Optimum, like most other internet service providers provides you with the option of renting a router. However, those aren’t any good and rarely perform as expected. That’s why we always suggest our readers to purchase one, but to ensure smooth performance, you’ll need to get a router that’s compatible with Optimum.
While Optimum support will always tell you to go for their router, it is for your benefit that you don’t do that. This will save you a ton of money in the long run because you’re paying them every month for it. Besides, you are almost always likely to get faster speeds and better coverage as you can purchase a device based on your requirements.
Despite being a great internet service provider, Optimum continues to lag in the router front. The kind of devices that they provide for the “monthly rental” are just bare-bone routers that have very limited area coverage and slow speeds. Hence, switching to another router isn’t just a luxury, it is a necessity!
Modems and routers are different devices, when purchasing a separate router you don’t have to worry about the compatibility as you’ll anyways be pairing it with the modem provided by your ISP or an approved modem. However, if you’re picking a modem/router combo, please make sure that it’s approved by Optimum.
- 10 Best Routers for Optimum in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk X6SL
- 2. Best for 1Gig Plan: Linksys WRT3200ACM
- 3. Best Modem-Router Combo: Motorola MG8702
- 4. Best For Office Use: D-Link AC2600
- 5. Best For Gaming: ASUS AC1900 RT-AC68U
- 6. Best For 400Mbps Plan: Netgear Nighthawk R7000
- 7. Best Mesh Setup: Gryphon Guardian
- 8. Best With WiFi 6: TP-Link AX1800
- 9. Best For 300Mbps Plan: TP-Link AC1750
- 10. Cheapest option: Tenda AC1200
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
10 Best Routers for Optimum in 2021
This is a definitive list of some of the good routers that you could use to improve your experience while subscribing to Optimum’s internet connection. We have considered a number of factors such as upload/download speeds, ports, bands, and range while preparing this list to provide you with a 360-degree view of the situation.
Here’s a closer look at some of the compatible routers for Optimum:
1. Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk X6SL
Whether you are a gamer who wants to play online games, or someone who wants to stream 4K content, or even someone who wants to upload heavy files and send them across for office-work, Netgear Nighthawk X6SL is just the right router for you.
Given that this router supports a speed of up to 1300mbps on 5GHz and up to 600mbps on the 2.4GHz band, it is one of the fastest devices out there.
It is not just the speed that is impressive, but the coverage is pretty good too. The router covers up to 3500 sq. ft. which is big enough for a large house and for multiple floors as well. However, it is suggested to get a WiFi 6 based Mesh Routers if you live in a multi-storey house.
Another great thing about this router is that it also supports connecting up to 50 devices to it. This allows you to connect not only your phones, tablets and laptops but also a lot of smart-home devices.
It has quite a modern design to it. There are six antennae coming out of the device, three on each side. It’s all black with lights in the center. The design is so unique that it has led to someone in the Amazon FAQs asking whether this is “a spaceship”.
The Nighthawk X6SL comes with 4 LAN ports, 1 WAN port, 1 USB 2.0 port and 1 USB 3.0 port. The USB ports allow you to plug in your hard drives and create connected cloud storage within your WiFi network.
Furthermore, setting up this router is also pretty simple and you on’t really need any tech skills. There’s a Nighthawk application that allows you to set up, configure and control this router in just five minutes! The app also allows you to view usage statistics with ease.
There are some interesting configuration settings on the router too, which allow you to set up parental controls and to restrict access to certain websites. You could also restrict set time limits and see website history. The router supports WPA2 security protocols and is pretty safe to use as well.
This is indeed one of the best compatible routers for all Optimum users, even for the ones who are using their fastest 1-gig-plans. There’s practically nothing that this router restricts you from doing and is perhaps the best choice available in the markets.
- Allows connecting up to 50 devices
- Has a USB 3.0 port as well for faster transfers
- Great parental control features
- Well-designed device
- Covers up to 3500 sq. ft. of area
- Can’t allow third-party firmware
- A bit pricey
2. Best for 1Gig Plan: Linksys WRT3200ACM
If you are looking for a decent device for a very large household, the Linksys WRT3200ACM is a router that can pierce through multiple floors and provide great download speeds to you.
The router supports a speed of 2600mbps and 600mbps on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands respectively. This can be useful for multiple uses ranging from basic household surfing going all the way to gaming and video-calling. The router covers a radius of about 150ft and is best placed in the center of the house.
There are four gigabit LAN ports and one gigabit WAN port present on this router. The strange thing is that Linksys isn’t really clear about how many devices this router can support.
Nonetheless, there are two USB ports (one USB 2.0 and another USB 3.0) using which you can connect your hard drives and share data within the network.
There aren’t many design highlights in this router from Linksys, and the flashy blue makes it stand out from most of its surroundings no matter where you keep it. There are four antennae, two on each side of the router. It weighs 1.74 pounds and is not too heavy.
One of the better things about this router is the ‘tri-stream technology’ that it comes with. This technology helps double the 5GHz band’s performance and allows you to carry data-intensive tasks such as streaming 4K videos and playing multiplayer games without any hiccups.
Setting up this router isn’t much of a challenge, thanks largely to the mobile application which allows you to set up your connection in just a few taps. Besides setting it up, the app also allows you to set parental controls, track real-time statistics, prioritize devices, and provide guest access.
All said and done, this is a pretty good router for Optimum users, especially those using their high-speed plans such as the 1-gig plan or the 400 Mbps plan. The router truly allows you to make the most out of your internet connection.
- Decent data transfer speed
- Large 150ft coverage
- Easy setup and control using the app
- USB 3.0 for faster cloud drives
- Great for streaming videos
- Temperatures may go as high as 40C
- Unclear on number of devices supported
3. Best Modem-Router Combo: Motorola MG8702
Are you bored of looking at the same old boring router designs and are looking for something that looks quite futuristic? Do you want to make the best possible use of your Optimum internet connection? Motorola MG8702 Combo is just the right router for you then.
Featuring an impressive connection speed of up to 3200mbps, the Motorola MG8702 is a device that allows you to perform the most data-intensive tasks without having to worry about the speeds at all.
Be it transferring large video files to work or be it ensuring that all your IoT devices remain connected, this router has got your back!
One thing that bugs us straight-up is that Motorola doesn’t really show the exact coverage of this router. However, multiple other sources claim that this covers about 2500 sq. ft. of area, which is decent coverage for any router. Besides that, it also allows you to connect up to 55 devices to it, making it great for smart homes.
The router makes use of beamforming technology and an intelligent power boost to ensure that the WiFi signals are amplified. There are 4 Gigabit LAN ports on the router, as well as 1 WAN port and 1 USB 3.0 port. The USB port helps you plug in a hard drive and use it to share data all over your network.
Design-wise, there’s no other router that even comes close to this one from Motorola! A device that looks straight out of a dystopian movie set, there are no antennae on this, and it stands vertically with a very sleek and metallic look.
This is a 2-in-1 cable modem + router device which helps you eliminate wires and cut down on extra devices.
Another key aspect of this router is the mobile app that it comes with. Not only does it allow you to set it up and ensure that it is up and running in no time, but it also gives you greater control over your security and privacy.
The app allows you to set up filters for malware, ad privacy and adult websites. There’s also a speed test there which shows you real-time statistics about your router.
All said and done, this is an amazing device from Motorola and one which can particularly benefit Optimum internet users to get the best possible performance from their connections. If you are a user of the 1 gig internet plan, this is just the router-modem combo you should go for!
- Great design: sleek, metallic and futuristic
- Supports upto 55 devices
- Great parental controls and filters
- Provides high speeds even in faraway corners
- 2-in-1 cable modem + router
- Only one USB port
- Quite expensive
4. Best For Office Use: D-Link AC2600
No conversation about routers is ever complete without the mention of a D-Link router. This is perhaps the best router for Optimum users who are looking for an inexpensive device that allows them to squeeze the most out of their internet plans!
With a connection speed of about 2600mbps in total and 800mbps plus 1733mpbs individually over 2.4GHz and 5GHz, respectively, the D-Link AC2600 router is a good choice for users who want a high-speed connection but aren’t necessarily power-users.
This router is great for all your browsing, 4K Game & video streaming, Gaming on Xbox or Playstation, etc. You can even play light online multiplayer games while using it.
While the company has been quite clear on the connection speed, you won’t find the range supported by this router even after quite a bit of googling for it. The company states that it supports an ‘extreme’ range, aided by 4 antennae – two placed on the back and two on the sides. We assume it to cover 3000 sq ft.
The design here is quite minimal and the router looks good and can blend with anywhere you decide to keep it. There are four gigabit LAN ports on the back, along with one WAN port and one USB 2.0 port. There’s a USB 3.0 port added on the front. There are six indicator lights on top and an arrow-shaped mesh on top to release the heat.
You can also control this router using Google Assistant or Alexa, which is a major advantage here. Besides that, there’s also a D-Link WiFi app that allows you to set up, control and configure the device with ease. The application is pretty useful as it allows setting up multiple filters and parental controls with just a few taps.
The router runs on a dual-core processor, features 128MB of storage and 512MB of RAM. One of the key things that you must know about this D-Link device is that it doesn’t heat up as much as many of its competitors do. The cores run at low temperatures and keep the device functioning well all through the day.
All in all, a great (and budget-friendly) router for Optimum users, which works well with users of all plans. Be it the 1-gig plan, the 500mbps plan or the 300mbps plan, this router can adapt to your needs really well and is a very good choice indeed!
- Very sleek, minimalist design
- Fast connectivity speeds
- Great for gaming
- Doesn’t heat up
- Not too expensive
- Information over range unspecified
- No VLAN support
5. Best For Gaming: ASUS AC1900 RT-AC68U
The ASUS AC1900 is a ‘plug it and forget it’ sort of a router which is great when it comes to gaming. It is a budget-priced device meant for those users who want to get the most out of their Optimum internet connection for gaming and streaming on twitch.
With connection speeds of about 1900mbps, the ASUS AC1900 provides decent connectivity. The range, at 3000 sq. ft. is also pretty good for an average household. You might want to look for something with a higher range if you are looking across multiple floors, but for a single-floor home, this is a great option.
In terms of design, there’s nothing that separates it from the hundreds of other generic devices that we have seen out there. There are three antennae on this router which help extend the range across multiple rooms.
The router is powered by a 1GHz dual-core CPU, which ensures that WiFi and USB data are processed separately and each functions at its optimal capacity. There is 256MB RAM and 128MB flash storage on this device.
Setting up and managing this router is also pretty easy, thanks to the ASUSWRT web interface. There is also an ASUS router app, but don’t expect too much from it unlike some names such as Netgear’s Nighthawk X6SL that we’ve seen above.
This model is pretty safe to use as it has a vulnerability detection protocol built into it. It also supports voice commands from Alexa. It supports connecting over 30 devices, which makes it an ideal router for smart homes with a lot of IoT devices.
All said and done, we know that a lot of Optimum users get their 1-gig plans because they are looking for a great ISP for gaming. The ASUS AC1900 is just the right router for this purpose and it can solve all your gaming-related needs with ease.
You might also want to check out the AC1700 variant if you are ok with a cheaper, stripped-down version of this router.
- Great for gamers
- Doesn’t heat up too much
- Supports voice-based commands from Alexa
- Decent range of 3000 sq. ft.
- Pocket-friendly price point
- Connectivity quite poor across floors
- App could be improved
6. Best For 400Mbps Plan: Netgear Nighthawk R7000
If you are looking forward to buying a router to get the most out of your Optimum internet connection, but don’t want to spend too much on the Netgear Nighthawk X6SL, there’s another alternative from the same company for you – the Netgear Nighthawk R7000, which is much cheaper in comparison.
The device offers speeds of upto 1300mbps, which is good enough for users who don’t have heavy-duty usage. This router is great for streaming videos, checking out all your social networks, sending emails and getting some lightweight office work done.
If you are looking for a long-lasting performer for light usage, the Nighthawk R7000 is the router for you!
You also get decent coverage when you buy this Netgear router, as it covers about 1800 sq. ft. of area. This is good enough for a small to medium-sized household though we won’t suggest it if you want multi-floor connectivity.
Visually there’s nothing appealing about the device and it looks like any generic router would. This is a far cry from the other Netgear device on our list which looked straight-up alien tech. There are indicator lights and a USB 3.0 port on the front and all the other ports are on the back.
This sub-$150 router allows you to connect up to 30 devices to it, making it an ideal router for smart homes. Talking about ‘smart’ tech, there’s perhaps no app like that of Netgear which gives you an ultimate level of control over the router. Setting it up is very easy and so is configuring and controlling it.
When you buy this router you also get a 30-day free trial of ‘Netgear Armor’ which is powered by BitDefender. This keeps you safe against data theft, malware and virus-related thefts. The router is quite safe to use and supports WPA2 security protocols.
To sum everything up, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 is a great router for basic users, who want a Netgear router but don’t want to pay too much for it. This is particularly beneficial to the users of the 400mbps plans from Optimum. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it is a solid performer that will last you for years.
- Very easy to set up and control
- Keeps you safe against all threats
- Doesn’t heat up too much
- USB 3.0 port in the front is quite useful
- Durable and long-lasting router
- Coverage weak across floors
- Not for data-intensive tasks
7. Best Mesh Setup: Gryphon Guardian
If you happen to be looking forward to buying a mesh router, look no further than the Gryphon Guardian. This is one of the most affordable, entry-level mesh routers that you can get your hands on.
Performance-wise, great for a small home, but there’s a three-pack variant that you can purchase to spread your mesh network all over your home.
First up, the connectivity that it offers gives you speeds of only upto 550mbps, which is a let-down for users who need high-speed connectivity. This isn’t really suited for Optimum’s 1 gig internet subscribers. However, those on the 500mbps plan can use it, and it is best suited for those on the 300mbps plan.
The router covers an area of 1800 sq. ft. which, once again, is the same as the Netgear R7000 above it and is good for a small to medium-sized home. Don’t rely on it for coverage across floors.
Visually this is a very stunning router. It is a small white box that just blends right into practically any place you want to keep it. The router measures just 2x4x4 inches and doesn’t take up a lot of space. The absence of USB ports is, shocking, to say the least.
Another thing that really impressed us about the Gryphon Guardian router is that it has a really good app, perhaps the most intuitive of any router application that we have seen.
It is extremely easy to set up and gives you a lot of parental controls too. You can set up daily limits, bedtime, content filters, and even view the entire browsing history with the app.
This model is also quite useful if you want to set up a smart home. It also comes with a smart security system that prevents not only the router but all the connected IOT devices as well. It gets regular and automatic security updates from ESET, ensuring your safety at all times.
The visual appeal and the mesh network take precedence here. This is a great router if you buy a three-pack or use it along with other Gryphon devices over a large area, especially crowded apartments. However, if you are looking for something for a small home we’d suggest going for a regular router over a mesh network.
- Excellent app, very easy to set up
- Striking visual appeal with minimalist design
- Very secure to use
- Great parental controls
- Good RAM and Storage
- Can’t penetrate through floors
- No USB ports
8. Best With WiFi 6: TP-Link AX1800
Are you looking for a router under $100, but something that offers you a combination of speed, coverage and is rich in features? TP-Link WiFi 6 AX1800 is what you should go for then! It offers you a little bit of everything that you need. Power-users might consider the AX3000 or the AX6000 offered by the company.
While the connection speed that you get on this router is that of 1200mbps, it makes it good enough for users who don’t want too much out of their connection. If you are on the 500mbps or the 300mbps Optimum internet connection, we suggest that you go with this router.
One thing about this sub-$100 wireless router that really bothers us is that they have withheld way too many details about the router. They don’t tell you the exact range (calling it just a ‘long range’ router), they don’t tell you about the RAM and the storage either. Even when it comes to ports, the company is very hush-hush.
Visually, there’s nothing remarkable and it looks like pretty much any other router out there. There are four antennae that help boost the signals. However, what is inside this router is way better than what is outside, as it is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU, which is quite impressive and does not heat up at all!
This router is supported by Amazon Alexa, which is a pretty cool feature as it can be controlled by voice commands. There’s a TP-Link app using which you can set up, configure and control the router. Just like the router itself, there’s nothing exceptional about the app.
This is a WiFi 6 router, which TP-Link claims offers you upto 3x the speed compared to a regular WiFi router. The router also has you covered on the security front, as it is secured by the WPA3 standards. Sadly, TP-Link is again very vague on how many devices you can connect to this router but they claim it supports “4x more devices”.
To sum it up, this is a device that does everything that a basic router can, but doesn’t go beyond the basics. It is a great choice for users who wish to use it for lightweight tasks, but we strongly encourage heavy-duty users to go for a more power-packed router.
- Doesn’t cost too much
- WiFi 6 router offers high-speed connectivity
- Doesn’t heat up
- Lots of ports on the back
- Supports Alexa voice controls
- Does not provide information on the range
- Not meant for heavy-duty usage
9. Best For 300Mbps Plan: TP-Link AC1750
Are you looking for an award-winning router under $100 which promises you a smooth performance when it comes to the basics – browsing, streaming and mailing? Here’s yet another TP-Link device for you.
Featuring a connection speed of up to 1750mbps, the TP-Link AC1750 is a great router for budget users. At the price that it comes in at, this router can be used for gaming as well as 4K streaming – though an overdose of either of these might end up heating up the router, so watch out for that.
While TP-Link hasn’t made the range-related information public, multiple reviewers have put it somewhere between 130 to 141ft, which is pretty impressive given the price equation. Not recommended for homes with multiple floors though.
On the design front, once again, there’s nothing that really catches the eye. It is a standard router with indicator lights on the front and ports on the back. There are three antennae on the back of the router which help extend the range.
In addition to this, the router can also be controlled by just voice using Amazon Alexa. There are four LAN ports and one WAN port on the back of this router. There’s one USB 2.0 port as well. The USB port can be used to plug in a hard drive and use it as a media server to stream videos across devices.
The router can be controlled using the TP-Link mobile application too. Again, as pointed out in the review just above this, there’s nothing exceptional about the app. However, it is good enough to set it up and control it for all your basic needs.
This is a good substitute for the generic Optimum router if you don’t want to pay the monthly rental to the company but want a cheap and effective alternative. All three major plans from Optimum, the 1-gig plan, the 500 Mbps plan and the 300 Mbps plan can run smoothly on this router.
- Can be voice-controlled using Alexa
- Supports 4K streaming and gaming
- Priced under $100
- Can be controlled by app
- Decent range
- Tends to heat up
- Not great for inter-floor connectivity
10. Cheapest option: Tenda AC1200
Last but also the least priced router on our list comes from Tenda. This is the only sub-$50 router that we have reviewed. The Tenda AC1200 (AC6) is a great choice for you, if all you need is a backup router, just in case something happens to your main router.
This is a surprisingly good device for the price that it comes in at. The router supports connectivity speeds of upto 1.2Gbps while offering a connectivity range of up to 2000 sq. ft. This is a great router for medium-sized homes and can even provide inter-floor connectivity.
The router allows you to connect about 20 wireless devices to it, making it an ideal choice for people who live in smart-homes, as you can use this router to connect all your IoT devices while using the main router for your data needs.
The router features 3 Gig LAN ports on the back along with 1 WAN port. What is missing, however, is a USB port.
This is a standard dual-band router, but we strongly recommend using it only for the basics and to avoid heavy-duty tasks such as gaming or 4K streaming. Using it for prolonged hours causes the router to heat up very quickly and attain temperatures up to 40C.
For the price that it comes in at, the Tenda AC1200 really impresses us on the design front as it has got this very nice and angular design which gives it quite a ‘modern look. It blends well with most places where it has to be kept and adds to the overall aesthetics of the room.
This is a voice-controlled router too, thanks again to Amazon’s Alexa, as well as the Google Assistant. Besides the voice control, you also get quite a few parental control features in this router, such as the timeout feature and the ability to grant or block access.
Summing up, a device that punches far above its weight and can be used for all three plans that Optimum provides. Do consider it if you do not want to spend a lot of money on a router.
- Extremely inexpensive
- Supports network speeds up to 1.2gbps
- Can be controlled using Alexa and Google Assistant
- Good connectivity range
- Great for smart homes
- Heats up very quickly
- Short life span
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some FAQs regarding these routers:
Optimum is absolutely worth it in 2021! Their three main packages (1-gig, 500mbps and 300mbps) are great for all sorts of users. Optimum has a large fanbase among gamers and content streamers.
For office use, we suggest you get hold of the 1-gig plan from Optimum which costs $75 per month per year, as offices need a heavy-duty connection. As per the router, we strongly recommend going with the Nighthawk X6SL because of its reliable performance and safety features.
First off, it makes economic sense. Instead of paying $9.99 per month to Optimum, you should rather just spend it on getting your own router as that will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Besides that, the routers that ISPs provide are generally of a very average to inferior quality. When you buy one yourself, you can be assured that you are getting only the best products!
You must make sure that your needs will be met by the router. Are you looking for something that is only about the basics such as emails and browsing? Or do you want to stream 4K content? You must also consider the size of your house and the number of devices that you wish to connect before you buy a router for Optimum.
Summing it all up, here are our three best routers for Optimum users, based on their three different packages:
- The best router for Optimum’s 1-gig plan is certainly the Linksys WRT3200ACM– a combination of speed, power and security.
- The best router for Optimum’s 400mbps plan is the ASUS AC1900, which is a great all-purpose router and operates at stable temperatures!
- The best router for Optimum’s 300mbps plan would be the TP-Link AC1750 or Tenda AC1200. Both are as affordable as they can get while offering you extremely high levels of performance.
Optimum continues to be a great choice among gamers and streamers. However, to get the best possible speed from the Optimum, you’ve got to use an optimal kind of router too, which we hope this list has helped you choose!