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Optimum Smart WiFi 6 Review 2024

Our experts weigh in on Optimum’s new modem/router combo with Wi-Fi 6 technology.

3x faster than Wi-Fi 5
Smart Wi-Fi 6
Max download speeds:
5,000 Mbps
Is 3 times faster than Wi-FI 5
Supports more square feet than Wi-Fi 5
Seamlessly switches between 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequencies
Optimum Gateway 6 appears to be dual-band rather than tri-band
Max download speeds:
5,000 Mbps
Is 3 times faster than Wi-FI 5
Supports more square feet than Wi-Fi 5
Seamlessly switches between 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequencies
Optimum Gateway 6 appears to be dual-band rather than tri-band

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Optimum Gateway 6 comes free with your internet plan

Altice USA’s Optimum Gateway 6 with Smart WiFi 6 technology is a cable modem/router combo. It comes with the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology to connect all the internet devices in your home.

For new internet customers, Optimum offers the Optimum Gateway 6 for free. And if your home is big enough or your Optimum technician recommends it, you can also get an included Optimum Extender to reduce Wi-Fi dead spots in your home.

This is a huge deal that will save you up to $13 monthly. If you’ve been thinking about switching to Optimum, now is the time! Check out our Optimum deals page to learn more about Optimum’s sign-on promotions.

Why you should trust us. Our experts have spent hundreds of hours researching Optimum and its competitors, comparing prices and surveying real customers to get the full picture. We then rated it on a five-star scale according to four essential criteria:

Editorial star rating: 3.60/5.00

Optimum Smart WiFi 6 provides faster internet

Optimum Smart WiFi 6 is the router technology that powers the Optimum Gateway 6. You can typically add it to your Optimum internet plan for $10 monthly, but Optimum occasionally makes it a free add-on for new customers.

Optimum Gateway 6 is a step up from previous Optimum modem/routers. The Wi-Fi 6 technology supports internet speeds up to three times faster than the previous Wi-Fi 5 tech, and the signal reaches further. The “smart” part of Smart WiFi 6 means the Optimum Gateway 6 automatically chooses which Wi-Fi frequency to connect your devices to so it can have the best signal.

To be more specific, the 5.0 GHz frequency provides a strong connection with nearby devices, and the 2.4 GHz frequency is better for devices further away from your gateway—but you don’t have to remember that because Smart WiFi 6 will do it for you.

We’ve seen complaints from some Optimum customers that the Optimum Gateway 6 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you’d rather get your own internet equipment, we can help you pick out an Optimum-compatible cable modem and Wi-Fi 6 router.

It’s always better to buy your equipment, rather than rent

Product Price* Device Max recommended speed
Optimum Gateway 6 Free Modem/router 940 Mbps Add to Optimum plan
NETGEAR Orbi CBK40 $230.00 Modem/router 940 Mbps View on Amazon
Motorola MB8600 $139.98 Modem 940 Mbps View on Amazon
NETGEAR AX5400 $169.97 Modem 940 Mbps View on Amazon

*Amazon prices effective 12/08/22 at 12:08 p.m. PT. Any price and availability information displayed on at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. utilizes paid Amazon links.

If you rent the Optimum Gateway 6, you’ll pay $10 per month for your internet equipment. While Smart WiFi 6 is cutting-edge technology (and you’ll have access to 24/7 tech support), renting adds up over time.

To save a bit of cash, you can buy your internet equipment instead. While Optimum doesn’t sell the Gateway 6, you can easily find other modem/router combos or go for both a modem and router separate. To learn more about the pros and cons of each third-party option, check out our Modem vs. Router article.

If you’d like to learn more about the alternative modems and routers recommended above, check out our article on Best Optimum-Compatible Modems.

Optimum Wi-Fi can be unreliable

Overpriced, slows down a lot, often goes out of service. [I] constantly have to boot the modem.

Optimum customer

Optimum didn’t rank very well in our 2024 Customer Satisfaction Survey, with an overall satisfaction of just 52%. This placed it 22nd out of 25 internet providers.

If you have the choice between Optimum and a better provide, we recommend ditching Optimum. Unfortunately, Optimum is the only option in a lot of its service areas, so you may be stuck with them.

Is there a better option for your home?

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Optimum Smart WiFi 6 features

  • Price: Free
  • Modem: Unclear—probably DOCSIS 3.1
  • Router: Wi-Fi 6
  • Recommended internet plan: Internet 1 Gig

We wish Optimum spent less time patting itself on the back about how amazing Smart WiFi 6 is and spent more time giving us the meaty details on Optimum Gateway 6. Even after scouring the internet for days, this is all the info we could find.

A square, white box next to a tall black device.
Image courtesy

Optimum Smart WiFi 6 setup

For $99, you can get Optimum’s standard installation, during which your technician will install your Optimum Gateway 6 with Smart WiFi 6 and set up only one device on your new wireless network.

Suppose you don’t feel comfortable connecting your other devices to the internet. In that case, you can spring for the $149 premium install, where your technician will install your Optimum Gateway 6, use an ethernet cable to hardwire one internet-ready device, and wirelessly connect all the other available devices.

But if you’re tech-savvy, you can install your Optimum Gateway 6 (or your own choice of modem) all by yourself. Just head over to Optimum’s Modem Self-Install page and follow the prompts.

Is Optimum Smart WiFi 6 worth it?

Optimum Smart WiFi 6 is a big step forward for Optimum’s equipment technology. You’ll get much better speeds over Wi-Fi than you would with the old equipment, and you won’t have as much trouble with dead spots in your house.

But if you’d rather pay an up-front sum to own your internet equipment, there are plenty of Wi-Fi 6 routers and Optimum-compatible modems on the market.

Optimum Smart WiFi 6 FAQ

Is Wi-Fi 6 worth it?

If you’re paying your internet provider for gigabit speeds (940 Mbps), you may notice your Wi-Fi speeds improve with a new Wi-Fi 6 router. But if you’re not having any trouble with your Wi-Fi, or you pay for low internet speeds to start with, you should be fine sticking with your old Wi-Fi 5 router.

How do I get Wi-Fi 6?

If you want the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, you’ll need a new router with Wi-Fi 6. If you’re an Optimum customer, talk to Optimum customer service about upgrading to the new Optimum Gateway 6, which comes with Smart WiFi 6 technology.

Or, you can just buy your own new router with Wi-Fi 6. We’re fans of the NETGEAR Nighthawk 6-Stream AX5400, but there are plenty of other options out there.

Do I need a new modem for Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest router technology, so you’ll need to get a new Wi-Fi 6 router to use it. It will work just fine with your old modem, though, so unless you have a modem/router combo, there’s no need to get a new modem.

To learn more about the differences between modems and routers, see our Modem vs. Router article.

What does the 6 mean on my Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest standard for wireless router technology, also called 802.11ax. It’s about three times faster than the previous generation of Wi-Fi technology.

The previous Wi-Fi technology was called 802.11ac—but no one wanted to keep track of those messy numbers and letters anymore, so folks in the industry went back and renamed that old tech Wi-Fi 5.


For this article, we spent three days hunting down any information we could find on the Optimum Gateway 6, then kept an eye out for more information in the months since publication (it’s still crickets from Optimum on the technical details). We combined what little we could find with our expert modem and router knowledge to help readers decide if the device is the right one for them.

For more on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

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