Buying a modem or a router instead of renting it from your ISP has many advantages. People usually state money-saving as one of the most important advantages, but it’s not just about the money. It’s also about performance and coverage.
Our article about the best AT&T Fiber compatible routers is here to give you some insights into AT&T’s Fiber internet plans and renting policies. We will discuss the advantages of renting and the advantages of having your own modem/router.
In case you’re looking for a router compatible with your AT&T Fiber internet, scroll down and check out our selection of the best routers compatible with AT&T Fiber.
AT&T Fiber 101
AT&T is one of the biggest providers of fiber optic internet in the US. It is available across 21 states (Southern states, part of the Midwest, and California). It’s potentially available to 36 million people.
AT&T Fiber Coverage Map (source – AT&T)
AT&T has three fiber internet plans – 300 Mbps, 500 Mbps, and 940 Mbps (AT&T calls it Internet 1000). The prices are competitive – $35/month for Internet 300, $45/month for Internet 500, and $60 for Internet 1000. Have in mind that these prices do not include installation fees, taxes, equipment rental fees, or other services (TV, VoIP, etc.). Also, the prices apply only to those who agree to sign a 1-year contract.
You don’t have to sign a contract, which is definitely a plus, but you may have to pay more if you don’t sign it. Another good thing is that unlike AT&T’s DSL and fixed wireless internet plans, AT&T Fiber plans don’t have data caps – you get unlimited data with all plans and you don’t have to worry about outage fees.
AT&T Fiber Plans (Source – AT&T)
Regardless of the plan you subscribe to, you will get AT&T residential fiber gateway. Unlike other large internet providers (Comcast Xfinity, Verizon, Spectrum), AT&T doesn’t allow its customers to buy a compatible modem/router/gateway on their own and avoid monthly rental fees. So, even if you don’t want it, you have to pay the fee (which is $10/month). You will either get Pace 5268AC (older model) or BGW-210-700 (new model). Also, you can’t even buy the gateway from AT&T.
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According to the FCC report, AT&T Fiber offers a very reliable internet connection, and more than 80% of their customers had no complaints regarding the speeds or connection consistency.
As an AT&T customer, you will also get access to their wi-fi hotspots all over the US (30,000 hotspots in total).
Television Viewer Protection Act
This Act is an Amendment to the Communication Act of 1934. It was supposed to become effective in June 2020, but it was postponed by the FCC (partially because of the pandemic). It finally came into force in December 2020.
This Act was supposed to ‘’discipline’’ ISPs and force them to be more transparent, especially when it comes to billing and hidden fees. Section 642 (Paragraph C, Subparagraphs 1 and 2) of the Act is supposed to prevent ISPs from charging you rental fees in case you want to use your own equipment. That’s at least how we interpret this Act.
Section 642, Paragraph C of the Television Viewer Protection Act
However, that’s not how AT&T interprets it… Let’s discuss AT&T’s renting policy.
AT&T’s Equipment Rental Policy
As discussed, if you subscribe to AT&T Fiber, you get a residential gateway. Regardless of what the above-mentioned Act says, you can’t return the gateway and use your router, even if you’re only paying for the internet (and not for other services).
Since AT&T’s ONT isn’t much different from ONTs used by other ISPs, and you can connect your router directly to those other ONTs, we can only conclude that AT&T forces you to rent their gateway by introducing an authentication process. When the ONT is connected to the gateway, it verifies its MAC address, and if the address is right, it establishes an internet connection. If you connect your router directly, the ONT doesn’t recognize the address, and there’s no internet.
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There’re ways to connect an additional wi-fi router behind the gateway or to completely bypass the gateway, but you are still getting the gateway and you have to pay the fee. We will explain how to use your own router with AT&T Fiber in one of the following sections.
What Are the Good Things About Renting?
Well, the most important advantage is that you don’t have to worry about anything – you just have to pay. The installation is done by an AT&T technician, you can call customer support when there’s a problem with your wi-fi or internet connection, and you should get all the help you need. It’s less hassle – you don’t have to search for the right router for your internet plan, you don’t have to look for different ways to bypass the AT&T gateway or to connect an additional router behind the gateway.
What Are the Bad Things About Renting?
Well, the bad thing is that you have to pay that rental fee and that you can’t avoid it. You can ask the customer service to recommend you a router compatible with AT&T or you can ask them to sell you their gateway, but they will either ignore your requests or tell you that you can’t buy the router and that you have to rent their gateway. That’s their policy…
Why Should I Buy the Router on My Own?
Well, if you’re not an AT&T customer, you’re buying it to save money and get the same or better performance. If you’re an AT&T customer, you will not save money since you will have to rent the equipment. However, you can get better performance, better coverage, more adjustment and security options. These are the reasons to buy an AT&T Fiber compatible router.
How to Set Up Your New AT&T Fiber Compatible Router?
Setting up your router can be a little bit tricky, but it’s not rocket science. You have two options – connect the router behind the AT&T residential gateway or completely bypass the gateway. The first option is recommended if you’re paying for the bundle (not just for the internet). The second option is meant for those who only pay for the internet (but they can also use the first option).
OPTION 1 – Connect your router behind the AT&T gateway
You can’t just run one Ethernet cable from one of your gateway’s LAN ports to your router’s WAN port and get a connection. Why? Well, because your gateway is designed to work as a router, too. To make your router work, you need to change some settings. Putting the gateway into bridge mode would be the easiest solution but, unfortunately, AT&T gateway doesn’t have that option. So, here’s what you have to do.
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After logging into gateway settings, you have to turn off your wi-fi (Home Network tab) – just open the wi-fi tab and set SSIDs to OFF.
After that, you have to change IP passthrough settings. In the Firewall tab, click the IP passthrough subtab, and change the Allocation Mode to Passthrough.
Video Tutorial – How to connect your router behind AT&T gateway (BGW-210-700)
The above-explained method works on a new AT&T gateway (BGW-210-700). If you have an older Pace gateway, you will have to change some other settings (DMZ+ to be more specific). The video below explains how.
Video Tutorial – How to connect your router behind AT&T gateway (PACE – 5268AC FXN)
OPTION 2 – Bypass the gateway
If you opt for this solution, you will need your AT&T gateway, a dumb/unmanaged switch, and a router. First, you have to change the MAC address of your router’s WAN port to match the MAC address of your gateway. Once you find the MAC address of the gateway (it should be written on the box or you can find it in your gateway’s settings), connect your router directly to your PC/laptop, go to settings, find the option MAC clone (or something like that), and assign MAC address to your router (change it to match your gateway’s MAC). Once you do this, you can disconnect your equipment and turn everything off.
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The next step is to connect your ONT to the dumb switch (using Ethernet cable), and then connect the dumb switch to your AT&T gateway. You still don’t have to connect your router. Turn all your equipment on and wait for the authentication process to finish. Once the internet connection is established, you can disconnect the gateway and connect your router to the switch. Your router will get the same IP and DNS as your AT&T gateway, and the connection will be established in a minute or less.
If you need more info on this topic, check out this discussion.
Note: If the ONT or the switch you’re using loses power for any reason, you may lose the connection. In that case, you just have to repeat the steps we explained above (except for the MAC cloning).
Now that we have covered all the basic info and explained what to look for and how to set up your router, you can go through our selection of the best AT&T Fiber compatible routers and try to find something that matches your budget and internet plan. These are our favorite routers.
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Good Match for INTERNET 300
Looking for something really cheap? TP-Link Archer A6 is one of our favorite models under $50. TP-Link is, in general, one of our favorites, especially when it comes to affordable models.
The router support 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11 ac wireless standards. It doesn’t support the latest 802.11 ax, but you can’t really expect compliance with 802.11 ax at this price point.
The unit has four external antennas and delivers pretty great coverage. In our opinion, it should be good enough for houses of up to 1500 ft2. A6 has one WAN port and 4 Gigabit LAN ports. It has a WPS push-button for quick connection. The router has no USB ports, so you can’t connect your external HDD or a printer to it.
A6 is a dual-band router (2.4 and 5 GHz). You will get up to 300 Mbps on a 2.4 GHz band or up to 900 Mbps on a 5 GHz band. It supports MU-MIMO, which is supposed to improve the overall performance by allowing the router to handle multiple devices at the same time.
The unit can also be used in AP mode (Access Point), which allows you to share your internet with other wireless devices.
2. Best AT&T Fiber Compatible Router Under $100 – NETGEAR R6700AX
Great match for INTERNET 300 and INTERNET 500 plans
Looking for an affordable Wi-Fi 6 router under $100. Try NETGEAR R6700AX. It’s one of the best-performing wi-fi 6 routers on the market.
R6700AX is a simple-looking device with LEDs on the top and three external antennas on the back. The unit has 4 Gigabit LAN ports and one WAN port.
R6700AX is a dual-band router. It can reach 600 Mbps on a 2.4 GHz band or up to 1,200 Mbps on a 5 GHz band. The unit can cover up to 1,500 ft2. Since it’s a wi-fi 6 router, it supports all the latest technologies including OFDMA, MU-MIMO, 1024-QAM, and Beamforming. It can send 4 streams simultaneously. It runs on a powerful 1.5 GHz CPU.
When it comes to security, R6700AX supports WPA2 as well as WPA3 protocol. It has DoS Attack protection, and firewalls. If you are prepared to pay an additional monthly fee, you can also use the NETGEAR Armor, which is a special cybersecurity software designed by Bitdefender.
The unit comes with the Nighthawk app (iOS/Android). The app allows you to quickly set up the network, measure internet speed, adjust parental control, access your network remotely, create a guest network, etc.
Great match for INTERNET 300 and INTERNET 500
Archer A20 is an odd-looking tri-band router with 6 adjustable external antennas. According to the manufacturer, A20 is a great choice for gaming.
Archer A20 supports 802.11 ac standard. The max speed on a 2.4 GHz band is 750 Mbps. You can reach up to 1,625 Mbps on both 5 GHz bands.
The unit runs on a 1.8 GHz processor and has 512 MB of RAM. It supports MU-MIMO and Beamforming, which guarantees flawless performance when multiple devices are connected to the network.
Thanks to its 6 adjustable external antennas and range boost technology, the range and coverage are very good (up to 2,500 ft2).
The unit has 4 LAN and one WAN port. All LAN ports are Gigabit ports. You can also aggregate two ports (Link Aggregation) to get 2 Gbps. The router has two USB ports for connecting external storage and/or printer.
A20 features VPN server capabilities. Thanks to the SmartConnect feature, the router will automatically switch your wireless devices to optimal bands to deliver the best possible performance and fastest connection.
Like all TP-Link Archer devices, this one also comes with the TP-Link Tether app (iOS/Android), which allows you to configure the network and adjust all kinds of settings (parental control, guest network, etc.). The unit also comes with the TP-Link HomeCare software for additional protection.
4. Best AT&T Fiber Compatible Router Under $200 – ASUS RT-AX92U
Great Match for INTERNET 300
ASUS RT-AX92U is another odd-looking toy-like router. It is a wi-fi 6 tri-band router.
The unit has 4 external antennas on the top (+ two internal antennas) enabling the max coverage of 1,800 ft2. If you need better coverage, you can use the router with AiMesh compatible routers and extenders.
The router features one WAN port and four Gigabit LAN ports. On the side, there are two USB ports.
The max theoretical speed on a 2.4 GHz band is 400 Mbps, while the speed on a 5 GHz band is 867 Mbps. The max speed on a third 5 GHz band (when using compatible ax wireless devices) is 4,804 Mbps.
RT-AX92U runs on a powerful 1.8 GHz dual-core CPU. It supports all the latest technologies including OFDMA, MU-MIMO, and Beamforming, which significantly improve the overall user experience. The recommended number of connected wireless devices is 15. The router also supports IPv6 protocol and VPN.
RT-AX92U features support for WPA3, adaptive QoS. It has a double firewall, DoS attack protection, etc. It also comes with AirProtection Pro cybersecurity software.
Finally, the router comes with the Asus router app. You can use this app to monitor your network and adjust all kinds of settings including parental control, guest network, etc. You can also use the app to activate the Game Boost mode which optimizes performance to improve your gaming experience.
5. Best AT&T Fiber Compatible Router Under $300 – NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000
Great Match for All AT&T Fiber Internet Plans
NETGEAR XR1000 is a perfect choice for gaming. It is a dual-band wi-fi 6 router. It can transmit six simultaneous streams independently, and it’s powered by DumaOS 3.0 which, according to the manufacturer, reduces the ping significantly (up to 93%) and brings your gaming experience to a whole new level.
The unit runs on a super-fast triple-core 1.5 GHz CPU and has 512 MB of RAM. Like all wi-fi 6 routers, the unit features OFDMA, MU-MIMO, and Beamforming technologies. This means better overall performance, faster speeds, and a more reliable wireless connection. In addition, the router also supports VPN and advanced QoS.
XR1000 has four high-power external antennas. It also has 4 Gigabit LAN ports and one USB 3.0 port.
The router will provide you with impressive speeds, perfect for online gaming and 4K streaming. You will get up to 600 Mbps on a 2.4 GHz band. On a 5 GHz band, the max theoretical speed is 4.8 Gbps.
When talking about cyber-security, you should know that XR1000 features support for WPA3/WPA2 protocols. It also comes with a powerful NETGEAR Armor antivirus/antimalware software.
With the help of the Nighthawk app, you can adjust and monitor your wi-fi network. You can prioritize devices, create and modify your guest network, adjust parental control settings, etc.
6. Best AT&T Fiber Compatible Router Under $500 – ASUS ROG GT-AX11000
Great Match for All AT&T Fiber Internet Plans
GT-AX11000 is one of the most powerful, fastest, and most reliable wi-fi routers under $500. It’s perfect for online gaming, 4K streaming, or any other activity. You can even stream 4K videos and play games at the same time.
GT-AX11000 is a tri-band wi-fi 6 router. It runs on a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor and has 1 GB of RAM. The unit has 8 high-power external antennas and can cover even the largest homes. If that is not good enough for you, you can combine it with other AiMesh compatible routers and extenders. GT-AX11000 has one WAN port, four Gigabit LAN ports (with Link Aggregation support), and one 2.5G port (designed for improved gaming experience). The router also has two USB 3.1 ports for connecting external storage or printers.
Like other wi-fi 6 routers, GT-AX11000 features OFDMA, MU-MIMO, 1024-QAM, and Beamforming. All these technologies are designed to improve overall performance when multiple devices are connected to the same wi-fi network.
GT-AX11000 delivers impressive speeds. When connected to a device that supports 802.11 ax, you will get up to 1,148 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and up to 4,804 Mbps on each 5 GHz band.
ASUS wi-fi 6 Gaming Routers
The router has a few advanced features designed specifically for gaming. It has a game-boost button. You can prioritize devices or dedicate an entire band to certain devices. You can create your own gaming mesh network.
With the ASUS router app, you can configure, adjust, and monitor your wi-fi network, you can create and configure your guest network, and adjust all kinds of parental control settings.
The router also comes with the ASUS AirProtection antivirus software.
This is the end of our selection of the best AT&T Fiber Compatible Routers. Hopefully, it helped you understand the benefits of having your own router and find the right router for your needs. If you need more info, read the FAQs. If you need some additional clarifications or a piece of advice, or if you just want to share your experience with routers, leave us a comment below.
Q: Can you use your own router with AT&T Fiber?
A: Yes, you can. However, you also have to pay the rental fees. AT&T will force you to rent its gateway, even if you don’t want to use it and there’s no way to avoid that.
Q: Does NETGEAR work with AT&T Fiber?
A: Any router made by any manufacturer should work with AT&T Fiber. They are all compatible. However, not all routers support the same wi-fi speeds or have the same coverage. Also, they don’t all deliver the same performance. That’s why you have our list of best AT&T Fiber compatible routers to help you find the router that’s perfect for your internet plan.
Q: Do I have to use the AT&T router?
A: No, you don’t. But you do have to pay the rental fee and you will get the gateway. That’s AT&T’s policy. If you need instructions on how to bypass the gateway and use your third-party router instead of it, read the last chapter of the introduction.
Q: What is the best AT&T Fiber Compatible Router?
A: The answer to this question depends on many factors including your budget, your home size, the number of devices you want to connect to it, etc. For some suggestions, scroll back to our selection of the best AT&T Fiber compatible routers.
Q: How do I know if I need a new router?
A: If you’re happy with the speeds and range that your router delivers, you don’t need a new router. If you have an old router that can’t deliver the speeds that you’re paying for, then you might want to buy a new one. If the speeds are good, but the range is bad, you can try buying a wi-fi extender or a completely new router. Finally, if your router doesn’t work, then you definitely need a new one.