Your internet connection is only as fast as the slowest piece of equipment in your network. If you feel like you're not getting the speed you pay for with Optimum, one of the first things to do is find the weakest link and look for ways to improve it. Getting the speeds you need is possible whether you need to simply restart some equipment or need to look at upgrades.
Products used in this guide
- DOCSIS-compatible speed: Netgear Cable Modem CM1000 ($190 at Dell)
- Support Optimum 1 Gig: TP-Link Archer AX50 ($150 at Dell)
Find the weakest link
Your internet connection needs to make it through quite a few pieces of equipment before it can reach your connected device. Typically, it starts at the modem, goes to the router, and then to your device's network adapter. Your connection can only ever be as fast as the slowest link in the chain.
If your Optimum connection isn't living up to your expectations, start by finding the weakest link.
- Check your bill to find out how fast your connection should be. This will be shown in Mbps. 1 Gig service will max out at 940Mbps.
- You can search "speed test" on Google or visit speedtest.net.
- Try to run the test in an ideal scenario such as in the same room as the router on Wi-Fi or connected directly via Ethernet.
- Check other common areas
- Compare your speed to what you pay for
In an ideal world, you will always get your maximum connection speed but in reality, you should be within a few Mbps. If you are getting what you pay for in all areas, it may be time to upgrade your package. Optimum 300 can deliver speeds up to 300Mbps and should be more than enough for 4K streaming and browsing. If you plan to do a lot of downloading, a faster package will be useful.
Internet usage is becoming a bigger part of everyone's life all the time and with many people working and studying from home, you may have simply outgrown your previous internet speeds.
Restart your modem
One of the first things to try if your connection isn't working properly is a restart. Internet service providers will send the required configuration information to your modem automatically and in an ideal world, the configuration will be applied without you even noticing anything happened. One tried and true way to resolve this is by restarting your modem. If your router isn't connecting to the internet afterward, you may need to restart that as well.
To restart your modem, simply unplug it for a minute or so. While you're back there, check to make sure your coaxial cable is properly tightened and make sure all cables are in good condition without fraying or exposed wires. Plug your modem back in and wait a few minutes. It can take a while to reconnect so try to be patient.
Once everything has started up, test your connection again.
Get more out of your Altice Gateway
When you sign up for service with Optimum, you'll have the option of receiving an Altice Gateway. Named for Optimum's parent company, this provided modem and router combination is one of the easiest ways to get online. For $10 per month, you can get connected with Wi-Fi and 24/7 tech support from Optimum. The price can add up but for many, the ease of use and access to support will be worth it.
If you are happy with the gateway but need more coverage, you can add Smart Wi-Fi Extenders called Xtend directly from Optimum. One Xtend can be added for free with 1 Gig service, with additional Xtends costing you $3 per month. It's a decent solution but likely won't hold up the kinds of speeds an enthusiast demands for gaming or heavy usage, but to get a few devices online in the far reaches of your home, it's a solid option.
Upgrade your equipment
If you prefer to own your own equipment and are comfortable with the extra setup that comes with it, there are a lot of options to get online. You can use your own DOCSIS cable modem to get connected to your service. You will need to go through some extra setup with Optimum to get it connected but as long as you get one that supports DOCSIS 3.1, you should be able to access Optimum's full speed.
If you are one of Optimum's fiber-optic customers, this modem will not work for you. You will need to contact Optimum for modem options.
Once you have your modem sorted, you'll need a router. The type of router you need depends on how you plan to use your internet. If you just want to browse the web, use social media, and watch streaming videos, a mesh system is going to be a great way to get connected without needing a big router. Most mesh solutions will use smaller units that form a web of coverage with one Wi-Fi name. If you want more speed and capacity out of your mesh, Wi-Fi 6 options are available at a premium.
Of course, a traditional single router is a great option for people with a small to medium-sized home. These routers are often cheaper than a comparable mesh system and tend to have more options for wired connections. A wired connection will nearly always be faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi so running a gaming PC or console on an Ethernet connection can help quite a lot, especially if you have a lot of other Wi-Fi users in your area.
Finally, Wi-Fi 6 is the newest generation of Wi-Fi and offers many improvements over the previous generation of 802.11ac systems including more consistent coverage, improved latency, and faster speeds. Only the newest high-end gadgets support Wi-Fi 6 so it's likely that your older devices will still utilize 802.11ac but a Wi-Fi 6 router still gives you room to grow.
Our top equipment picks
If you want to get everything out of your fast Optimum connection, you'll need a modem and a router that can deliver those speeds to your devices.
1 Gig Modem
Get the speeds you pay for
The Netgear CM1000 is a great option to get the full 940Mbps available with 1 gig service thanks to 32 downstream channels.
Fast and consistent
Plenty of speed for your gigabit connection
The Archer AX50 is a great Wi-Fi 6 value with plenty of 5GHz speed for your gigabit connection and support for future devices.
Fill in coverage gaps
If you need a boost in coverage or have a home that blocks wireless signals, a mesh solution can help you get covered. Whether you're looking for just enough to use comfortably or want your full gigabit connection all over your home, there's an option available.
Eero 3-pack ($249 at Amazon)
Eero is one of the easiest mesh systems to use with a fast setup and plenty of speed for most people and easy expansion.
Asus RT-AX92U ($399 at Amazon)
AX6100 tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system keeps your internet fast even when connected to a mesh node with this fast Asus router.
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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.