The Netgear CM500 is a good option if you want to replace the cable modem you currently lease from Comcast. Comcast customers can self-activate this modem, which means you can connect to the internet without navigating the endless menu options associated with a service call to customer support.

The CM500 is compatible with most major cable providers in the U.S., including Comcast, Cox, Spectrum and Cablevision. Spending the extra money to get a high-speed modem instead of a basic modem like the Arris SB6141 is a good idea for people who stream HD video, play online games or download large files. This high-speed modem can potentially save you $50 in the first year of ownership compared to renting a slower modem from your current cable internet provider.

This high-speed cable modem features 16 x 4 channel bonding, which means it has 16 downstream data channels and four upstream channels. This translates to a maximum theoretical download speed of 686 Mbps and an upload speed of 132 Mbps.

The vertical-standing CM500 has a narrow profile and small footprint, so it fits nicely behind other components to save valuable shelf space. Its lack of power switch means that you have to unplug the power supply to reset the modem. This design flaw is an inconvenience more than anything, but we felt it was worth noting. Also, the power supply input is located near the top of the back panel, so take care when you unplug it to reset the modem – because the modem is so narrow, it is easy to tip over when you access the back panel. If either of these are deal breakers for you, check out the better-designed Motorola MB7420.

The front panel has five LED status indicators:

  • Power: Green LED indicates power is supplied. Red LED indicates the modem is too warm and might overheat.
  • Downstream: Amber LED indicates one downstream channel is locked. Green LED indicates that more than one downstream channel is locked.
  • Upstream: Amber LED indicates one upstream channel is locked. Green LED indicates more than one upstream channel is locked.
  • Internet: Green LED indicates the modem is online.
  • Ethernet: Green LED indicates a device is connected to the Ethernet port at 1000 Mbps. Amber LED indicates a device is connected to the Ethernet port at either 10 or 100 Mbps.

Netgear provides a one-year warranty with the CM500, which is standard for cable modems. Should you have any trouble, you can contact the company’s support team through phone or email. You can also talk to Netgear's support representatives via live chat, which is a great way to get information quickly.

The Netgear CM500 is the best replacement modem for Comcast subscribers who have a plan that offers speeds of more than 150 Mbps. It is compatible with all the major cable providers, but if you are a Comcast customer, you don’t have to call the customer service department to activate your modem.

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