Question about
ryan

September 1st 2011 1:12 am

What's the best DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem?

After a recent thread I posted on Twitter (where I proposed restarting my crappy rental Ubee cable modem every morning in the wee hours by using a cheap electrical outlet timer) a bunch of smart folks put a bug in my ear: maybe I should just go big and buy my own damn DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem for a change. Okay, deal.

My requirements are pretty simple: I'd like something that supports at least four bonded channels upstream and downstream, and I'd be super happy if it was bulletproof when it comes to crashing and needing restarts. I don't want built in wireless, routing, switches, or anything like that -- just looking for a straight up rock solid DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem.

So, what's good?

P.S. -We'll bring up a cable modem category soon, promise.
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ryan's pick
bronsthermonstr

SB6121 has been getting me 20Mbit on a Comcast tier that's only supposed to get me 12-15Mbit. Don't recall having rebooted it in the 3 months I've owned it. Comcast has a list of recommended modems and the 6121 rated highest DOCSIS3.0 compatibility. Here's the list: mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/
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nickb64

not totally sure if it meets all your requirements, but I've heard good things about the Motorola SB6120. I saw it recommended on another forum, and the person who got it followed up and said that while his speeds didn't increase by much if at all, it was far more stable than his modem from Comcast.
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23 more answers
mshulman

Fry's has the Motorola SB6121 on sale for $89.99 through tomorrow:
www.frys.com­/product­/6726555­?site­=sr:SEARCH:MAIN­_R...

Info on the modem is here: www.motorola.com­/Video­-Solutions­/US­-EN­/Products­-an...
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frankspin

When I still had Comcast I was getting ready to buy my own modem for the same reasons you mentioned. In the research I did I found that the SB6120 was the preferred modem of choice for people on Comcast who needed DOCSIS 3.0. Every review I read mentioned the change in stability of the connection and consistency in the speeds.
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fourblades

Been using Arris WBM760 and it's been wonderful. Haven't had to restart it other than when Comcast was down in our neighborhood. Didn't want multi function too in case if I want to upgrade the router.

Just noticed, it's not yet added here.
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sirtwist

I've been using a Motorola SB6120 for a while and it's been really rock solid. From what I understand the SB6120 can be bonded to four channels, so I think it should meet your requirements.
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userd40ad11b74f

I have the SB6120. The performance is quite impressive and I have never needed to restart it. I previously had an older Motorola and my ping times dropped from a respectable 25ms to an incredible 4ms.
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sirris101

Thumbs up for the Motorola SB6120. Have had it well over a year and have never had a problem. It's also now running without issues on the 100mbps tier. Only thing I ever have to restart is my router (not the cable modem)! I should add-- it works with four channels!
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clauretano

I've used the Cisco DPC3000 and the Motorola SB6120, both with actual DOCSIS 3 cable service. I'm sure on here people are more educated about it, but on other sites it was clear many people thought buying a DOCSIS 3 modem would give them magic speeds, beat caps from their cable companies, etc.

I'm using the Motorola right now, and love it. The Cisco worked fairly well too, easily achieving my rated 100Mbps speed when tested, but I did have to restart it several times a year. The Motorola has been rock solid for a bit over 4 months now.
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acaurora

The SB6121 is the newest Motorola SurfBoard that I"ve seen, at least at local electronics stores. Comcast does support it.
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smring

The Motorola 6120 and 6121 are the most popular ones i see. Working for an ISP in California, i can tell that while these new DOCSIS 3.0 modems obviously support channel bonding, your ISP may require you to be on a tier of service that requires bonded channels. Without that you may or may not see a speed increase on your current tier of service. I have seen both instances; a customer will opt for a 15 Mbps service, and with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with bonded channels will see upwards of 30 Mbps maybe more. I've also seen the opposite. My recommendation would be to check with your ISP first and see if they require you to have a certain level of service to have multiple channels bonded.
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Ty2Runr

I've used the Motorola Surfboard SB6120 for almost a year now with absolutely no problems.
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darrenhoward

Another vote for the Motorola SB6120. HAs been flawless for me as well.
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furkman

I upgraded my cable modem from an older Motorola surfboard to the model - SB6120 and my stability has been great. I did not check my speed before and after but as for all ways on and not rebooting it has been working great for me for over 9 months.
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safaridan

I've got a Motorola SBG6580 (which has wireless built-in, but I turned it off) provided by Time Warner Cable in NYC. I haven't had to restart it since getting it last May, and it gives me amazing throughput (a consistent 50 mbit down, 4+ mbit up). It may be a bit more than you're looking to spend and have features you don't want, but it's pretty damn rock solid if you ask me...
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Fanfoot

A bit off topic, but as I also used a cheap digital timer to reboot my router, I thought it worth mentioning that 3Gstore.com has a product that does this one better:

3gstore.com­/product­/2062­_ip­_power­_remote­_switch.ht...

No I'm not shilling for them, its just a simple product that does one thing well and is easy to set up. Yes it might be more money than you want to spend. It pings the internet and pulls power temporarily if it can't be reached. It has two power sockets. It is trivially easy to set up.
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wbengtson

Been looking at the Cisco DPC3000 Cable Modem
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skiphdp

I have been using the ubee provided by Time Warner and it works just fine. You do need to uncheck "ip flood" protection in the settings or it will choke when using just a couple tabs with something loading in each tab.
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grayman66

I am surprised to hear that "Ryan Block" of Engadget and gdgt fame is still using the "crappy rental Ubee cable modem." Like most everyone else here I recommend the Motorola SB6120. I have had for nearly a year after I had to retire my 7 year old Linksys DOCSIS 1.1 cable modem. I did not stay with Linksys because the SB6120 had more higher ratings on Amazon at a better price. It has worked very well.
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sebastianp

Currently most DOCSIS 3.0 modems have the ability to bond 4 channels downstream and upstream. However, some providers are now beginning to try bonding 8 channels down and maybe 3-4 channels upstream. The Motorola modem that supports 8 down is the SB6180. Not sure if any other do. You will have a hard time finding a SB6180 though as they are not really available yet as far as I know.
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mark

Great results with both the Cisco DPC3000 and Motorola SB6120 with Comcast. Note I tried the SB 6121, but I have a long Ethernet run from my modem to my router and the SB6121 couldn't manage it (link showed as down on both ends) while the SB6120 and DPC3000 both can, so heads up on the SB6121. Of note between the DPC300 and SB6120...the SB6120 has a web-based interface that includes a restart option...whereas the DPC3000 does not...helpful if you need to restart it remotely. Also, while the SB6121 has newer hardware, it runs the same firmware image as the SB6120.
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joxman

I have the Motorola SB6120 and it is great. When I upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0 my downstream cable modem signal went from 5 megs to 20 megs without me upgrading service with Comcast. My old modem was a combined modem/WiFi router, but this time around I separated the two and now I hang a Linksys off the Motorola. Setup was a bit more complicated (as are things like my Slingbox and Ooma through the modem plus router setup, but I get much better signal strength from the WiFi.
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evlnte

I got the Motorola SB6120 at Costco for $79 and it is pretty solid and small enough to wall mount. I moved recently and dropped it 3 times. The thing is still working. Had notoriously bad upstream power levels at my house and it still held a 20mbit connection (recently resolved with better connectors in wall plates). My only wish is that they had the eMTA already from Motorola so I can have a landline fax.
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rim1112

Recently decided to upgrade from my SB5120, which I've been using for 4 or 5 years and doing very well, but I knew that the DOCSIS 3.0 systems were starting to prevail on my local ISP (Cox), so I bought a SB6121. Before I installed it, I verified my UL/DL speeds on two different sites with both my hardwired PC desktop and a wireless Ipad2, both connected thru my trusty old WRT54GS router. Both sites, InternetFrog and the Cox speedtest site, showed 27-30 DL and 5-6 UL speeds, consistently over several runs. These were consistent with tests run on earlier days. After the install of the SB6121 with the ISP tech on the phone, these tests were repeated and only yielded 15-18 dl and 4-5 ul. The dl channel indicated that it was bonded on the modem, but not the ul channel. I asked the tech to swich me back to my old modem andI reinstalled it. The higher speeds returned and I left the old modem inline. The tech said she had never heard of slower speeds on a DOCISIS 3.o over a 2.0 modem and could not explain why this was happening. I also have no clue why this is happening but my ("conspiracy theory" ;-) ) theory is that the DOCSIS 3.0 modem is being rate capped (denied by the tech) by the ISP, possibliy because the DOCSIS 3.0 modems offer that capability to the ISP's (???) where the older 2.0's don't?? Anybody know for sure? My 'plan' is a 15 mbit d/l plan. The tech agreed I was better to just stay with the older, faster, DOCSIS 2.0 modem., but I know there is a reason this is hapopening and I would appreciate any ideas out there. Thanks.
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UpTowner

I recently switched to Comcast and bought a Motorola SB6121. I signed up for 3Mbps with Comcast and I am getting just over that with every speed test. Much better than the the service I got with ATT, I am very happy with Comcast thus far and the equipment.

Here is a list of other top rated cable modems.
www.elite­-lists.com­/2013­/07­/ComcastApproved­-Compat...
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