 Best Performer – Arris Surfboard S33

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


  • Future-proof
  • Works for plans up to 2500 Mbps
  • 2-year warranty


  • Sometimes excessive

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. 

For more info, read our full review of the S33.

#3 Best Budget-Friendly – Netgear CM600

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


  • Cheaper
  • Often enough


  • Not future-proof

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 Best Performer – Netgear CAX80

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


  • Future-proof
  • Very fast
  • Good range


  • Lacks features
  • Costly

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. 

If you want to learn more about the CAX80, read the full review.

#5 Best Value – Netgear C7800

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


  • Future-proof
  • Decent range


  • Lacks features such as QoS and Parental Controls
  • Could be cheaper

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. This means you can’t restrict your kid’s activities on the internet or prioritize bandwidth.

Overall, 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. 

If you want to learn more about the C7800, read our review.

#6 Best Budget-Friendly – Motorola MG7700

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


  • Inexpensive
  • 2-years warranty


  • Lacks features
  • Not future-proof

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, this should be enough to provide devices in the house with 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 activities 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. 

To learn more, check out our review of the Motorola MG7700.

Complete List of All WOW! Approved Modems

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

BrandModel #With RouterChannelsDOCSISPuma Chipset
NetgearCAX80Yes32×8 3.1No
Motorola MB8611No32×83.1No
MotorolaMG8725 Yes32×83.1No
S33No32×8 3.1No
LinksysCM3024 No24×83.0Yes

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 summarize.

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 option.

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. 


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 testing 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. 

Was this article helpful?

3 thoughts on “6 Best WOW! Compatible Modems in 2023 [Full List]”

  1. Andreas, thank you for this information! It seems that WOW! isn’t providing recommendations or approved hardware lists on their website like they used to, so this is very helpful.

    Awhile back, I noticed our internet had slowed suddenly… not so much with downloads or steaming, but with the switching, or the initiation of a data transfer. My first thought was that our wireless system was going bad, but I started thinking that it may be the modem, since those standards have changed and WOW! is no longer accepting new service with the pre-DOCSIS 3.0 for new installs and recommends a 3.1 modem (https://www.wowway.com/sites/default/files/2021-05/modem-compatibility-list.pdf). We have a trusty old Arris Surfboard that’s probably over 10 years old, so I’m going to update that first. I think I’ll go with the MB8611, since it’s only $20 more than the 8600 for bumping to 2.5Gbps ethernet.

    Another concern I have is data security and privacy – I’m an Apple user partly because of these concerns, and modems or routers from sources like Amazon (eero) and Google (Nest), but also Netgear and others seem to use all sorts of personal data. I’m suspicious of any system that requires an app for installation – the data that they claim a right to use; purchases, financial info, user content, address lists, location, etc., is definitely an unacceptable intrusion. So I’m sticking with a Motorola modem and installing without an app (their Zoom app for routers also seems to collect way too much info).

    Anyway, thank you very much for your work – I’ll send others links to your site (I’m one of those guys who others always seem to ask for help in these matters).

    • Thanks for your feedback, John. And I agree, the MB8611 is also a good option.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about privacy when it comes to cable modems. Since they mainly change the analog signal into a digital signal and vice versa. So there is really no feasible way for them to collect data.

      That said, for routers and most other devices I definitely agree with you, privacy is very important.


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