The Netgear CM1000 makes a rather bold claim of being the fastest cable modem on the market. While it’s entirely possible, as Netgear is a trusted company when it comes to networking, is it really that fast?
There are more questions too. Will regular home users have any use for this level of speed? Has Netgear just used some clever advertising to help sell one of its latest products in their lineup?
Let’s take a closer look in our Netgear CM1000 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem Review and see if the claimed speeds are worth an upgrade for the average user.
- 1 Impressions and Design
- 2 Hardware and Compatibility
- 3 Setting up your Modem
- 4 Features
- 5 Performance
- 6 Pros and Cons
- 7 Final Thoughts
Impressions and Design
The styling might be recognizable to those who have previously used other Netgear products. The overall design is similar to some of Netgear’s other high-end devices, except for a few minor changes.
There is a bit more sharpness due to the slightly more aggressive angles used in the pentagon design. Shiny aluminum is used on the indicator panel too, which houses the understated, but easily recognizable green status LEDs.
Size and weight remain average, comparable to any other modem on the market. It measures 8.8 x 5.4 x 5.9 inches (22.4 x 13.7 x 15 centimeters), and weighs in at 0.84 pounds (381 grams).
As with many modems and routers these days, it is designed to stand upright. This is the most effective way to dissipate heat. The stand at the bottom is larger and more solid but is still susceptible to being knocked over if bumped. That said, this is one of the best lightweight cable modems around.
Keeping things simple…
Spread across the modem are rows of little triangles. And be careful; they can send you into a light trance if stared at for too long. These act as an effective ventilation tool while also providing some cool aesthetics.
As you move around the rear of the modem, it seems almost too simple. There’s a LAN port for connecting to a router and a coaxial port below, providing a link to your ISP. Other than that, there’s a power switch, power jack, and a tiny recessed reset button.
Hardware and Compatibility
Moving from the outside of the modem, let’s examine what type of goodies can be found within. Netgear’s CM1000 makes use of a Broadcom BCM3390 chip, 128MB of flash memory, and 256MB of RAM.
On the box, plastered in massive writing, is the claim that this device is capable of up to 10Gbps. While that is technically true of the internal components, in much smaller writing, it clarifies that the Gigabit Ethernet port limits the device to 1Gbps.
Plays nice with others…
One major advantage of this modem is that it is compatible with all the major cable internet providers across the USA. Therefore, it is one of the most versatile cable modems available. But remember, purchasing a modem capable of providing blazing data speeds is only one part of the equation.
To take advantage of data arriving and departing at a blistering pace, your ISP needs to be able to provide the service. Before purchasing any modem, you should always contact your provider to confirm both compatibility and speed capabilities.
Setting up your Modem
Getting things underway is a fairly straightforward operation and shouldn’t take long at all. Only a few minutes. Once you’ve removed the modem from its packaging, it’s time to plug in the cables.
Start with screwing in the coaxial cable from either the wall outlet or line splitter. Then plug in the power adapter to the modem and wall outlet. Finally, plug in the Ethernet cable between the modem and your PC. All of which makes this one of the best easy install cable modems on the market.
Before connecting the modem with a router, you are required to complete the installation process. Once complete, you can then use a router for either a wireless or wired connection. Once plugged in, if activation doesn’t happen automatically, you’ll need to call your provider.
You can then access the web interface that is used to manage and monitor both the device and connection. You will be asked to enter a username and password, followed by access to both a basic or advanced tab.
What sets this modem apart from the rest is the compatibility with the DOCSIS 3.1 system. Netgear was the first to include DOCSIS 3.0 in a modem, and they are the first again to include the latest upgrade of DOCSIS 3.1.
DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. It is the international standard used for transferring data over cable TV systems. Previously only possible with fiber optic, cable TV can now provide speeds of 10Gbps download and 1Gbps upload.
Make the most of the speed…
Netgear’s CM1000 will work with any WiFi router available on the market today. This is handy because, if you wish to take advantage of higher speeds, you will need a router that can handle it.
With faster internet speeds, this opens up a world of possibilities. Stream 4K videos without buffering or any interruptions. Play multiplayer online games without being kicked off the server due to inconsistent speeds. As a result, this is one of the best gaming cable modems currently out there.
At the beginning, we asked the question: is this modem really that fast? Well, the answer is yes. And no. Even though the framework is there for providing 10Gbps downstream and 1Gbps upstream, it is bottlenecked by the Gigabit Ethernet limitation.
You will notice a difference, though. And your provider even more so. This is because of the increased bandwidth capabilities that this modem is capable of providing with the upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1.
How much of an increase?
These modems achieve higher bandwidth by opening up multiple connections (or channels) by bonding (connecting) them. It is like spreading the load across multiple devices, then combining it back into one at the end.
Netgear’s CM1000 supports 32 bonded downstream channels, making download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps a reality. Along with 8 upstream channels, upload speeds of up to 304Mbps are possible.
There’s currently a massive advantage to owning a modem with extra channels. Due to so much data traffic, many channels are congested, causing a slower connection. Having extra channels that aren’t yet available to everyone else is what makes faster speeds possible.
Where you live, and the type of service provider will have the greatest impact on speeds and performance. The latest technology used in this modem is a new technology for the providers as well. So, it may not be available in your area.
Pros and Cons
- Attractive, stylish design that is lightweight and doesn’t take up too much desk space.
- Connectivity is simplified at the rear of the modem.
- The setup process is simple and straightforward with an easy-to-navigate web portal.
- Compatible with all major cable internet providers in the USA.
- Will connect to any WiFi router currently available.
- The latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology provides higher bandwidth.
- Even though the stand is larger and stronger, the modem can still be tipped over.
- Only a single Gigabit Ethernet port restricts any direct connections.
- Marketed speeds are not possible due to Ethernet port restrictions.
- A high-performance router will be required to take full advantage.
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In the beginning, we asked a few questions. Will regular users have any use for the extra speed? If streaming 4K and gaming online, then of course. Have they used some clever marketing? Unfortunately, this appears to be the case.
You will certainly still see some improved performance. At least until DOCSIS 3.1 becomes standard technology anyway. If your ISP provides the service, and you have a router that can match the performance, then go for it.
For other regular users, unless you’re looking to future-proof or plan to upgrade, then perhaps wait a little longer.
So, until next time, let the data flow.