7 Best Routers For Optimum In 2021

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 a review of the best compatible routers for Optimum.

Optimum Approved Modems

As a Network Engineer, I have spent thousands of dollars on routers to test them against each other. 

And out of these, I have concluded the TP-Link Archer AX50 is the best router for Optimum Internet. Because it provides fast performance and useful features for a fair price.

TP-Link AX50
Source: Tp-link.com

TP-Link Archer AX50 AX3000

Best Overall

  • Type: Wi-Fi 6 Router
  • Tested Max Speed: 690.52 Mbps
  • Recommended for: 500 Mbps plan or below
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 
  • Warranty: 2 years

But not everyone has the same circumstances, with different internet plans, homes, and preferences. 

Thus, I have picked the seven best routers for Optimum. So you can choose the one the fits you the best. 

Keep reading to learn more. 

Top 7 Routers For Optimum Internet

Here are the seven best routers for Optimum. With Wi-Fi routers, mesh Wi-Fi, and Modem/router combos. 

  1. TP-Link Archer AX50 (Editor’s Choice – Wi-Fi Router)
  2. ASUS RT-AX88U (Best Performer – WI-Fi Router)
  3. TP-Link Archer AX10 (Budget-Friendly – Wi-Fi Router)
  4. Netgear Orbi RBK852 (Premium Option – Mesh Wi-Fi)
  5. TP-Link Deca S4 (Best Value – Mesh Wi-Fi)
  6. Netgear CAX80 (Best Performer – Modem/Router Combo)
  7. Netgear C7800 (Best Value – Modem/Router Combo)

7 Best Compatible Routers For Optimum

Below are short reviews of the best routers compatible with Optimum. 

#1 TP-Link AX50 (Editor’s Choice – Wi-Fi Router)

TP-Link Archer AX50
Source: Tp-link.com
  • Type: Wi-Fi 6 Router
  • Tested Max Speed: 690.52 Mbps
  • Recommended for: 500 Mbps Internet or below
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Warranty: 2-years
  • Chosen as: Best Overall

The TP-Link Archer AX50 is the best router for Optimum plan up to 500 Mbps. 

In testing, we measured a speed of 690.52 Mbps from 5 feet on the 5GHz network. 

Other speeds measured were 371.87 Mbps from 25 feet and 155.54 Mbps from 50 feet both on the 5Ghz network.

These are some very good results that will be enough for a household of around five people to all stream movies without any problems. 

The coverage of the router was quite average, reaching approximately 90-100 feet. This will be more than enough for most average-sized homes. 

The AX50 also has excellent Parental Controls and QoS. Making it possible to retract your kid’s activities on the internet and prioritize data on your network. 

So, for example, work from home activities or gaming goes first. 

The largest drawback with the TP-Link AX50 is that its fan system is not designed optimally. Therefore, it can overheat in very warm climates. So if your home gets really warm in the summer, avoid this router. 

Overall, the TP-Link Archer AX50 is an excellent option for anyone with normal internet needs with the Optimum 500 Mbps plan or below.




#2 ASUS RT-AX88U (Best Performer – WI-Fi Router)

ASUS RT-AX88U
Source: Asus.com
  • Type: Wi-Fi 6 Router
  • Tested Max Speed: 927.17 Mbps
  • Recommended for: 1 Gig Internet or below
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Warranty: 2-years
  • Chosen as: Best Performer

The ASUS RT-AX88U is a very powerful router that will work for any Optimum internet plan. 

It averaged 927.17 Mbps from 5 feet, 571.36 Mbps from 25 feet, and 472.95 Mbps from 50 feet during testing— all using the 5Ghz band. 

Those are some very good results, with special emphasis on how good the speed was even at a distance. Enough to watch 10 4K movies at the same time. 

The router’s range is also excellent, with it reaching around 110 feet. Even though it’s always hard to know the exact coverage a router has. 

It will, however, definitely be enough for any but the largest homes. 

Like most other ASUS routers, the RT-AX88U has good Parental Controls and QoS. Making it possible to restrict your kid’s actions and prioritize data.

The thing with the RT-AX88U is it’s really a bit excessive for many. Thus, I only recommend it to you with a busy network and a fast internet plan. 




#3 TP-Link AX10 (Budget-Friendly – Wi-Fi Router)

TP-Link AX10
Source: Tp-link.com
  • Type: Wi-Fi 6 Router
  • Tested Max Speed: 651.97 Mbps
  • Recommended for: 500 Mbps Internet or below
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Warranty: 2-years
  • Chosen as: Budget-Friendly

The TP-Link AX10 is the best pick for someone on a budget that still wants to have Wi-Fi 6. 

In testing, the router reached 651.97 Mbps from 5 feet and 351.81 Mbps from 25 feet. Both using the 5GHz band. 

These are amazing performances when considering the price tag. Perfect for any Optimum plan up the 500 Mbps. 

I estimated its range to be around 80-90 feet, enough for a normal home.

The bad thing about the AX10 is that it lacks advanced Parental Controls and QoS. With its Parental Controls only allowing you to block URLs and keywords and not topics. 

And it QoS is only capable of restricting devices instead of applications. 

Altogether, the TP-Link AX10 is perfect for someone looking for cheap performance without the need for extra features. 




#4 Netgear Orbi RBK852 (Premium Option – Mesh Wi-Fi)

Netgear RBK528
Source: Netgear.com
  • Type: Mesh Wi-Fi
  • Tested Max Speed: 851.86 Mbps
  • Recommended for: 1 Gig Internet or below
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Warranty: 1-year
  • Chosen as: Best Performer (Mesh)

The Netgear Orbi RBK852 is what you should get if you look for extreme coverage and fast internet. 

During testing, the main router measured a speed of 851.86 Mbps from 5 feet and 540.76 Mbps from 25 feet on the 5GHz band

Those are some very good results that would be enough for the Optimum 1 Gig plan. Perfect for a larger home with plenty of smart devices. 

What separates the Orbi RBK852 from many other mesh networks is how well the satellites unite (the access points) held up in throughput. 

With them reaching around 85-90% of the main router from each distance.

The biggest drawback with the Orbi RBK852 is that it lacks both Parental Controls and QoS. Making it hard to limit your kid’s internet activities or priorities applications on the internet. 

Overall, the Netgear Orbi RBK52 is best for you looking for coverage and fast internet speed with plenty of smart devices.




#5 TP-Link Deca S4 (Best Value – Mesh Wi-Fi)

TP-Link Deca S4
Source: Tp-link.com
  • Type: Mesh Wi-Fi
  • Tested Max Speed: 317.27 Mbps
  • Recommended for: 300 Mbps Internet or below
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Chosen as: Best Value (Mesh)

If you need coverage and donät have a too-fast internet plan, the TP-Deca S4 is a good option. 

In testing, it reached a speed of 317.27 Mbps from 5 feet and 169.59 Mbps from 25 feet on the 5GHz band. 

This performance makes it perfect for the Optimum 300 Mbps internet plan and is enough to watch about three to four 4k movies simultaneously. 

And since it’s a mesh Wi-Fi, it also provides excellent coverage since it has two satellite units that will receive the signal and then strengthen it. 

The Deca S4 also has good Parental Controls and QoS. Enabling controlling your kid’s internet activities and prioritize data. 

The Deca S4 drawback is that its satellite units only reach 60-70% of the main router speed. This makes it slower than some other more expensive options. 

Altogether, the TP-Link Deca S4 is a good option for someone without too fast of an internet plan that wants good coverage for a fair price. 




Modem

Need a Optimum Approved Modem?

If you don’t buy a modem/router combo, you might need an approved modem for your Optimum router. Luckily we got you covered in our article on the best modems for Optimum.

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

Netgear CAX80
Source: Netgear.com
  • Type: Modem/Router Combo
  • Tested Max Speed: 800+ Mbps
  • Recommended for: 1 Gig Internet or below
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Chosen as: Best Performer

The Netgear CAX80 is the modem/router combo I recommend for the Optimum 1G Internet plan or below. 

I was unfortunately not able to pinpoint its exact max speed since the internet plan I had access to only reached 800 Mbps. 

But the router did reach 800 Mbps from 5 feet and 583.15 Mbps from 25 feet, and 298.47 Mbps from 50 feet. All using the 5GHz channel.

This performance is right now the best I have gotten out of a gateway and would likely be enough to watch more than a dozen 4K movies at the same time. But only if your internet plan supported it. 

Coverage wise the CAX80 was pretty good but not insane. Reaching about 90-100 feet, which will be enough for any but the largest home. 

Especially if it’s placed somewhere close to the middle of it

The CAX80 is also a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. This makes it future-proof because as Optimum is updating its cable internet to DOCSIS 3.1, you won’t have to get a new cable modem. 

The drawback with the CAX80 is that it lacks features such as Parental Controls and QoS. 

This makes it much harder to control your kid’s activities on the internet and prioritize applications.

Furthermore, the CAX80 is honestly excessive for anyone who doesn’t have Gigabit internet or wants to future-proof their network equipment. 

Altogether, the Netgear CAX80 is the best modem/router combo for the Optimum 1 Gig plan that wants the get the internet speeds you’re paying for. 




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

Netgear C7800
Source: Netgear.com
  • Type: Modem/Router Combo
  • Recommended for: 500 Mbps Internet or below
  • Tested Max Speed: 513.64 Mbps
  • Wireless Standard: Wi-Fi 5
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Chosen as: Best Value

The Netgear C7800 is a more moderate gateway perfect for you with the Optimum 500 Mbps Internet Plan or below. 

It averaged 513.64 Mbps from 5 feet, 309.15 Mbps from 25 feet, and 155.21 Mbps from 50 feet during testing.

These speeds are good results considering that it’s a Wi-Fi 5 router. This will be enough for a family of 5 or more to use the internet without any problems. 

The modem in the gateway is DOCSIS 3.1, which, as already mentioned, makes it future-proof when Optimum updates its internet to DOCSIS 3.1. 

Rang-wise, the C7800 performed decently, reaching around 80-90 feet. Enough for an average home. 

The bad thing about the C7800 is that it, like the CAX80, lacks extra features — missing things like Parental Controls and QoS. 

But if you don’t need any extra features, the Netgear C7800 is a solid option with lots of value for the price.




What to Consider Before Buying a Router for Optimum

Here is what you should specifically consider before buying the best router for Optimum Internet. 

Router Performance

A very important thing to consider before getting a route is to make sure it’s good enough for your circumstances. 

This meant that it could meet your demands in terms of bandwidth, coverage, and other needs.

Furthermore, I would also argue that it should match your Optimum internet plan. Because what’s the point of paying for an internet speed you don’t get because of a cheaper router.  

Wi-Fi Standards

Very much linked to performance is the Wi-Fi standard. 

Nowadays, there are two standards to choose from, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax).

The actual performance of each standard depends on the router and its specs.

But you will find that Wi-Fi 6 will generally be faster, more secure, and better at handling multiple devices. While Wi-Fi 5 is cheaper and compatible with more devices. 

Wi-Fi 6 Benefits
  • Faster than Wi-Fi 5
  • Can handle more devices
  • Increased security
Wi-Fi 5 Benefits
  • Cheaper than Wi-Fi 6
  • The default for most devices

For Optimum, I recommend Wi-Fi 6 for the 500 Mbps plan or more, while Wi-Fi 5 should be enough for any lower. 

This is, however, not set in stone. You can get a Wi-Fi 6 router with a slower internet plan if you want to future-proof your router. 

As well as get a Wi-Fi 5 router with a 500 Mbps plan if you don’t have any Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices. 

Even though I should note that Wi-Fi 6 is backward compatible, thus there is no problem using it with Wi-Fi 5 compatible devices. 

For more info, check out Wi-Fi 5 Vs. Wi-Fi 6.

DOCSIS & Channels

Suppose you decide to get a modem/router combo (gateway). In that case, you must also consider what DOCSIS version and channels you need. 

For DOCSIS, you have two options with Optimum, either DOCSIS 3.1 or 3.0

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

For Optimum, I strongly recommend getting a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. Because they are moving away from DOCSIS 3.0 in many areas right now.

That is, as long as you won’t change to fiber internet in the future. Because then, you should only get the minimum requirements for your internet plan (see table below).

DOCSIS 3.1 Pros
  • Faster
  • Lower Latency
  • Future-proof
DOCSIS 3.0 Pros
  • Cheaper

If you get a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, you also need to consider how many channels it has.

Right now, Optimum requires you to have at least 16×4 channels with more channels equaling more speed. 

Below is a table with the DOCSIS and channels requirements for each Optimum internet plan. It also shows the recommended Wi-Fi standard.

Optimum Internet PlanDOCSISChannelsWi-Fi Standard
100 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.116×4 or moreWi-Fi 5 or 6
300 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.116×4 or moreWi-Fi 5 or 6
500 Mbps Internet3.0 or 3.124×8 or moreWi-Fi 5 or 6
1 Gig Internet3.1N/AWi-Fi 6

Note, DOCSIS 3.1 modems don’t use channels. 

Compatible With Optimum

For a router to work with Optimum, it only needs to have a WAN port. This means that basically, all routers are compatible with Optimum.

For modems, and therefore, modem/router combos, things get more complex. 

Optimum is unclear which modems are approved for their internet, making it hard to know exactly which modems will work with them.

But from hours of research and a couple of phone calls, I found out that you need a DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 modem. And for DOCSIS 3.0, you need at least 16×4 channels. [1]

They also said that the recommended brands are Netgear or Arris.

They did have a list before, which I have written about in the Optimim approved modems article. But since then, they have removed it. 

Modem/Router Combo Vs. Separate Devices

When buying a router for Optimum, you also get to decide if you want a modem/router combo or separate devices. 

The difference is that modem/router combos are a modem and a router as one device, while separate has them as two. 

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

Because this allows you to change one instead of both if it breaks or needs an upgrade. Moreover, it also enables better performance, added customization, and more control. 

This is not to say that gateways are a bad option. They do offer a lower upfront cost and are generally easier to set up. 

Separate Devices Pros

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

Modem/Router Combo Pros

  • Cheaper upfront cost
  • Often easier to setup

For more info, check out the modem/router combo vs. separate article. 

What about Mesh?

Mesh Wi-Fi is when you have a group of devices that together create a single Wi-Fi network.

Since it uses multiple devices, the coverage becomes better than traditional routers can offer. 

Thus, mesh Wi-Fi is perfect for someone with a large home that wants Wi-Fi everywhere. But for most other people, a traditional router will be enough.

Mesh Pros
  • Better Coverage
Traditional Router Benefits
  • Generally cheaper
  • Easier setup

I should also note that some never routers can add mesh units automatically to them if necessary. 

Check out Mesh Systems Vs. Traditional Router for more info on the topic. 

Extra Features

When you buy a router, you might want some extra features. Here are the best ones and what they do. 

QoS

QoS Stands for Quality of Service and allows for prioritization of data on your network.

This can be useful if you, for example, are working from home and want to make sure your video calls won’t lag because someone else in the house starts watching a movie. 

Often, you can simply press a button on the router’s controls panel and choose what type of actives gets prioritized on the network. 

Common ones are gaming, streaming, or work from home. 

Parental Controls

Parental Controls are what it sounds like. It makes it possible for you as a parent to restrict your children’s activities on the internet. 

It nearly always allows for time constraints, and if it’s more advance, you can also block topics and URLs with it. 

Guest Networks

A guest network allows you to create a separate network for any visitors. This is good because this separates your devices from other people’s devices. [2]

Increasing the security of your home network. 

Rent Vs. Buy Optimum Equipment

Renting a gateway or a modem and a router from Optimum costs $10 per month, or $120 per year. [3]

This means that you can pay for a cheaper router in as little as 4 months and a more expensive one in 1-2 years. 

And if you do that, you will likely get something way better than Optimum rents out. 

Therefore, I recommend nearly everyone to buy their own equipment. 

Reasons for renting do, however, exist. For example, if you are changing to fiber or to another ISP soon, it might be cheaper to rent. 

Otherwise, I advise you to get your own modem and router.

Although, I should mention that I’m somewhat biased since I make a small commission if you get a router. 

Learn more at Buy Vs. Rent. Your Modem & Router

Optimum Internet Plans

Here are the most common Optimum internet plans with what traditional router, mesh Wi-Fi, and gateway work well for each internet plan. [4]

Optimum Internet PlanTraditional RouterMesh Wi-Fi Gateway
100 Mbps InternetArcher AX10Deca S4C7800
300 Mbps InternetArcher AX50Deca S4C7800
500 Mbps InternetArcher AX50Deca S4C7800
1 Gig InternetRT-AX88UOrbi RBK852CAX80

Don’t get a gateway if you have Optimum Fiber internet. 

Our Verdict

After extensive testing and research, we concluded that the TP-Link Archer AX50 is the best router for Optimum. 

Because it provides fast performances and useful features for a suitable price.