Advice requested in choosing between DOCSIS 2.0 and 3.0 modem on TWC

Discussion in 'Networking' started by LxMxFxD4, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. LxMxFxD4

    LxMxFxD4 Senior member

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    As a lot of people will report, time warner is now charging a cable modem fee for all new customers or customers who change plans (like I have). Its only $2.50/month in my case ($4 in nyc I hear) but its enough that it made me start researching cable modems.

    I'm posting this here because i've read in multiple places that getting a DOCSIS 3.0 modems can (not necessarily will, but can) decrease latency and also allow you to exceed network speed limitations set by your cable company (in my case time warner cable) versus the standard cable company's free/leased DOCSIS 2.0 modems.

    My plan with time warner is Turbo which here in Austin, TX is 20Mbit / 2Mbit with a Cisco e3000 running DD-WRT.

    I've never had any serious issues with my current DOCSIS 2.0 modem, a Cisco DCP2100, and (knock on wood) TWC has been a great ISP for me over the years. Network latency seems fine (22ms or so to google) and when I go to work where my internet connection is 300Mbit / 300Mbit+ (in a datacenter) the latency is slightly less than at home but I don't feel a difference when playing TF2, for example.

    So my questions are:

    1) Is it really possible to exceed time warner limits with a docsis 3.0 modem? See here:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R29HRUMIR7OMVI
    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r23953208-Docsis-3-modem-for-lower-tier-useful
    2) Will DOCSIS 3.0 modem reduce latency on my turbo level service?
    3) My cable modem choices are pretty limited to only an approved list from time warner as follows:

    Motorola SB6121 $80 @ newegg (4 channel bonding, DOCSIS 3.0)
    Motorola SB5101U $20 used on ebay/cl or $55 new (DOCSIS 2.0)
    Cisco SPC2100 for $2.50/month (DOCSIS 2.0)

    Which modem would you pick?
     
    #1 LxMxFxD4, Oct 20, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
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  3. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    If you just need a Modem then the Motorola is probably a good choice.

    However many people need Modem/Telephony if they have Tel. service as part as the package.

    Unfortunately those that are approved by TWC are Wireless Router too.

    They are expensive, and are Not a decent substitute to the Good End-Users Wireless Routers.



    :cool:
     
  4. LxMxFxD4

    LxMxFxD4 Senior member

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    Jack,

    No phone service so its all good and I can choose between the modems. Still trying to verify whether docsis 3.0 will help.
     
  5. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    You will have to try or find someone in your neighborhood that uses docsis 3.

    TWC level of performnace and the hadware that comes to clients homes varies among locations. In most places Docsis 3 will not do much to improve the level of the connection.


    :cool:
     
  6. KillerBee

    KillerBee Golden Member

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    With Comcast I was getting around 12 Mb/s download with a DOCSIS 2 Motorola Surfboard Modem.
    Upgraded to the SB6121 and now get 22 Mb/s download.
    The upload speed stayed the same at @4.5Mb/s but I think that's tied down to my plan.

    Above is from speedtest.net
    In real life according to Firefox download speed...say I'm downloading the latest Centos6.3 ISO
    before was lucky to get 1.4 MB/sec ..now get around 2.0MB/sec

    PS unfortunately still get my butt kicked at BF3 no matter how fast
    but I like to blame my shitty GTS250 for this :)
     
    #5 KillerBee, Oct 20, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  7. LxMxFxD4

    LxMxFxD4 Senior member

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    What is the supposed download limit of your plan? And do you consistently see download speeds exceed that?
     
  8. KillerBee

    KillerBee Golden Member

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    I'm under their Perfomance plan which according to their ads means:
    Get download speeds up to 20 Mbps and uploads up to 4 Mbps with PowerBoost®!

    This is pretty much agrees with what speedtest shows.

    So using the Docsis 2.0 modem I wasn't maxing it out and somehow upgrading to the DOCSIS 3 modem gave me almost twice the download speed without having to upgrade the plan.
    Maybe it's something to do with binding channels???

    PS I have noticed I drop my connection a lot more with the new modem
    (once a week vs hardly ever with the old Surfboard 2.0 Modem)
    but it's turned out to be my own very old Netgear router every time and rebooting it fixes it.

    Hopefully if I upgrade that too (someday) it will resolve that problem
     
    #7 KillerBee, Oct 20, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  9. ch33zw1z

    ch33zw1z Lifer

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    Go with the DOCSIS 3, future proof now, save later.
     
  10. LxMxFxD4

    LxMxFxD4 Senior member

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    Thanks for all your help. I'll try to find a deal on the one docsis 3.0 modem i can buy. Its $80 so pretty steep considering it would take almost 3 years to pay it off. But if d/l speeds and pings are better, i'll get on that.

    Thanks again everyone.
     
  11. ch33zw1z

    ch33zw1z Lifer

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    You're operating under the impression the ISP won't raise the lease rates. Comcast almost tripled mine in three years. up to $7/month made me go get a SB6120 from the FS/FT forum
     
  12. smangular

    smangular Senior member

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    Agreed, why not buy a model that will last. I believe current DOCSIS 3 modems support at least 150 Mbps depending on channels...
     
  13. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    LOL, I guess that some guys came to Earth from Vulcan few days ago and they are Not aware that Vulcan Logic does not work in the 21st Century on Planet earth.

    Give me few example of I level hardware that you bought for Big money under the Future-proof logic and it is still state of the Art saving you money.


    :cool:
     
  14. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    I'm interested in this too, because when I upgraded plans, TWC replaced my free DOCSIS 2 modem with a $10/mo DOCSIS 3 model with built-in router and WiFi. I have my own wireless router, and rather not pay $10/mo.

    What they are giving me for the $10/mo is a Motorola SB6580. I've had to power cycle it maybe once every other month, but the old stuff just worked.

    Well, for $80, if it can last a year I'd be money ahead. Some of the end user reviews scare me though, because I'd hate to have to power cycle it weekly.

    I'm wondering though... for those who think they have to power cycle the modem... if they've tried power cycling their router instead?

    You'll want to upgrade that graphics card soon, because I hear it is much more rewarding to blame your shitty mouse for getting your butt kicked in BF3. :p

    J/K. It really is the mouse pad, not the mouse. :whiste:
     
  15. ch33zw1z

    ch33zw1z Lifer

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    So what are you trying to say, Jack?
     
  16. Cabletek

    Cabletek Member

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    1. No it is not, what you will get is a larger powerboost for the initial part of a download, and it will show on speedtests such as the one from spedtest.net, but the modem is assigned a config file and after that short "boost" it will peg right back to what it is told to use which will be exactly what you pay for unless someone sent you the wrong config file. This is how DOCSIS [for modems, STB's are different somewhat] works.

    2. Not likley it is possible you current modem is on an impaired frequency and you lock in to a different one on the new modem but its pure luck not an effect of having a D3 modem. If anything overhead is added for channel bonding and load management. Are you having latency problems?

    3. Only 2 modems on the approved list? That does not sound right. But it is, except its the 6141 on my page not 6121.

    http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/r.../topics/internet/buy-or-lease-your-modem.html

    Better look into that before you plunk the cash down. that page is sort of ridiculous BTW you can only buy two but you can lease like 45 different modems so obviously they can support more.

    As to going D2 or D3 on modems sooner than later older D2 modems will be put on the end of life list for a D3 network, it may be after you move to a new area however, so depending on your life and where you are in it, I would lean toward a D3 modem since it is backward compatible with D2 networks, and that may not always be the case on viceversa.

    As to the SB6121, there have been a few firmware snaffus with motorola D3 modems, dslreports will hit more posts than you ever want to read if you bother looking there, I believe they have all been worked out now but several people did have their modems bricked due to it. the 6121 is a 4x4 modem which means it can bond 4 downstream channels and 4 upstream given permission from the provider's cmts, some modems can bond 8x4, 16x4, etc. this is all fancy features you will likley not be able to use for some years, but if you want to look into the tech limits, this is what you look into for D3 modems at the moment. It is a limit of the chip set, so its unlikely someone will release a software patch to work around it. In addition to that, the 6121 is a IP6 capable modem and the 5101 is not. Again years before you are forced onto the new tech [if ever] but something to think about before you pay good money. If you already own the 5101 then it is no big deal but before I paid for one I'd look into when I need to be off IP4 and Docsis 2.0 with Time Warner. It is very unlikely they will know when you call [I work for comcast and they'd just get that wtf look in their eyes if you tried] but I'd ask just to be sure.
     
    #15 Cabletek, Oct 22, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  17. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    .

    Yap, that is exactly what I have on TWC NYC.

    Download start at about 2.5 MB/Sec. for the first 15 - 25 Sec. and then goes down to 1.2MB/sec.

    So data that is up to 50MB/sec. gets in very fast but Downloads of ISOs from MSDN/TechNet is normal speed.

    Or to put in simple langauge. A $10 bill is $10 wether you put it is in a Small purse or in a Huge purse.

    I am Not saying that that is bad, I am just trying to provide some useful therapy to the "Future proofers" and other day "Dreamers".



    :cool:
     
    #16 JackMDS, Oct 22, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  18. LxMxFxD4

    LxMxFxD4 Senior member

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    Thanks for your answers sir. I wish I could give reputation or something on anandtech.

    I did know that cable companies flash the modems or use a config file based on speed plan purchased. But people seemed to report otherwise. Does turn out its just the powerboosting. But hey, you never know. If the cable company is unable to put a trap on my cable for video after cancelling service, who knows, maybe they'll have problems with limiting the speeds of a 4 channel bonded modem. But you have answered that they can't and I pretty much trust you are right.

    As for latency, I have no problems with latency with my current CISCO DPC2100R2. In fact, i've never had problems with time warner in 10+ years of service in multiple locations in two states. There has been downtime of course, but nothing crazy, and when signals have become out of spec they send a tech out next day to fix it.

    Yes TWC has pretty much limited us to just 2 modems - one of which has a builtin router which I do not want/need. So sb6121 it is. At $2.50/mo I can afford to wait around for a deal. I'll report back in this thread with my results after upgrading from my cisco, whenever that may be.
     
  19. blankslate

    blankslate Diamond Member

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    This thread is related to my question and isn't exceptionally old.

    My cable modem is a docsis 2.0 modem and is probably due to be dropped from support rather soon by Comcast.

    What brand should I get for a docsis 3.0 specification modem? It doesn't seem like Linksys has any coming out after a brief search online for one.

    I got my Linksys modem in late 2004 or very early 2005 so and it's been working fine overall since then and it's probably saved me a nice chunk of change over leasing a modem from my cable company. I'd like to purchase another one from them if possible.

    Which brand of cable modems today have the best reputation for reliability? Is Linksys now just Cisco for the purposes of buying a consumer grade cable modem?

    thanks.
     
  20. Cabletek

    Cabletek Member

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    Most people seem to be recommending the zoom 5341 D3 modem not sure the exact model, DSLreports will have a ton of rabid armchair techs and a few real ones that can answer this question better than I. The way they are going to do it is the latest greatest chipset which bonds more channels and I think the zoom is the cheaper of the 8x4 modems out there right now. IIRC the 5341J modem adds IP6 support and 8 channels..

    Cisco bought linksys a few years ago, kept the brand linksys for about a year or so and then moved to their own name only. My personal opinion is they bought a good brand name and drove it into the ground, I have not been too impressed with their overpriced fancy designs since it happened but the rest of the world disagrees with me and says they are awesome so... Linksys no longer made modems after the model you bought as far as I recall. Cisco themselves used to sell modems under the Scientific Atlanta name before the linksys acquisition and still do sell D3.0 modems under the Cisco name now. I am not too fond of them but that's more becasue of technical issues with our cmts and provisioning than actual customer side experiences.

    The linksys BEFCMU10 is a d1.x modem even though they advertised it as a D2 they never fully complied to the standard as I recall and were relegated to being considered either a 1.0 or 1.1 modem. It is already an unsupported modem with comcast and if you were to move right now, comcast would not re-provision that modem under a new account unless you moved to a legacy D2 system like the ones they acquired form Adelphia a while back and have not upgraded yet.

    The list of modems, approved and end of life, is here if it helps
    http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/
     
    #19 Cabletek, Nov 25, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  21. blankslate

    blankslate Diamond Member

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    Thanks for the information I'll look into the DSL reports forums.
     
  22. LxMxFxD4

    LxMxFxD4 Senior member

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    Since this thread got bumped I figured i'd chime in with my results:

    I bought a motorola sb6121 on black friday from radioshack for $75 after tax. I wanted an sb6141 but lack of manufacturer warranty from ebay/amazon scared me off. Here are the results:

    1. On my 10/1 service on TWC I no longer get any kind of bursting using this modem. However it works great at capping my speed and uses about 5 or 6W less power than my old cable modem. Since it is "always on" this saves me another 50c a month in electricity. Not much but it adds up!
    2. TWC just raised the lease rate from $2.50 to $3.95! So big savings there :)
    3. TWC just raised my 10/1 service to 15/1 last week due to (according to level 3 twc tech) "increasing pressure from competitors like Verizon FiOS". Yay! Still no busring beyond 15 however.

    So at this point I am happy. I have a somewhat futureproof modem that works great at my current level of service and would work well up to and beyond extreme level of service (50/5) should I ever desire or need it.
     
    #21 LxMxFxD4, Dec 3, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012