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Comcast Houston modem recommendations...

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January 29, 2013 4:19:52 PM

I am looking to see if anyone else from the Houston Metro area on Comcast is running their own cable modem instead of forking over $7.00/month for a 10 year old POS they have no intention of upgrading any time soon...

I'd like something reasonably trouble free, with good performance obviously. I am considering the Motorola Surfboard SB6120, but am not sure if it is worth it...

I know the cable company infrastructure varies from region to region which is why I am asking for Houston Texas area users. Just need to know what modems work with the stuff around here, and what problems to look out for...
January 29, 2013 4:33:30 PM

I would strongly recommend the MOTOROLA SB6121 over the 6120 -- from Newegg it is $80, so it would pay itself off in under a year and it is a much better modem than their baseline modem or the 6120. I put one in at my brother-in-law's place in Houston and he has Comcast, works great. I've also used that model on Suddenlink, Cableone and Roadrunner.
January 29, 2013 8:38:46 PM

Any reason for the 6121 over the 6120? The Amazon reviews on both models are mixed... I am a bit concerned about the heat on the 6121 though. That seems to be a common complaint.
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January 29, 2013 11:32:33 PM

Just my experience. I went through 4 of the 6120 in a year, went to the 6121 and no problems for almost two years now. I've used a bunch of them for others since and no problems.
January 30, 2013 1:40:15 AM

Wow... That's a pretty high failure rate. My first cable modem, an old Surfboard modem was swapped out when Time Warner / Roadrunner left this market and Comcast came in. Have had the same pile of junk modem since. Okay maybe not 10 years, but then again, maybe. I don't recall exactly. I know it has been at least 8... Way past time for an upgrade!

Seems like most folks go with Motorola although I have seen a few of the Cisco / Linksys DOCSIS 3.0 modems out there as well...

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January 30, 2013 12:43:18 PM
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dbhosttexas said:
I am looking to see if anyone else from the Houston Metro area on Comcast is running their own cable modem instead of forking over $7.00/month for a 10 year old POS they have no intention of upgrading any time soon...

I'd like something reasonably trouble free, with good performance obviously. I am considering the Motorola Surfboard SB6120, but am not sure if it is worth it...

I know the cable company infrastructure varies from region to region which is why I am asking for Houston Texas area users. Just need to know what modems work with the stuff around here, and what problems to look out for...



I work for Comcast, the SB6120 is fine now as long as your cmts has been through the wrong config ordeal and I know they have as they all have.
The general consensus over at www.dslreports.com is that while the moto modems are good they are overpriced, the zoom is around $20 cheaper and does the same things, as well as bonds to 8 channels last I read. Of course the sudden popularity in zoom modems may of caused them to raise their price by now too but you can pop in at the comcast [user not direct support] forum over there and see what the fans there think.
January 30, 2013 1:11:53 PM

The Zoom and the Motorola, depending on vendor, seem to be priced in the same range, one is higher than the other depending on who is having a sale kind of thing, but both are in the $80.00 range. With the 8 channel bonding of the Zoom, it is worth serious consideration. I have had zoom products in the very distant past, as I recall they made good stuff. But mind you, that was back in the days of 56K... (I may still have my old Zoom dial up modem in a box somewhere...)
January 30, 2013 1:34:33 PM

I almost only used Zoom during the later days of dial-up, didn't even know that they are around anymore.
January 31, 2013 1:17:18 PM

Might be worth looking into pretty seriously. Looking at the reviews, there are FAR fewer complaints about the Zoom than the Moto, or the Cisco / Linksys...

I honestly do fondly remember my Zoom 56K. It was a good piece of equipment for its day... I bet if I had a serial port on my PC any more, oh and an actual land line phone... I could hook it up and fire up KPPP and be able to dial something up right now...
February 1, 2013 6:23:31 PM

Okay just touching base here to let you know the status of this whole thing.
After the input you guys gave, and the reviews on Amazon, DSL reports, Best Buy, Broadbandreports, epinions, tiger direct etc... I came to a decision.

It wasn't that hard of a decision after reviewing the positive, and negative feedback from owners of both modems, taking astroturfing into account, there was a clear winner between the two.

Now the folks that complained about either of these devices were in the minority, but one of these devices had far fewer complaints.

Of the complaints I read about there were some standouts.

#1. Dropped connections. One modem over the other had a distinctly higher percentage of people complaining about dropped connections.

#2. Difficulty in setup. One modem over the other had a distinctly higher percentage of people complaining about difficulty getting the modem working at all.

#3. Thermal problems. One modem over the other had a distinctly higher percentage of people complaining about thermal issues.

#4. DOA devices. Both devices seemed to have about the same DOA device rate. Getting a brand new dead device is infuriating, but worth the risk possibly.

#5. Performance. One modem over the other had a distinctly higher percentage of people complaining about performance problems with the device itself.

The modem that had the higher percentage of negatives was the Motorola SB6121. The numbers on most issues were close enough to chalk up to a margin of error, but there was one issue of great concern to me.

The thermal issue. The others can be dealt with, you get a bad device, you send it back. Pretty simple, but a thermal problem can in the extreme stress test my insurance policy. No thanks. Now I know this is a long shot, and all electronics have the possibility of causing trouble, but I might as well go with the one with a reputation of handling heat better? The office with the cluster, the SAN, and the workstations can get hot anyway... But that's another, facility related project to fix that.

I went ahead and bit the bullet. I ordered the Zoom. 5341J from Amazon. The price was right ($72.99 + tax with free shipping). Although I don't have it yet obviously, if the reviews are correct I look forward to...

#1. Simple self service installation / configuration of my modem.

#2. Improved performance on my service tier.

#3. Elimination of the $7.00 month rental fee. This is important to me. Comcast hasn't always charged me a modem fee, and the fact this was added really ticks me off. Not to mention it's time to renegotiate my service tier and maybe bump up to the 50mbps service...

So wish me luck. If prior experience with the cable company is any indicator, I am going to need it...
February 2, 2013 2:32:11 AM

RealBeast said:
I almost only used Zoom during the later days of dial-up, didn't even know that they are around anymore.



Me either, I got screwed by the RPI [Rockwell Protocol Interface] on 56K zoom telephonics modem, it was software [on your computer] and not a hardware chip for the compression and never worked correctly making it an overpriced 28K modem.. :( 
February 2, 2013 5:58:27 PM

wacabletech said:
Me either, I got screwed by the RPI [Rockwell Protocol Interface] on 56K zoom telephonics modem, it was software [on your computer] and not a hardware chip for the compression and never worked correctly making it an overpriced 28K modem.. :( 


You are talking about a Winmodem. They offered / sold real honest to goodness hardware modems. I have been using Linux since Red Hat Linux 4.0 (not Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but the original version back in the 90s). I have always refused to use software modems... What a waste of time and money. All modem MFGs made that crap, wish they hadn't...
February 8, 2013 3:21:35 AM

Okay the Zoom 5341J is here and installed. So far the difference between the rented Ambit and this thing is night and day...

www.speedtest.net is acting up today, but I know it isn't my modem, or my ISP because I tried them from work today and they hung and just died out there too...

www.speakeasy.net shows my current speed test at 33.18 mbps down, and 3.74 mbps up. My test prior to swapping the modem out came in with 24.86 mbps down 3.28 mbps up.

The results from testmy.net are similar. Prior to swapping the modem out I got 20 mbps down, and 1.8 mbps up. Post modem swap I am getting 24.9 mbps down, and 3.6 mbps up.

Things definately seem snappier. So I am happy. I must admit though, I wasn't expecting this kind of an uptick because of a modem... But then again, who knows what the configuration Comcast had on their modem...
February 10, 2013 7:45:36 PM

Okay, I admit it, I had my service bumped up to the extreme 50. The new modem is nice, but the load I am putting on with streaming, downloading iso images, and other misc uses, I needed the extra speed. The result from speed testing has been pretty consistent though.



Funny thing is, I can see the results from Speakeasy.net come back super quick, but the result numbers show very low. No clue why...

But I get similar results from the Comcast speed test, speedtest.net, testmy.net etc...

And streaming to the computer, phone, and 2 set top boxes (DirecTV box in the bedroom, Wii in the living room) and all is smooth as glass...

I am a happy camper now.

Youtube is a bit choppy, but at this point, I am guessing it has to be on their end of things...
February 10, 2013 8:09:28 PM

Nice speed!

I am a little surprised that your ping is that high unless you ran it with a bunch of other open connections though. I get an average of 13ms (2ms jitter) to Dallas using pingtest.net on a connection that is a bit slower than yours.
February 10, 2013 9:05:47 PM

Actually you aren't the only one shocked that my ping is so high... I run a tracert speedtest.comcast.net and the hangup is at the Dallas TX comcast router. The response times out of that are horrific.
February 10, 2013 9:15:49 PM

If I had that U/L speed (mine is only 3Mbps) I'd have my free 50Gb box.com cloud spot filled with junk already from a few late night mass uploads. :) 
February 11, 2013 2:21:43 PM

Upload speed was one of the considerations. Looking into doing some offsite backup.
February 19, 2013 9:19:01 PM

Best answer selected by dbhosttexas.
September 5, 2013 12:25:20 AM

dbhosttexas said:
I am looking to see if anyone else from the Houston Metro area on Comcast is running their own cable modem instead of forking over $7.00/month for a 10 year old POS they have no intention of upgrading any time soon...

I'd like something reasonably trouble free, with good performance obviously. I am considering the Motorola Surfboard SB6120, but am not sure if it is worth it...

I know the cable company infrastructure varies from region to region which is why I am asking for Houston Texas area users. Just need to know what modems work with the stuff around here, and what problems to look out for...


You should check this out Motorola SB6121 vs SB6120 if you want to get a quick and easy answer to your question. The writer makes it very easy for ordinary folks to understand the difference between these two cable modems.
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