Which modem should I get is one better then the other when it comes to wifi signal strength / latency/ping times and what about firmware ?
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What type of internet package are you on? Are you looking to upgrade to the Gigabit package?
The two modem are reflected on the internet package you're looking to be on.
Personal opinion at this point:
All of the CGN3 series and CGNM-3552 modems are equally lacking in terms of wifi. If wifi is really important, best bet is to run a third party router.
Latency: the problem with latency will get worse as the channel count goes up, so, the CGNM-3552 will suffer the most as it runs 32 channels. To address that, version 220.127.116.11/28 might be released fairly soon for test purposes for the CGN3ACSMR and CGNM-3552. Unless Hitron comes up with a newer version over the next few days, that .27/.28 version will probably only address the latency for IPV4 ICMP ping. That will provide a very good demonstration of what is to come for TCP/IP and UDP for both IPV4 and IPV6 and IPV6 ICMP ping. Those will probably not be addressed in that version. Hopefully they will be very soon.
Firmware: the CGN3ACSMR has the latest firmware version which is 18.104.22.168, released about one and a half weeks ago across the network. That hasn't been distributed to the CGNM-3552 just yet. It can be requested for the CGN3ACR and CGN3AMR.
A recent development in terms of wifi is a secondary wifi beacon that is running, as seen on both CGN3ACSMR and CGNM-3552. That appears to decrease the operating range of the wifi. Its on the list of items to address. So, if you have a CGN3, CGN3ACR and CGN3AMR with older firmware, you will probably see better wifi ranges at the present time.
Another very recent development are slow upload rates and disconnect issues with the CGNM-3552 which the engineering staff is looking at.
So, bottom line, at the present time, if you have a CGN3ACSMR, keep it. It will see the same firmware updates as the CGNM-3552 to address the latency issue. With fewer channels to process, an educated guess is that the SMR should be better in terms of latency. Keeping the SMR will avoid the present troubles with the CGNM-3552.
Hope this helps.
it sounds like the extra ssid beacon that has weakened the wifi
try the WiFi analyzer app from Playstore... it's free for android and gives you a good idea how strong the signal is anywhere in your home WiFi Analyzer