A Guide to WOW! Compatible Modems

Choosing a modem can be tricky business as there are so many options. However, it’s worth knowing that some modems are more compatible with your internet service provider (ISP) than others. Opting for one that meets all the specifications of your ISP can make the difference between a great internet experience or a spotty connection.

Having a compatible modem is key to getting the most out of your Wide Open West! (WOW!) internet plan. Not only will your modem determine whether you can access your full internet speed, but also whether the kids can carry on gaming while you’re streaming the latest must-watch show. This guide provides tips on choosing a WOW! compatible modem, along with a few trusted models to consider.

How to choose a WOW! compatible modem

WOW! has several devices that can support its internet demands, so it comes down to choosing between Wi-Fi and DOCSIS capabilities. Older lists of WOW! compatible modems still include a lot of DOCSIS 3.0 modems. However, manufacturers are slowly starting to phase these models out. While there are still some that are compatible with WOW! internet, it’s worth knowing that in time, firmware and software updates may no longer happen as these modems are being discontinued.

For this reason, WOW! recommends internet customers use devices provided through their internet plans. These have all been set up to the direct specifications of the WOW! network and can make a bit difference in the quality of your connection. Also, renting a device can mean having the latest in technology all the time.

That said, modems can run a long time and only need to be changed out after many years. Renting the device from WOW! might end up being a costly exercise and a direct purchase might make more financial sense. Or, you might already have a device that you’re bringing over from another ISP and using what’s already on hand makes the most sense.

When you’re in the market for WOW! compatible modems and performance matters, it’s important to look for a device that supports DOCSIS 3.1 and Wi-Fi 6. DOCSIS 3.1 is an essential component if you’re looking for super-fast speeds, as it can support line speeds of up to 10Gbps. Wi-Fi 6 is the cherry on your internet sundae and offers high-efficiency Wi-Fi that ensures your linked devices get the most out of the internet connection.

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List of WOW! compatible modems

There are over 30 WOW! compatible devices, and some are better than others. In this guide, we’ve chosen devices that meet the minimum specifications of DOCSIS 3.1 and support Wi-Fi.

ARRIS G34

The ARRIS G34, also known as the SURFboard G34, can support up to 4Gbps download and is a regular choice among gigabit speed internet plans. It features DOCSIS 3.1 and has four 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports that come in handy for high bandwidth devices such as gaming consoles and desktop computers. It supports dual concurrent AX3000 Wi-Fi, which means you can run your gaming off the 5GHz option and mobile devices on the 2.4GHz band for an optimal internet experience. It’s a combo device, which means there’s no need to buy a router separately. Users can navigate their device settings through the ARRIS SURFboard Central App.

ARRIS G36

With only a few dollars separating the SURFboard G34 from the G36, it might be hard to choose. However, the ARRIS G36 has all the features of the G34, plus a few extras. To start, there’s the extra wired port that offers more than just one gigabit line. The fifth Ethernet port can support wired line speeds of up to 2.5Gbps, giving it the edge over the G34. It’s also compatible with a few additional ISPs. For those who require a high-performance internet connection, it’s important to have a modem that can support your needs. While the G34 can support an impressive download speed of up to 4Gbps, the G36 trumps that by upping it to 6.5Gbps download speed.

ARRIS SBG8300

When the decision to buy a modem rests on price, the ARRIS SBG8300 is hard to beat. It also happens to feature great capabilities, such as compatibility with many ISPs. This feature makes the transition from other ISPs to WOW! a little easier if you happen to own this model. It offers four 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports and dual concurrent Wi-Fi, with Wi-Fi speeds of up to 2.4Gbps. This device boasts 10Gbps+ download speeds on wired connections.

Motorola MB8600

A reliable internet connection with low latency makes the Motorola MB8600 suitable for gamers that require a budget-friendly option. For under $150, the MG8600 offers the DOCSIS 3.1 standard to support 1Gbps speeds, but it can still fall back on DOCSIS 3.0 to access 32×8 channels. According to Motorola, when purchasing the device, users can save up to $120 per year on device rentals. The device can also support 1Gbps upstream speeds and offers surge protection for those stormy days. Motorola also states that this modem works with any router, computer, HDTV, or gaming device with an Ethernet port.

NETGEAR C7800

The Nighthawk lineup is NETGEAR’s answer to high-speed combo modems that ensure a clutter-free network as there’s no need to buy a separate router. In terms of performance, it offers up to 3.2Gbps in combined Wi-Fi download speed and four 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports. The modem can easily be managed through the Nighthawk App, which allows device management and speed tests. It features a powerful 1.5GHz processor to ensure there is no buffering in the device itself and that it can support simultaneous connections whether they’re over Wi-Fi or wired.

NETGEAR CAX30S

Also known as the Nighthawk AX6, this model is a powerful, high-speed combo modem and router that offers Wi-Fi 6 with download speeds of up to 2.7Gbps, making it a suitable option for gamers and households that stream from multiple devices. It’s compatible with a number of ISPs, making the transition from one to another a little more streamlined. This device also includes a free 90-day subscription to NETGEAR Armor, which is cybersecurity that can protect devices such as smartphones, home security systems, and smart devices.

NETGEAR CAX80

Also known as the AX8, the CAX80 is an ultra high-performance dual device that provides seamless streaming and is compatible with most major ISPs. The 1.5GHz processor ensures glitch-free local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) traffic. As an eight-stream device, this modem can support multiple connections, including high-demand, high-bandwidth devices such as gaming consoles. It supports Wi-Fi download speeds of up to 6Gbps and the device also offers two-port aggregation, allowing users to get up to 2Gbps on wired devices.

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Older modems that may still be WOW! compatible

While DOCSIS 3.1 is the standard we’ve chosen to compile our list, other devices that don’t meet this specification can still be used with WOW! internet.

DOCSIS 3.1 without Wi-Fi

It might seem strange to opt for a DOCSIS 3.1 compatible modem without Wi-Fi, but not all setups require Wi-Fi. For instance, wired networks can benefit from the stability and speed of a wired connection that Wi-Fi connections simply can’t match. High-performance devices might drain the broadband on a wireless network, causing instability.

The top five WOW! compatible modems that fall into this category include:

  • ARRIS SB8200
  • Motorola MB8600
  • Motorola MB8611
  • NETGEAR CM1000
  • NETGEAR CM1100

DOCSIS 3.0

These devices are for lower speeds that don’t quite reach the 1Gbps mark (up to 600Mbps) and are slowly being phased out as network demands increase. You may not find much value in purchasing one of these modems new, but if you already own one or can find a refurbished one you may be able to use it on the WOW! network. WOW! currently has three plans that still run speeds lower than 1Gbps.

The top DOCSIS 3.0 modems include: 

  • Linksys CM3024 (24×8 channels no Wi-Fi)
  • NETGEAR C6900 (24×8 channels plus Wi-Fi)
  • NETGEAR C7000 (24×8 channels plus Wi-Fi)
  • NETGEAR CM700 (32×8 channels no Wi-Fi)
  • NETGEAR CBR40 (32×8 channels plus Wi-Fi)

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Special considerations before buying a modem

As with all ISPs, WOW! is constantly looking to improve customer experience, and this means adding and removing compatible devices from time-to-time. WOW! still supports DOCSIS 3.0, but the change to DOCSIS 3.1 is on the horizon for all ISPs as streaming and gaming demands increase. While you can save a lot of money by buying a device, it’s important to future-proof your purchase by opting for hardware that meets the highest standards. An alternative is to rent the device from WOW! and while this might be a pricier option, it ensures that your device remains compatible.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can I use my existing modem with my new WOW! internet plan?

WOW! is constantly refining their list of compatible devices and, to ensure an optimal experience, recommends that your device is both DOCSIS 3.1 and Wi-Fi compatible. WOW! offers deals that include device rentals to ensure users have up-to-date and compatible devices throughout their time with WOW! Users that happen to have a DOCSIS 3.1 device with Wi-Fi should inquire from WOW! whether it’s supported, as the lists change often to accommodate new technologies.

What happens if my device is not WOW! approved, but works on the network?

Not all devices that work on the WOW! network are compatible with the ISP’s service standards. This may cause problems down the line regarding firmware and software updates, as these may no longer happen automatically. Not only can this compromise the quality of your internet connection, but also the integrity of security standards. It’s best to use a device compatible with and approved by WOW! internet to ensure you don’t encounter any issues with your service.

Can I still use my DOCSIS 3.0 modem on the WOW! network?

On specific internet plans, DOCSIS 3.0 is still supported. When your internet speeds reach 1Gbps or higher, it’s time to switch to DOCSIS 3.1. However, DOCSIS 3.0 devices are slowly being phased out by ISPs as the demands of modern-day internet require faster download speeds. It’s also worth noting that nearly all DOCSIS 3.1 modems are backwards compatible and still support DOCSIS 3.0.

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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our internet service page. Prices as of 6/22/22.

Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.