Any subscribers of Optimum cable internet have been offered at some point the option to rent a router directly from Optimum.
Unfortunately, the rental router is not the best router for Optimum that you can get and you need to consider buying a router yourself.
Instead of paying $9.95 a month for a generic router, you should browse through a list of Optimum compatible routers to find something much better. It is easy to get lost in that list, however, which is why we are here to help.
Advantages Of Having Your Own Optimum Compatible Router
Faster WiFi & Better Features
The first advantage to buying the best router for Optimum is that you will get better speeds and features. Considering that Optiumum packages only go up to 400 Mbps in download speeds, you do not need to spend a fortune on a router that gets better speeds, since you will be limited by what you pay for.
The features you can get range from MU-MIMO, allowing multiple users at once, to reliable parental controls to lockdown your network.
Eliminate Rental Fees
On the surface, paying $9.95 a month for a rental router doesn’t seem like a big deal. Some quick math will tell you that it adds up to $119.40 a year. Consider that you are spending over a hundred dollars a year on a router that you do not even get to own.
You don’t get to choose the features you get from a rental modem either, so you are spending extra money for no reason.
Extended Wireless Coverage
So many devices are wireless these days. You will want to be able to access the internet from anywhere in your home to any device, regardless of the size of your home.
When you buy a compatible router, you can look into getting a dual-band router, which covers the use of both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, or a tri-band router, which gives you a second 5 GHz band.
Separate Units vs. Modem Router Combo For Optimum
When looking at combo units versus separate units, consider this:
- More dedicated WiFi coverage
- Better to update on individual devices
- Easier to get preferred features
- More control over settings and operation
- Easier to set up
- More cost effective
- Take up less space
- Simpler to update on only one device
5 Best Routers For Optimum (2021)
1. Asus RT-AC68U
2. Netgear R8000
3. Netgear R6700
4. Eero Mesh WiFi
5. Motorola MG7540
Modem Router Combo
1. ASUS RT-AC68U WiFi Router
Best Router For Optimum (Editor's Choice)
To get the most out of your Optimum internet package, you need to get the best wireless router for Optimum Internet possible. For that, we recommend the ASUS RT-AC68U. This is a great all-around router with some unique design features and excellent performance.
The design of the RT-AC68U should make many users happy. It might resemble a typical horizontal router, but this router is more than that. It actually sits up on its side, taking up much less room than other routers. That way, you will have more options as to where to put it.
The router has three antennas that stick out from the side as well, so you will be able to aim the signal strength where you would like to have it the most.
The RT-AC68U also comes with five Ethernet ports. These are perfect for connecting your devices directly into your router, ensuring that they will have a stable and reliable signal. The RT-AC68U also comes with a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port.
The USB 2.0 port is good for connecting a shared printer to your network. The USB 3.0 port will be great for sharing large files across all of the devices within your network.
The router also has protection that is powered by Trend Micro. This provides vulnerability detection, keeping your network safe. This is not very user-friendly, however.
The performance of the RT-AC68U is excellent as well. It comes with a 1 GHz dual-core CPU, so the router should have no trouble keeping up with the demands that you place upon it. You can also get speeds up to 1900 Mbps with this router.
You might not be able to get speeds like that with Optimum, but you should at least get the most out of your internet speed package.
The router itself is dual-band so it will be able to manage your different devices at the appropriate band level. You will also see that the router comes with a guest network to help increase the overall security of the router.
For streaming, the router does 4K streaming, which is nice for your online gaming and for any movies that would like to stream. With the 3,000 square feet in coverage, you won’t get any dead spots either.
2. Netgear Nighthawk R8000 Smart WiFi Router
If you are looking more for a high performance router for Optimum, we recommend the Netgear Nighthawk R8000. This router is made for performance and has all of the features that you could want.
Looking at the design, the R8000 takes up quite a bit of room and has 6 antennas that can be pointed in the directions that you need the most signal. The antennas themselves are not made to be sturdy, so you need to be careful to not break them accidentally when you are moving them around. This might seem odd since the rest of the router is strong, so just be aware.
The Nighthawk R8000 also has four high-speed 1G wired connections that can help you hardwire in your devices directly to the router. The router uses both Smart Connect and the Circle App. Smart Connect gives you a direct connection to your router’s activity while the Circle App is there to help you manage parental controls.
The performance of the R8000offers heavy-duty streaming with 4K Ultra-HD as well. The R8000 router comes with MU-MIMO technology and supports up to 55 devices. MU-MIMO allows you to stream without interruptions, delays, or signal drops. Having 55 devices supported makes this ideal for smart homes or if you just happen to have a lot of devices that stream regularly.
Finally, you will find that the R8000 can easily cover 3,500 square feet in your network. Since this is a tri-band router, you get a combined total of 4,000 Mbps and are unlikely to run into traffic. Your actual speed depends greatly on your package with Optimum, but it will make the most of it.
3. Netgear Nighthawk R6700 Wireless Router
Our choice for the best budget friendly router for Optimum cable internet is the Netgear Nighthawk R6700. This is a smart WiFi router, so even at a reasonable price, it still comes with excellent features.
The design of the R6700 is pretty standard for a router. It is black and rests horizontally on your shelf. It also has three high-gain antennas that can be pointed in the directions that you need the strongest signal. The router has a USB 3.0 port as well as four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connectivity.
The Nighthawk R6700 can access Armor security features, which can protect your network and your connected device from internet threats. The issue is that it only works with a free 30-day trial, after which you will have to pay to receive the security. There are built-in parental controls for added protection that way and there is still a firewall in place to help keep malware.
The performance of the Netgear Nighthawk R6700 is great. It offers wireless speeds up to 1750 Mbps, competing with higher-priced routers easily. It also can provide up to 1500 square feet in coverage as well, which should work for the average home.
The R6700 is a dual-band router, so it will help keep your traffic moving smoothly between both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The setup of the router is easy and should be up and running in about 5 minutes. It uses the Nighthawk App, which makes everything easy to setup as well as monitor.
4. Eero Mesh WiFi System
If you really need extended coverage beyond what is available from a standard router, you will need to get a mesh system. While there are a few on the market, the eero mesh system is our recommendation for extended coverage with Optimum cable internet. This is an Amazon router that works well with Alexa.
The design of the eero is sleek and white, rather than black, and is easy to hide. Since you will need to place three points throughout your home, these points will not be an eyesore or hard to conceal if you want to, easily blending in with your décor.
The eero Pro has two auto-detecting Ethernet ports that allow you to connect this to your modem or another device easily. The three-pack of points gives you a total of six ports to work with.
The eero also has great security features, such as threat scans, content warnings, and ad-blocking. Unfortunately, you have to upgrade to eero Secure+ to get the best security features, however, which is definitely the worst downside of the router.
The performance from the eero will not disappoint. With the three WiFi points that come with the router, you can get up to 5,000 sq ft in coverage. Since this is a mesh system, the coverage can be further expanded when you add on extra WiFi points.
Looking at the router’s speeds, it supports wireless speeds up to 350 Mbps. It is a dual-band router that has an intelligent function that will divert traffic to the appropriate band, ensuring that you always can control your traffic.
5. Motorola MG7540 Modem Router Combo
Best Modem Router Combo For Optimum
Finally, if you are looking for a combo unit, we suggest the Motorola MG7540. This modem router combo comes with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with a dual-band wireless router, giving you everything that you need to get your network running.
With the router and the modem integrated, you will find that you have freer shelf or desk space and a lot fewer wires to contend with.
The design of the MG7540 is a tower design, which is nice since tower devices stay cooler, giving them a longer lifespan. It has excellent vents built-into the sides as well. Tower units are also much easier to conceal than horizontal units.
This combo unit has four 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, so you will be able to plug in any device that needs a stable connection. It also comes with a Broadcam cable modem chipset as well to provide security from Denial of Service.
The modem within the MG7540 is a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem with speeds reach up to 375 Mbps, which should be what you expect from a standard combo unit.
The router has both the 2.4 GHz band and a 5 GHz band, allowing you to focus your signal on the devices that work better on each band. The maximum total speeds that it allows are 686 Mbps which should work with your Optimum package.
Thinking about the MG7540’s performance, you will see that it has AnyBeam Beamforming, which can help boost the signal of the router, increasing its overall range.
This works on both of the frequencies for better overall performance and it can also work on WiFi DFS frequencies, so it is less vulnerable to neighbour interference or slowdown.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A WiFi Router For Optimum Internet
Internet Speed Package
The first factor to think about when it comes to choosing a WiFi router for Optimum is the internet speed package you have. Some speed packages will be bigger than others. Normally, the highest speed packages cost the most money.
You should get a router capable of a little bit more than what you are paying for, preparing for when internet improves, but you are always going to be limited by your speed package.
House Square Footage
The size of your home is another factor to consider. If you live in a small apartment, for example, you do not need a mesh system. Likewise, in a big house, you need a router to cover it.
Look at the range offered by the routers that you are considering and see if they will be able to stick with what they promised. You need coverage across your home, so look for the square footage listed.
Number Of Connected Devices
You will also need to think about the amount of devices that you have. If you live alone and just browse, you will not need the same features as someone with a larger and busier space,
Likewise, if you have a lot of connected devices, make sure that your router will be able to handle what you throw at it. Most routers will list the amount of devices they work with, so pay attention.
If you have decided to buy an Optimum compatible router rather than suffer with the mediocre rental that they will offer you, the best router for Optimum for you is the Asus RT-AC68U. This is a router that is made to perform, taking on whatever devices it needs to.
For anyone who would like a router to keep up performance-wise, check out the Netgear Nighthawk R8000. This router is made to keep up with your performance needs without any trouble.
You still might need something with extended coverage, or easier on the budget, but as long as you have the features you need, you will have the best Optimum router possible.