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Choosing a new cable modem

Posted on 2013-01-07
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I want to buy a cable modem and stop paying a leasing fee. My current modem, provided by Time Warner, is a Surfboard SB5100. In order to anticipate future upgrades, I'm thinking I should get a better modem, even if it won't change current performance.

The SB5101 is the current equivalent model. There is also the SB6121 and SB6141.  The latter has the following description:

Internet download speeds up to 343 Mbps and upload speeds up to 131 Mbps based on your Cable provider service

Gigabit port to connect with router or computer

Docsis 3.0 with backward compatibility with 2.0 and 1.x

The SB5101 says:
When connected to a DOCSIS 2.0 cable network, capable of up to 30 Mbps upstream capacity

My question: any advice on any of this? I currently have 20Mbps service.
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Question by:Bruce Corson
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by:n2fc
n2fc earned 1000 total points
ID: 38752898
If you want future capability, with no guarantee that it will be used, go for the better modems...

If you just want to save money, use the least expensive that provides the level of service you will use now and stop paying the rent!

There is no guarantee that your ISP will upgrade their infrastructure to support the newer standards for faster speed, and if they do they might charge a premium for that service, which you might not wish to pay!
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garycase earned 1000 total points
ID: 38752947
A modem that's capable of higher speeds doesn't provide any benefit, since the speed you get is throttled by your provider to whatever you're paying for.     If you anticipate upgrading to higher speeds in the future, it certainly doesn't hurt to have the capability -- but the reality is that a SB5101 would be fine for your needs -- it can go up to 30Mbps, which is FAR faster than you likely have now [Note this limit is for UPSTREAM -- not downstream ... you say you "... currently have 20Mbps service ...", but I suspect that's your downstream rate.    The 5101 can do up to 38Mbps downstream.

HOWEVER, it IS true that a DOCSIS 3 unit can do FAR faster speeds => 343Mbs downstream, 131Mbps upstream.    Unless you have fibre, AND are willing to pay significantly more for your connection, it's unlikely you'll get any benefit from this => but at the same time there's no much difference in cost between the DOCSIS 2 and DOCSIS 3 units, so you may want to go ahead and spring for a SB6141.   But if your goal here is to save money, then I'd just go with the SB5101 -- it's very unlikely you'll ever need anything better.
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