Comcast Cable Modem replacement

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by SpittingImage, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. SpittingImage macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    #1
    We currently are renting an Aris TM722 from Comcast which used to incorporate the telephone. This is connected to a Netgear N900 WNDR4500 Gigabit Wireless Router. We have ditched the TV and Telephone subscription and now are strictly internet. I would prefer to purchase my own cable modem for our two Macs, two iPads and two iPhones plus a couple of PC's. Any suggestions of a good model to buy? I'm sure there's a better wireless router as the Netgear is a couple of years old I think.

    Another part of the question is regarding a NAS system. I currently have a USB hub plugged into my MacBook Pro on USB3. I typically upload photographs from an SD card and save then automatically to two USB 3 hard drives. It would be really nice to be able to plug the USB hub into the Modem and or attached wireless router to provide NAS storage. Any suggestions on that would be most welcome.

    We don't play games but I do use iTunes for watching movies.


    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

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    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    (Central) NY State of mind
    #2
    Comcast should have a list of compatible modems to choose from....you should stick to one on their list.
     
  3. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #3
    I've seen the list. Lots of choices. I was hoping someone would offer actual
    advice on a good one.
     
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    You have several issues here. With your present service, you want your modem to do exactly one thing and one thing only. That is to connect your router to the Internet. Period. Run an Ethernet cable from your modem to the WAN port of your Netgear router. Your computers, tablets, phones, NAS, and other devices should be plugged into one of your router's LAN ports or connected to your router via Wi-Fi. If you use a USB hub then, it should be plugged into the USB port of your router. If you have more than four wired devices, then you may need an Ethernet hub or switch to multiply the number of LAN ports available to you.

    fhall1 is correct. Comcast has a list of compatible cable modems. Having said that, they are probably DOCSIS 3 modems. Your local Best Buy or other major consumer electronics store will give you a list of cable providers that are compatible with its stock. After you setup and power on your new modem, call Comcast and give it the serial number and MAC address of your new modem. As soon as the operator registers this information, your Internet connection will be live.
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #5
    I use the Motorola SB6141 (here on Amazon) with TWC and never had an issue. I see it is on Comcast's approved list. There are cheaper modems out there, but many do not support the eight down and four up channel bonding like the SB6141 and others. If you are subscribing to the higher speed tiers, channel bonding will give you better service.

    For your router, look at reviews on the site Smallnetbuilder. They have thorough reviews. Many of the newer routers mentioned there supports an external networked USB drive like you want for simple file storage. Be careful about Time Machine support if that is your plan, because not all routers that support a external drive also support Time Machine.
     
  6. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #6

    Thank you Weaselboy, this is the sort of information that I'm looking for. Having used Comcast for the last 10 years or so and having been using mostly Netgear Wireless Routers I'm asking for recommendations from actual users experience not how to look at a list of compatible equipment.
     
  7. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #7
    I personally use Comcast and have a Motorola SurfBoard SB6121. We are on the 105 D, 10 U package and it is fine! It is a step down from the SB6141 that Weaselboy has. We routinely see speed tests going 115/116 down and 13 up.

    As for routers, I recommend the ASUS RT-AC68U or AirPort Extreme.
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #8
    Whoa whoa whoa... did my friend Altemose just say he liked an ASUS router? :D

    Yeah the 6121 can bond four channels down and four up while the 6141 can bond eight down and four up. I know on TWC that limits your speed tiers. Dunno if it would on Comcast or not?

    I know some of the newer TWC Maxx speeds coming up require even more channel bonding and will need the new SB6183 that is just now becoming available.
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #9
    I never disliked ASUS at all. In fact I really like a lot of their equipment especially their Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. Granted, both Apple and ASUS have downfalls and I choose simplicity and easy integration over the additional speed potential.

    Comcast does have speed tiers but they normally are a little bit generous. My school has a 20/5 package but we get 28/9 in reality. I am on a Blast! 105/10 package but get 115/13 regularly. In other words , always buy equipment that can support your speeds and then some.
     
  10. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #10
    I have two Comcast ISP accounts - one residential with an SB6121 and one business class with an SB6141, both with current-generation Airport Extreme routers behind them. My business class options are very limited when compared to my residential account. My recommendation is to stick with the SB6121 if you're on residential or business class and your speed is under 150 down, and avoid the SB6141.

    The SB6141 has been superseded by the SB6183. Comcast and the SB6141 are not a marriage made in heaven - I've had to reboot it 1-3 times each week, their techs have griped about its stability, I've had to return both of my SB6141 units twice due to hardware failures, and I can't STAND the bright purple-bluish lights used in them. I used black electrical tape over the front face to dim the glare of the lights in the SB6141. I paid under $75 at Target for them on sale, and it's still too much IMO.

    With the SB6183 out, the SB6121 and SB6141 prices should come down soon.

    My SB6121 is a tank. They're cost-effective, still available everywhere, and Comcast friendly.

    My business partner has a Netgear C6300 at his house, and he's very happy with it. If this unit was certified for business class, I'd put it in my office. If my SB6121 dies, this is the unit I'd buy in its place.

    Gotta laugh about this - Comcast's 3-star certification modems aren't retail-available. Their retail-available modems are 1-star certified. Funny, that. :shock:
     
  11. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    Elkton, Maryland
    #11

    I have heard from many people that the SB6141 has issues with AirPorts and some Linksys models. That is the reason we bought a SB6121 instead.
     
  12. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #12
    The SB6121 looks as it will do fine as we only have 28Mbps at present. While I would jump at an Airport Extreme it only has USB2.0 while the Asus RT-AC68U has a USB3.0 port. Sounds as though the SB6121 and the RT-AC68U seem a good combination.
     
  13. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #13

    Most any router cannot even fully utilize the USB 2.0 standard let alone USB 3.0. In other words, it may be USB 3.0 but it is more of a marketing gimmick since it will never fully be utilized.
     
  14. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #14
    OP, you should be good with the SB6121/RT-AC68U combo.

    One of my field offices uses the RT-AC68U combined with the generic CenturyLink DSL modem, and we're happy with its performance. My IT guy flashed it with Tomato (used the Shibby beta) a while ago and it's a powerful unit. I'm going to a new project site next Tuesday, and the SB6121/RT-AC68U combo will be how I'm going to set it up. Good luck!
     
  15. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #15
    Thanks guys. I'll order that combination and report back on how I get on with it.
     
  16. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #16
    Just reading this again and I'm now confused. If I connect a USB 3.0 hard drive to the USB 3.0 port on my chosen wireless router how much faster will it be than if I had connected to a USB2.0 port?
     
  17. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #17
    Almost none. See this chart from the Smallnetbuilder review. A lot of routers don't even use USB3 because it tends to interfere with the wifi signal. If you look in the notes for this test, they had to go to the Asus router settings and make the USB3 port run at USB2 speeds for this reason.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
     
  19. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #19
    I think it would be fine for now. I know both Comcast and TWC have been nationwide upgrading speed tiers for free. I just don't want to see you in a year when Comcast maybe gives you 200/50 speeds and it won't work because the 6121 won't bond enough channels. For the $20 extra I would cover myself for later by getting the 6141, but that's just me. If you are short the money the 6121 will be fine for now.

    It depends on what you want to do. If you want to use it for Time Machine backups, yes the Time Capsule is better IMO because Apple officially supports Time Machine backups to it and a software update won't break that functionality. But if you don't plan to use it for Time Machine backups and just want to store some files on a attached USB disk, I think for the money the other routers like the mentioned Asus are less money and have far more features.
     
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Elkton, Maryland
    #20
    The speed difference isn't much. Weaselboy's response is fantastic!
     
  21. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #21
    I'm not that into Routers so I'm not sure additional features that the Asus would provide (apart from speed and possibly range). Can you elaborate what features the Asus has that the Time Capsule Router doesn't please.

    If USB2.0 doesn't offer much more throughput in a Router than USB3.0 then thats not an issue in choosing a new Router. Where does my existing Netgear N900 WNDR4500 sit in the scheme of things compared to the Asus or Time Capsule?

    I really appreciate the advice from you and Altemose :)
     
  22. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    California
    #22
    Let me ask this... do you even have any new devices that use AC wifi? If not, IMO it is kind of a waste to even buy a new router. That Netgear you have is a perfectly fine router, it just does not have AC wifi like newer models.

    Here is a disk speed test on your router. Half(ish) of the newer models. But still for the occasional file copy might be all you need?

    [​IMG]

    The new Asus has a built in DLNA server so you could stream attached media (movies/music) to DLNA devices if you want. The ASUS also has QOS support. The Asus just is much more customizable than an Apple router if you have a need for that sort of thing.

    If you don't have any AC devices, maybe just keep your Netgear and see how it goes with the new modem?
     
  23. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #23
    My Macbook Pro has 802.11ac if thats AC (I'm not that familiar with the terms yet) I had to look up several so far. I'm learning a lot from this.

    I'll take your advice and just order an SB6121 for now. It's not going to break the bank if I have to upgrade if Comcast up's the speed in a year or so.
     
  24. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    California
    #24
    Yes... your new MBP is AC wifi then.

    Here the deal though... your existing N wifi router can sustain speeds in excess of your Internet service level now, so a new AC router is not going to speed that up. All a AC router would speed up would be file transfers over AC wifi inside the network to other devices on your network. Like say if you had a high speed NAS device connected to ethernet on the new router, AC wifi would make transfers to that NAS faster.

    I just don't see much to gain at this point unless the USB disk speeds to your Netgear prove to be too painful for you.
     
  25. SpittingImage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #25
    Understood. I need to ditch the Comcast rental modem anyway so I'll get the AC SB6121 which will more than pay for itself in a year anyway. I'll consider the other options regarding file transfer and storage.

    Many thanks for taking the time to explain this, I really appreciate it.:)
     

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