What Is Spectrum Home WiFi?

Our last episode of IAG focused on Cox’s Panoramic Wi-Fi. This installment examines Charter’s in-home ” spectrum” WiFi service, which is a competitor to Cox. As with Cox, and any other MSO, Charter Spectrum’s gateways are more expensive than those subscribers who buy their home CPE.

Charter Communications Overview

Charter, based in Connecticut is America’s second-largest MNO according to subscribers. It operates in 43 US states and is the fifth-largest U.S. provider of VoIP services to homes.

Many consider Charter to be the worst MSO in America, along with Comcast. The company has been cited by both DSLreports.com as well as PC World for poor Internet service since the beginning of the 21st century.

Charter is praised by OTT customers for not imposing data caps or throttling. Charter offers cheaper Internet to those who are eligible. Charter subscribers have access to over half a million Spectrum public WiFi hotspots, just like Cox. Unlike Cox, all subscribers qualify.

After widespread consumer complaints, Charter (like Comcast) changed its name to Xfinity in 2010, and Spectrum was created in 2014. After a network upgrade from its coax cable-based infrastructure to an HFC model, the facelift was completed.

Comcast’s home WiFi platform is Xfinity xFi, which is marketed to residential Internet users.

Charter offers Internet download speeds of up to 940Mbps in 28 states, according to broadbandnow.com. Two states get speeds of up to 500Mbps, 11 states get speeds up to 400Mbps, Rhode Island receives speeds up to 300Mbps, and Arkansas, which has 114 residents, only gets 25 Mbps.

Charter Spectrum Internet Tiers

Spectrum offers residential subscribers (where HFC or DOCSIS 3.1 is available) an option of three Internet Packages:

Package Speeds down Increase Speeds
Standard 60-200 Mbps 10 Mbps
Ultra 300-400 Mbps 20 Mbps
Gig 940 Mbps 35 Mbps

These high-speed data speeds, as with Cox’s Internet plans, can cause havoc for subscribers if they are used to extensive video conferencing or gaming, or P2P Seeding.

Spectrum Now Charges Subscribers Modems/Gateways

Spectrum didn’t charge subscribers for modems/gateways for years, unlike other national MSOs. After an accounting breakthrough, Charter began charging subscribers $9.99 per modem. The company-supplied modems could be delivered to the subscriber’s home or picked up at a Spectrum shop.

Charter is fair to the fact that most MSOs charge a monthly rent for modems/gateways. Charter subscribers only receive modems/gateways at a charge.

Many subscribers were wrongly shocked by the apparent greed of the company. One observer predicts that the $9.99 activation fee for “Bring your Modem” will soon be due.

It’s a great time to hear Adam Olinger, a web developer, and Internet pro, go on Charter Spectrum Internet. Warning! Warning!

What’s the Difference between Modems, Routers, and Gateways

Spectrum isn’t trying to sell its subscribers a home WiFi platform that promises to “blanket”, as Comcast’s xFi and Cox’s Panoramic do. Spectrum will not exploit the tech-challenged subscribers’ ignorance.

We mentioned that Charter has purchased many MSOs across the country and regions over the years, including large companies such as Bright House and Time Warner (TWC).

Many subscribers switched from TWC to Spectrum. However, many kept a legacy rate program, which was often more expensive than the advertised Spectrum tier rate. Many subscribers who converted to TWC were able to call Charter to avail their Internet package at a much lower rate than TWC charged.

Awesomejelly.com’s customer tells a horrifying story about Charter’s greed and apparent lack of technical acumen. She switched from TWC to Charter and was told she needed to get a new Charter-issued modem from a Spectrum shop. Oops! However, a Charter representative failed to inform her that her monthly bill would increase by $5 because of the “wireless” cost for the device.

Worse, the subscriber had an existing wireless router. She plugged her Charter-issued modem into her router when she returned home. You guessed it. Charter provided her with a gateway and not a modem. Because the two devices were competing for the same WiFi bandwidth, her wireless connection became a mess.

Charter’s modem in sum is free, except for an activation fee. It charges $5 per month to use WiFi.

The IAG is available to assist you. We have an article that explains the differences between modems, wireless routers, and gateways.

Gateways and Routers on Spectrum Home WiFi

You, a loyal IAG reader, are well aware of the benefits of purchasing your router/gateway for home WiFi. Now you want to learn about the gateways and routers that Charter allows you to interface with their DOCSIS network. Spectrum Business Internet customers must have Charter-issued modems.

See this for a complete list of Charter-issued modems.

Charter splits the modems that it certifies to be used on its network in five categories. These are divided according to Internet speed tiers, as shown in the following tables.

Spectrum has not certified modems for its Gig (940 Mb/s) tier. Observant readers will immediately notice this. One user recommends the MotorolaDOCSIS 3.1 HTML8600.

Approved to Deliver Internet Speeds up to 400 Mb

Arris SB6190 ASUS CM 32_AC2600 Motorola MB7621 Netgear C7000
Arris SBG7580 Linksys CG7500 Motorola MG7700 Netgear CM600
Arris SBG7580 – AC Linksys CM3016 Motorola MB8600 Netgear CM700
ASUS CM32 Linksys CM3024 Netgear C6900 Netgear CM1000v2

Approved to Deliver Internet Speeds up to 300 Mb/s

Arris SB6183 Motorola MG7540 SMC Networks D3CM1604
Arris SBG6900 – AC Motorola MG7550 TP-Link CR500
ASUS CM-16 Netgear C6250 TP-Link CR700
Motorola MB7420 Netgear CM500 TP-Link TC-7620

Approved to Deliver Internet Speeds up to 100 Mb

Arris SB6141 Motorola MG7310 Zoom 5341J
Arris SBG6400 Motorola MG7315 Zoom 5345
Arris SBG6580 Netgear C3000 Zoom 5350
Arris SBG6580-2 Netgear CG3000D Zoom 5352
Arris SBG6700 – AC Netgear C3700 Zoom 5354
D-Link DCM301 Netgear CM400 Zoom 5360
Linksys CM3008 TP-Link TC-7610 Zoom 5363
Motorola MB7220 TP-Link TC-W7960 Zyxel CDA30360

Approved to Deliver Internet Speeds up to 60 Mb

Arris SB6120 Arris SB6121 Netgear CMD31T

“Minimally Qualified Modems”

Charter allows the following devices to be connected to their network, but Charter warns that they are not recommended for use. “We recommend against using these modems because they haven’t been tested to ensure their ability to deliver your Internet service speed.”

Arris SB8200 Netgear C6220 Netgear N450
Arris SB6183 Netgear C6300 Netgear CM1000
Arris SBG10 Netgear C6300v2 Netgear CM1100
Arris SBG6950AC2 Netgear C7000v2 Netgear CM1200
Arris SBG7400AC2 Netgear C7500 TP-Link CR1900
Arris SBG7600AC2 Netgear C7800 TP-Link TC7650
Arris SBG8300 Netgear Cable Orbi CBR40 Zoom 5370
Netgear C3700v2 Netgear Cable Orbi CBK40


We’ll end with both a question and an answer from the netgear.com online community forum.

Question – “Do I have to pay the Spectrum “add in-home WiFi” fee if I want to connect to their modem?”

Answer: “Spectrum offers several types of modems, including modem only, modem/phone, and modem/router/wifi. You don’t need a phone service subscription to Spectrum. Instead, you will only require a modem. This can be rented from Spectrum or purchased online (on Amazon).

The payback time for approved DOCSIS 3.1 modems can be less than one year, with prices often below $100. If your modem fails, you can either fix it or buy a new one. Their modem malfunctions

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