Not too long ago, I highlighted 3 ways to get rid of your Comcast modem rental fee after Comcast Xfinity killed my old Netgear gateway (modem + router). Comcast recently raised their modem rental fee for the xFi gateway to a ridiculous $15 per month (or $180 per year) in January, 2023. Previously, they have raised the price for their “xFi Complete” service to a hefty $25 per month (or $300/year). You don’t need either. Replacing an Xfinity modem with your own is an excellent way to cut your total Xfinity bill. I’ve saved thousands in doing so over the years, and I’ll detail how in this article, with a list of the best modems and routers to replace Xfinity xFi with below. It’s easy – anyone can do it!
I had successfully tried the Comcast negotiation route before – but it’s easy to forget to call in to negotiate every 6 months or so. And, when you get a discount on your modem rental, it leaves you with little leverage to negotiate bigger discounts on the cost of the internet service. Besides. I hated seeing a device with a little “Xfinity” logo on it sitting next to my computer. And, Xfinity is even using their leased modems as Wi-Fi hotspots (but you can opt out).
So, I decided to replace the Comcast-owned gateway, with my own, at a current cost savings of $180 per year. Don’t let Comcast fool you – anyone can do this on their own. Now, I am no longer paying the ridiculous $15 per month rental fee for a Comcast modem – and I want to share how you can do the same.
Update: I’ve also written more broadly on how to get rid of your ISP modem rental fee (if you’re not a Comcast customer).
Here is How to Replace a Comcast Modem with your Own, in 4 Easy Steps:
I will specifically detail how I replaced a Comcast modem with my own, but this should be applicable to other ISPs as well.
1. Buy an Xfinity Compatible Modem & Router or a Gateway to Replace your Comcast Modem
You do not need to buy a 2-in-1 gateway device (modem + router in 1 device), such as the one Comcast commonly supplies and brands as “xFi”. You can go with a cable modem and pair it with a wireless router. It will work the same, but buying separately allows you to replace one half of the combo if you want to upgrade more cheaply in the future, versus the entire (more expensive) device. Not to mention, this setup is often more reliable, based on reviews of gateways.
There is a list of Xfinity supported cable modems that are compatible and supported with their network (and many modems are compatible even if not supported). Comcast recently upgraded their network to DOCSIS 3.1, but it is backwards compatible to previous generation DOCSIS model modems (e.g. DOCSIS 3.0).
The customer support tech I had spoke to previously had recommended a now obsolete Motorola gateway. After doing some research, however, I had noticed that this device had horrible reviews due to a number of problems working with Comcast’s network through firmware updates (or, lack of).
New and improved modems and routers come out all of the time. If I were buying today, I’d choose the Motorola MB8611 modem and TP-Link AX1800 router, but any of the below modem + router combos will be more than sufficient for 99.9% of users. Remember, a modem + a router = a gateway. You need to buy both a modem and router, or alternatively a combo gateway, which has the functionality of both. I comb through every Xfinity-compatible modem available and the Amazon best seller lists frequently, so you don’t have to. Just select from any of the following modem and router combinations below (all are Xfinity-supported and compatible and will work with most other ISPs too):
Best Modems (Pair with a Router Below):
These modems have the latest/greatest technology and will be able to meet top ISP speeds for a long time. All are top sellers on Amazon with 4+ star customer ratings, offer the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology, over 1Gbps (=1,000Mbps, or 1 “Gig”) speed capabilities, and have been chosen for great value for their price. If you’re paying for top speeds with Xfinity, go with one of these.
- Motorola MB8611: up to 2330Mbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
- Arris S33: up to 2330Mbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
- Netgear CM2000: up to 2330Mbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
Good Modems (Pair a with a Router Below):
These modems are all good as well, use DOCSIS 3.0 technology, have high (close to 1 Gbps) but slightly lower top speed capabilities, in exchange for lower prices. These are also all top sellers on Amazon with 4+ star customer ratings.
- Arris SB8200: up to 957Mbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
- Netgear CM700: up to 935Mbps (DOCSIS 3.0)
- Arris Surfboard SB6190: up to 859Mbps (DOCSIS 3.0)
Modems with Xfinity Voice Capability (Pair with a Router Below):
In my view, Xfinity Voice is overpriced, with much cheaper VOIP landline options out there that you can connect to any router (see Ooma). But, if you are sure you want it, the following modems are Xfinity Voice compatible:
Routers (Pair with a Modem Above):
The following routers all handle 1 Gig (1000Mbps+) speeds, offer great value, and are highly rated Amazon best sellers with 4+ star customer ratings and pair nicely with the modems above. The first 3 offer newer Wi-Fi 6 technology.
- TP-Link AX3000 – Wi-Fi 6: up to 3000Mbps (2402Mbps on the 5GHz band + 575Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
- TP-Link AX1800 – Wi-Fi 6: up to 1800Mbps (1.2 Gbps on 5 GHz band + 574Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
- Netgear Nighthawk AX1800 – Wi-Fi 6: up to 1800Mbps (1.2 Gbps on 5 GHz band + 574Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
- TP-Link AC1750 – Wi-Fi 5: up to 1.75 Gbps (1200Mbps on 5GHz band + 600Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
I recently took a look at the new Wi-Fi 6E versus Wi-Fi 6 versus Wi-Fi 5 technology to determine if Wi-Fi 6E is worth the cost. Comcast has recently been advertising its Xfinity “Supersonic Wi-Fi” offering. Broken down, “Supersonic Wi-Fi” is really just Xfinity’s fastest (and highest cost) internet tiers (Gigabit or Ultrafast plans) paired with a new Wi-Fi 6E router (which they are marketing as the “Supersonic Gateway” as part of their package Xfinity “Supersonic Bundle” deal). Here are 2 of the most popular Wi-Fi 6E routers on the market at the moment:
- TP-Link AXE5400: up to 5400Mbps (2402 Mbps on the 6GHz, 2402Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
- Asus RT-AXE7800: up to 5400Mbps (2402 Mbps on the 6GHz, 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
- Amazon eero Pro: up to 1300Mbps
Gateway Modems (with Router Built-in, Don’t Pair with Separate Router):
You don’t need a modem and router in a combo unit (aka “gateway”), as they work the same as any modem and router combo. They are a bit on the more expensive side and if you want to upgrade either modem or router functionality, you need to buy an entirely new device (vs the half you want to upgrade). But, if you want a combined unit, check out the following devices:
2. Call Comcast to Activate your Modem (Or, Use the Activation App)
After you get your new modem and router combo, you can activate your modem using the Xfinity app or you can call Comcast customer service to activate. Select “technical support” when you call in. When you are connected to a tech, tell them you bought your own new modem to replace your Comcast modem.
They will start by asking you for the MAC address and Serial Number listed on your new device so that they can send a signal to your device. I’ve had my share of bad Comcast customer service experiences, but this one was surprisingly positive and simple. The tech walked me through getting my internet up and running with my new modem. Within 5 minutes, I was connected at the full internet speeds I was paying for – the same speeds I had from the Comcast gateway.
The Comcast tech also removed the modem fee code in my billing profile (I didn’t have to ask for this, but you may have to). Finally, he gave me the address of a service center to return my Comcast modem. You can verify on your Xfinity device profile here, if you’d like, as well as on a future Comcast billing statement.
3. Connect your Mobile Devices to your Router Wi-Fi
Once you have your modem and router running, you should secure your Wi-Fi network and connect your devices.
You can easily set your network name and your password on your router. You’ll then need to go back to each device (laptop, cell phones, tablet, etc.) to choose the new network and enter the password.
Each router will have slightly different instructions on how to do this, but all you need to know is that it’s a fairly simple and straightforward process. Total time invested was about 15 minutes.
For readers who are concerned about losing Comcast Voice capabilities I highly recommend purchasing an Ooma device. I’ve been using an Ooma for over a decade with Comcast and it works just as well. It only costs a few bucks per year in taxes, so you save significantly over Comcast Voice and allow yourself more negotiation power in the future. You simply plug the Ooma device in to the back of your router, plug your phone into the Ooma, and you’re all set.
4. Return your Old Comcast Modem!
Don’t forget to return your old Comcast-supplied modem or gateway. The tech told me I had 45 days to due this before Comcast listed the device as missing and charged me for it. You will not be charged for the device in the meantime, you just need to make sure to return it within the 45 days.
Make sure to get a receipt for your device return! I have heard of a few examples where the returnee did not do so and ran into later problems. Any time you can keep a paper trail with Comcast, it’s usually a good thing, so you don’t get stuck with unwarranted fees later on (even when you own your own modem).
Bonus Update: I’ve also written about how you can get rid of your Xfinity DVR & TV Box fee through owning your own streaming device, saving $10 per month ($120/year) for each device.
Replacing your Comcast Modem Fee Discussion:
- Have you replaced your Comcast modem with your own?
- What gateway or modem/router combo do you personally recommend?