Comcast Blast (75 mbps) Modem & Router?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by HoosBruce, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. HoosBruce macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #1
    We just dumped AT&T's weak service, and are upgrading to the Comcast Blast 75 mbps internet only service. We are coming from a 10 mbps (if lucky) service, and it is not great for multiple devices at once. The modem/router combo that AT&T provided was ok, but I have heard those that include both are spotty. Based on that, and the fact that it costs $10 per month to rent one from Comcast, we opted to provide our own modem and router.

    Honestly, I know nothing about modems and routers (other than doing internet research), and am more confused now than ever. We are in a small/medium apartment, and use almost all brand new Apple devices (Apple TV 4 & Apple TV 3, iPhone 6S & 6S Plus, 2 iPad Air 2s, a 2011 MacBook Pro, and an HP PC) and know that the new 802.11 ac is the gold standard and is something we may be interested in. We are just not sure where to begin.

    Any suggestions? Not sure what our budget is for this "project" yet since having reliable, powerful (75 mbps powerful not a gigabit or anything lol) internet is important to us and we know it can be pricey. Thanks!
     
  2. Zerog46 macrumors member

    Zerog46

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  3. HoosBruce thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I looked at both of those. Nice to hear a vote of confidence for those!

    Anyone have a modem plus the Apple Airport?
     
  4. Zerog46 macrumors member

    Zerog46

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    #4
    I thought about the apple stuff but after a lot of reading I decided to ship it this time and an not disappointed.
     
  5. willentrekin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    #5
    Sounds like I have exactly the set up you're considering, though I think my Blast is 105mbps. I used the modem Comcast rented to me for a couple of years, and then I got what looks to be the Motorola one Zerog46 posted. I've been using that with an Airport Extreme, though it's the one from a generation back. My 5ghz connection usually gets close to the 105mbps, while my 2.4ghz seems a little slower but goes a little farther. I did have to call Comcast to get their system to recognize the modem, which surprised me -- I figured I'd just plug it into the same coax and be up and playing straightaway. Not quite.

    A couple of weeks back I also bought a Netgear network extender, so I plugged that in upstairs. I use its ethernet connection for the PC there.

    Everything works pretty well and goes pretty fast. My wife plays WoW, Steam downloads fast, Netflix and Apple TV buffer well. Hope that helps.
     
  6. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #6
    I use Comcast. Don't consider the SB6121 - it was EOLed (End Of Life) in September, for both the retail and native units. IMHO, after Arris bought the Moto cable modem they ditched the older chipset ASAP and started using Broadcom chipsets. The 6121 was superseded by the 6141 (also with the old chipset) which was superseded by the SB6183 (which has the new Broadcom chipset). That chipset is found in a few other Comcast modems, like the Netgear CM500.

    Arris is moving to stop supporting units with the older chipsets, according to two of the field techs that service two of my offices. I've ditched all of our older units, and switched to CM500 units paired with Airport Extremes. Rock solid set ups.

    I chose, and recommend the CM500. I owned an SB6141 and it was a problematic POS. I considered the SB6183, but passed because I found that the SB6183 inherited the same ugly design that included the neon-blue lights that will light up a room and I could find the CM500 on sale everywhere, at least $30 cheaper than the SB6183.

    I use a latest-gen Airport Extreme, and it works pretty well. An issue that tends to pop up when temperatures are on the extreme end is that the modem will reboot from time to time - the restart will put the modem into "server mode" to get instructions from Comcast (DHCP and NAT get turned on for short time), and then the Extreme goes into "Double NAT" error mode, which resolves itself most of the time. It's not just this combo - when one reads about "outages" with Comcast, it's often but not always this conflict with Comcast's own setups and customer-owned units.

    I read some tech rags, and when I need to buy networking stuff start with a Google search like "netgear router hack", which leads me to keep buying Airports - even though it's not relevant to the unit posted above, this kind of stuff turns me off:
    https://threatpost.com/disclosed-netgear-router-vulnerability-under-attack/114960/
     
  7. HoosBruce thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2013
    #7
    Thanks for the response! So the Airport Extreme is a good option then? Do you know if it's compatible with wireless printers on Windows etc?
     
  8. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #8
    Comcast/Xfiiti should work well with Netgear and other standard modems. If your apartment is not particularly large, you might even consider the latest version of Netgear's modem/router combo. If not, then any well recognized DOCSIS 3.x modem should work and the above offering of the Netgear r7000 (or an equivalent ASUS) would be an excellent choice. I think the Netgear combo modem/router would be a great fit (though in the past, I didn't like combos because the provider had final control on them but buying your own and newer technology has made it a viable option).
     
  9. HoosBruce thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Haven't heard the best things about the combos, so we will probably avoid that route. But we will definitely look at the netgear option!
     
  10. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #10
    The latest-gen Extreme is an excellent wireless router IMHO. Two of my friends are IT guys who administer Windows workstations - they have Extremes at home, Apple's Extreme is just stupid simple to use. No issues whatsoever administering an Extreme as Apple provides Windows SW that's on-par with the native OS X SW. The only element "missing" from Airports, that I don't miss or need, is QoS options for prioritizing traffic.

    The only brand of wireless printers we use are HP laser printers, newer versions that broadcast their own SSID so they stay independent of our wired/wireless networks, except for very rare FW updates (we connect them to an Extreme via ethernet for this). Larger print jobs are copied to and printed from SD cards. We also use plotters, but have a dedicated network for them (we're engineers...). No OS platform-related issues here, ever.

    BTW, Apple sells refurb Extremes on their Refurbished Store site for a deep discount. They also go on sale sometimes, I picked up several at Best Buy when they went on sale late last year for $129 each - we still use our 4th-Gen units as routers, they just keep working...
     
  11. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #11
    Here we use 6th generation AirPort Extremes with a Motorola SurfBoard SB6121 and SB6183. Stay away from the SB6141 or you will have a lot of problems with AirPorts and Netgears!
     
  12. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

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    Jul 30, 2009
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    Colorado
    #12
    Ditto that, Motorola SB6120 with Apple Time Capsule + 2 AP Express (to airplay to remote speakers and extend the WiFi). We have the Comcast "Performance" package. We have tried other routers (DLINK, Netgear, etc) and have had issues with Airplay and AirPrint. No issues with Apple routers and WiFi extenders.

    Our speed is generally above the advertised speed for our package.
     
  13. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a

    nightcap965

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    Cape Cod
    #13
    I have an SB6121 and an Apple Airport Extreme. I do not have Comcast Blast service because the 25 MBPS service is fine and I question whether the wiring in my condo development could handle the higher speed consistently.
     
  14. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #14
    Everyone has different needs and concerns about speed and features. Apple is more limited but for many, it perform as expected and needed. Some of us prefer a bit "more" for a similar priced router that might include hard features like USB3 and an additional physical port (AE has 3 while most have 4) and of course soft features such as QoS etc. Of course we can also talk about speed and strength of signal over distance.

    Here is a quick gloss over (end results of testing) at a popular site - smallnetbuilders.

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wire...pple-airport-extreme-80211ac-reviewed?start=3

    As you can see, they don't fault it and find it an acceptable router yet it costs about the same (or slightly more) than comparable routers that offer more, ranks below the top 5. Are the differences of value? For some no and for folks like myself, a resounding yes. To each their own and those that advocate the AE, I can't argue with you if it works for your needs. Would I recommend it - in some cases yes and in others, no.
     
  15. sp3k0psv3t macrumors regular

    sp3k0psv3t

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    Jun 3, 2013
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #15
    Out of curiosity, where is everyone geographically located that is having success using both a Comcast router AND an Apple Extreme?

    And the setups being proposed will work as you need. I have a Comcast router now and it works fine. But be careful with the model they try to give you as they tried a few months ago to "upgrade me" to a decommissioned 45 DL device when I was already using a 75 DL device lol.

    I ask because I am South FL and use Comcast with the highest speed package they offer in my area, non-fiber, and have had nothing but problems with this setup from Comcast. The extreme hooks up fine but when it tries to grab an IP throug DHCP, which is being initially displaced from the Comcast router, it generates an error message stating there is a duplicate IP issue. It seems that because the router and the extreme are both trying to dispense IP's through DHCP services I encounter the error.

    What I would LOVE to do is to use the extreme as its own independent subnetwork, separate from the primary Comcast home network established, and only use it to wirelessly backup my Apple computers and wireless devices. While my main desktop PC's are networked via RJ45 hardline and can backup to the server OK, the wireless laptops and mobile devices are the key here being omitted.

    Also, I have a 10TB network NAS hooked directly to the Comcast unit (has its own IP for externally connecting to the server) that I use for internal network hardline backups but when I perform this with the laptops I need to physically connect to the network with a hardline at a jack and this is what I want to avoid in the future.

    The equipment and set up you guys are mentioning sound like it would do the trick and provide the speeds I am looking for. I currently get about 65-80 DL with 18-25 UL.

    Thanks


    USVet96
     
  16. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #16
    I'm in OR and WA, Portland/Seattle and a couple of smaller townships, all on Comcast and a recent convert from Comcast Business HSI to their faster/way cheaper/same CS & reliability/no caps yet residential service. And

    I don't use their gateways, opting for retail modems and routers. I use separate networks for file transfers, mainly wired 10GigE routers with a CAT 5E/6 line running to the Airport. I'm moving into a new office soon...

    You wrote that you use a NAS. Wiring my new location would have been a PITA, so I went a different route - one of the newer AC5300 routers (Netgear X8), mainly to take advantage of the link aggregation feature. IF your NAS supports link aggregation or NIC aggregation, I would offer that you consider the X8 - file transfers over that unit to my Thecus NAS units is as fast over the X8 as my wired connections, and I didn't have to blow $5k to rewire my new location (my electrical sub still hates me for my decision to "try out that newfangled new tech crap..." and not line his pockets with my money). File transfers over the X8 have been consistently about 50x faster than those over the Airport, and I really don't miss the need for a new commercial router there. Link aggregation support is the ONLY reason I'd consider the X8 or a wireless router like it (there's only one other right now, I think, by ASUS). If your NAS doesn't support link aggregation, the Extreme is still a good choice. Just saying.
     
  17. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Elkton, Maryland
    #17
    If you would like, you could likely set your current Comcast modem to bridge mode. Alternatively, you can create a static IP configuration for the AirPort and add it to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) of the Comcast modem.
     
  18. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #18
    The Wirecutter did a great writeup of modems: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-cable-modem/

    I'm curious what issues people are having with the SB6141 and Apple routers. I've had great luck with my Surfboard modems through the years. I an SB6121 that's been running for years and years, and I have literally never needed to restart it because it lost connection. And it has worked equally well with Comcast and RCN.

    Definitely get a separate modem and router. The combo units do neither job well.

    Definitely stay away from provider-owned units that you rent. You'll end up paying them a ton of money in rental fees, and frankly they're all pretty terrible.
     
  19. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #19
    Crashing, rebooting randomly, T3 and T4 timeouts, too sensitive to signal noise. I had a couple of SB 6121 units, they were bulletproof - the SB6141 on Comcast is using the same KOMODO firmware and IMHO it's a potential reason that the newer unit is an unsettled beast. That, and Arris' quickness to change the chipset but keep the body style leads me to believe there were other issues with it on Comcast's network.

    If the SB6121 wasn't EOLed I'd recommend it - if the SB6141 were free I wouldn't recommend it (my two units are back in the box, on a shelf, in a back room - I took one out for shooting practice, and it was fun...).
     
  20. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #20
    I used this combo on Time Warner cable for a couple years and had zero issues. Just from looking at the forums on dslreports it seemed to be more an issue with Comcast users. Just going from reports in the Comcast forums there it seems like firmware updates to the 6141 have largely fixed this issue.

    http://www.dslreports.com/forums/

    Compatibility issues aside, unless you are on none of the lower speed tiers, I would not suggest anybody buy the 6141 any more as it is not capable of bonding enough channels to support the higher speed tiers. I swapped out my 6141 for a SB 6183 and it has worked fine also.
     
  21. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #21
    Got it. So that sounds like problems with the 6141 and Comcast. I'd definitely avoid it in this instance. Anyone know if the SB6183 is better? It's obviously more expensive. But supports speeds up to 300mbps, so it might be more future proof.
     
  22. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #22
    I have not had any issues and have not seen any reports otherwise as well.
     
  23. einmusiker macrumors 68030

    einmusiker

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    #23
    I use an apple extreme base station. I'm very happy with the performance over all other routers I've tried
     
  24. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #24
    Most definitely. I worked with netcool a few time on DSLReports to get this sucker working - FWIW, we had them in 4 locations, so it wasn't just a one-off...
    I'd recommend the SB6183 or the newer replacement, however, the Netgear CM500 is exactly the same device with a different skin - it's not WHITE with NEON lights that will blind you if you look at it sideways. The CM500 even has the same spectrum analyzer as the SB6183, but it doesn't have the same nasty pricetag...
     
  25. EssentialGadget macrumors newbie

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    Aug 30, 2013
    #25
    I have had Comcast in Houston for about 9 years. Comcast has improved service a great deal in that time frame. Still piss me off occasionally when they don't identify area outage fast enough. Rarely have a problem lately. Great speed >50 Mbps down and 5-6 Mbps up (more than i pay for). Upgraded this summer to a SB6183. Very stable. Use latest Apple Airport Time Capsule and a DLINK 24 port GB switch and 3 8port gb switches. Lots of devices. 4 TIVOS, 3 iPhones, 4 iPads, 6 macs, 4 apple tvs, another airport time capsule (prev gen), an airport express (speakers), 2 printers, couple thermostats, 1 Windows PC. Have gone through many routers (Dlink, link sys, generic, etc) - apple is the best.
     

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