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Choosing the Right Cable Modem

Last Updated: Tue, 31 Jan 2017 > Related Articles

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See information to help you choose the right modem for your Cox High Speed Internet service.


A cable modem is required to use Cox High Speed Internet. It is important to choose the right type of device for the level of service you choose with Cox. This helps you make the right choice. When choosing a modem, there are three things you should consider.


All cable modems use a standard for hardware and software called Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS). The maximum Internet speed you can achieve depends upon both the DOCSIS version of your equipment and the Cox High Speed Internet package to which you subscribe.

If you have an older modem, you can increase your Internet speeds by upgrading to a new one. When selecting a device you should consider current and future speeds, as well as the number of users and devices in your household, to make sure you get the most for your money.

Cox makes significant investments in its network to enable Cox to periodically upgrade our Internet packages to give you more speed. DOCSIS 3.0 equipment provides you with the best speed experience and allow Cox to operate a more efficient network.

DOCSIS 3.0: The current industry standard of DOCSIS, and works with all Cox High Speed Internet packages. Many DOCSIS 3.0 devices are also IPv6 compliant. DOCSIS 3.0 modems are capable of channel bonding, which enables multiple downstream and upstream channels to be used together at the same time by a single user. The more channels a device can bond, the higher the speeds it can achieve.

There are multiple types of DOCSIS 3.0 modems.

  • 32 x 8 channels (32 downstream and 8 upstream): This is the newest generation modem and supports speeds for all Cox Internet customers.
  • 24 x 8 channels (24 downstream and 8 upstream): This modem supports speeds for all Cox Internet customers.
  • 16 x 4 channels (16 downstream and 4 upstream): This modem supports speeds for all Cox Internet customers.
  • 8 x 4 channels (8 downstream and 4 upstream): While this modem supports speeds for Premier Internet and lower packages today, the 16 x 4, 24 x 8, and 32 x 8 modems are compatible with future speed increases, but the 8 x 4 is not.
  • 4 x 4 channels (4 downstream and 4 upstream): This modem works with Preferred and lower packages today.

A DOCSIS 3.0 WiFi modem combines a cable modem, router, and wireless access point in a single device providing a cost-effective networking solution for both the home and small office.

Cox recommends modems that are 16 x 4 or higher to consistently achieve download speeds of all Cox Internet packages.

DOCSIS 2.0: These older generation devices work with Cox Starter and Essential Internet packages. DOCSIS 3.0 equipment is recommended due to the network efficiencies it provides.

DOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1: These are the oldest versions of DOCSIS, are not IPv6 compliant, and are essentially obsolete. DOCSIS 1.0 devices will not work on the Cox network. If you have a DOCSIS 1.1 device you should replace it to improve your speeds.

Use the table below to help you make the right modem choice based on the level of Cox High Speed Internet you need.

Cox High Speed Internet PackageMinimum Required DOCSIS Version
StarterDOCSIS 3.0 (4 x 4 channel)
EssentialDOCSIS 3.0 (4 x 4 channel)
PreferredDOCSIS 3.0 (4 x 4 channel)
Preferred 100DOCSIS 3.0 (8 x 4 channel)
PremierDOCSIS 3.0 (8 x 4 channel)
UltimateDOCSIS 3.0 (16 x 4 channel)

Modem Compatibility 

It is also important to make sure the modem you are buying works with the Cox network. We strongly recommend checking our approved modems list before buying a modem.

Purchase Options  

In an effort to save money, you could be tempted to purchase a modem at a yard sale, in a thrift store, or from another person. Used modems may be older or not fully functional and could result in connection problems or slow speeds. They may also be associated with an existing Cox account, and therefore cannot be used.

We encourage you to invest in equipment that ensures you get the best experience and speeds that Cox has to offer. Purchasing a new modem protects you with a warranty and helpful advice from experts. You may buy a new modem from a major retail store or directly from Cox.

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