I have been using the same Motorola SB5100 modem for close to 10 years. It works fine and I rarely lose my connection. It's not yet on the "end of life" list (whatever that means). Is there any reason for me to upgrade to a DOCSIS 3 modem before my SB5100 gets added to the EOL list?
I know this is 2 yrs old but what's the point of starting a new thread with the same topic.
So what's the benefit of a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem if you are on a lower tier Xfinity package (say less than 25 Mbps download)?
So the basic answer is that you will have good internet speed during peak times. You hear many people say I don't need a docsis 3.0 modem because my package speed is 6 Mbps, 15 Mbps, and so on. Well please read on:
One thing to keep in mind is that with a pre DOCSIS 3.0 modem (2.0 or 1.0) is that you are typically competing against your 200 or more neighbors for approx. 40 Mbps of shared bandwidth. Now if only 10 or 11 of them are simultaneously watching a 4 Mbps video stream, your video is going to stutter or come to a halt, because each one of you now has on average less then 4 Mbps available to you. Now add in one or two people downloading a large file, any real time activity such as video streaming will not quite as enjoyable. If you watch, Youtube, Netflix at 5am then you may not be impacted. Now bring a DOCSIS 3.0 modem into the picture with 8 channel bonding on the download side. Now you have increased that shard pie to approx. 320 Mbps. Now it would take 80 neighbors watching a 4 Mbps video stream at the same time to where it starts to really bog down the speed. Bringing in a little probability here, the chance of 10 neighbors causing your 4 Mbps video to stutter is has a high probability (likely certain in most neighborhood in evening hours), but the chance of 80 neighbors all pulling 4 Mpbs at the same time is extremely small likely <.001%. Often people think that because they ran a speed test and got their advertized speed that they don't need to update. This good speed test result occurs because, there may have been the only user pulling data at that instant. Possibly 80% of the time they try, they may get the advertized speed result and 20% of the time not. But look at it this way, who wants to watch a video that 10 to 20% of the time is frozen. Even VOIP is not viable for most people if it cuts out even 2% of the time. Note the amount of video streaming is continuing to grow exponentially so unless you web surf during off-peak hours, it is strongly recommended to go for a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with 8 download and 4 upload channels. I could argue that even 320 Mbps bandwidth amongst 200 neighbor with all the additional tablets, smartphones kids have competing for badwidth is not enough. Even if 7 neighbors with a 50 Mbps Blast package run a Speed test at the same time will swallow all the available bandwidth, so my point is that purchasing anything less than DOCSIS 3.0 with less than 8 download channels is very shortsighted even for those on 6 Mbps tiers because you may onlyget consistent 6 Mpbs streaming 90% of the time instead of 99.9% of the time with docsis 3.0. And the 10% of the time with stuttering video will likely be the very time you actually want to watch a video (evenings) aka peak time. DOCSIS 3.0 is one of the rare cases where both the user and the cable company benefit.
Hopefully this makes sense to anyone reading this. If 16 channel modems come out and there is a high likelihood Comcast will support this, I would purchase this now.
If there were any newer firmware loads available they would be automatically pushed out. But F.Y.I., firmware upgrades to a DOCSIS 2 modem can not physically do what the multiple channel bonding of DOCSIS 3 does. The device's "hardware" as well as the firmware needs to support multiple bonded channels.
There are benefits to be had by using a D3 capable modem on an upgraded to D3 system such as increased connection reliability due to the multiple bonded channel redundancy and failover capability. There are also increased capacity/reduced congestion benefits which result in increased reliability of receiving one's provisioned speeds especially during times of peak usage/demand. Higher Powerboost assisted speeds have been noted as well. It's a win win for both the provider and the subscriber.