If you’re short on space, the tiny Motorola MB7420 is the best compact modem we tested. It performed well in our tests and is one of the most convenient cable modems due to some helpful details like the color-coded back panel, power button, included installation accessories and powerful user interface.
Like every other cable modem we tested, the Motorola MB7420 passed our testing without issues. It’s a 16 x 4 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem recommended for internet service speeds up to 300 Mbps, but it kept up with our four simultaneous tests on Comcast Xfinity’s 400 Mbps speed plan, which was performing above 400 Mbps during most of our testing. Still, if you’re subscribed to internet speeds above 300 Mbps, a cable modem with more channels like the Motorola MB7621 might be a better fit for your network. The MB7420 has maximum speeds of up to 686 Mbps downstream and 123 Mbps upstream, but modems rarely operate at max capacity, so it’s best to have plenty of room to make sure you get the speeds you pay for.
In addition to its satisfactory performance in our tests, the Motorola MB7420 has the advantage of being generally convenient and easy to use. While most modems are simple, set-it-and-forget-it kind of devices, the MB7420 has a few practical touches that make it a bit more user-friendly than average. The back panel of the modem is color-coded, and each port is clearly labeled to prevent you from getting your wires crossed. These ports include a power input, coaxial connection and Gigabit ethernet port. The back also houses the power and reset buttons, which can both be extremely useful. Only about a third of the modems we tested included a power button, which isn’t necessary for normal use, but it can spare you some trouble if anything goes wrong with your setup.
The coaxial and Ethernet ports are placed near the bottom of the back panel, which works well because the MB7420 is pretty light and this arrangement prevents it from being top-heavy and too easy to knock over. The modem needs to stand vertically with room around its ventilated side panels to prevent it from overheating.
Included in the box are a few small accessories to help streamline the modem’s physical installation. There’s a yellow Ethernet cable, a small wrench for tightening the coaxial connection and a cord strap for keeping things organized.
The Motorola MB7420 comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty, which is the longest term we found in our evaluations. Compared to Xfinity’s $11 per month rental charge, this modem can save you up to $186 over that two-year period. The modem is also protected against lightning and power surges. If you currently have an internet plan with speeds well below 300 Mbps, the MB7420 will both work great for you now and prepare your network in case you want to upgrade in the future.
The Motorola MB7420 is the best compact modem we tested, not only because of its capable performance at high speeds but also due to its overall convenience. It saves space but manages to pack a lot of useful features into its small frame that can make setup, use and troubleshooting easy.