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The Simple Network Upgrade that Nearly Doubled my Internet Throughput

Several months ago, I received a phone call from my Internet Service Provider. I was informed that my modem was using old technology. They said it was simply not taking full advantage of the internet service I am using. And upgrading to a newer modem would greatly enhance my user experience.

Of course, I dismissed it as a gimmick to get more money from me. So I politely declined their offer for a new modem.

Several months later, I am realizing that my frustration with my internet service is growing. My brother likes to play games. I like to watch YouTube videos. Together, that takes a toll on our bandwidth.

So I start thinking about my modem and that phone call.

My Old Modem

The modem I was using was a Motorola SB5101 SURFboard Cable Modem. To be honest, it's a great modem if you've only got one person and you need something cheap. It served me well for years. If you're interested in something cheap, they sell for under 10 bucks on Amazon. Check out my link.

The problem with this modem was that my brother and I are living together and sharing the modem. He likes to play games and I like to watch YouTube. Both of these activities require high throughput.

My old modem uses DOCSIS 2.0 technology, which is aging. There is a better technology available in modems today called DOCSIS 3.0.

DOCSIS 2.0 vs DOCSIS 3.0

The main difference between DOCSIS 2 and DOCSIS 3 is that the latter uses channel bonding.

On a DOCSIS 2.0 modem, one channel will be used for download and another for upload.

On a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, both channels will be used for download AND for upload. Thereby doubling the available channels for you to download your streaming videos and whatnot.

Yes, its a HUGE upgrade.

Motorola SB6121 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

Motorola SB6121 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

My New Modem

My new modem is a Motorola SB6121 SURFboard Cable Modem. This is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem.

There is actually a new version of this SURFboard modem available, but I was just shopping for something cheap. I was lucky enough to find it under $50 on Amazon.

Another reason I chose this modem is because it is an Xfinity Internet approved device. Not only that, but it is recommended by Comcast.

Have you figured out who my Internet Service Provider is yet? :)

My Real World Results: One Week Before Upgrading and One Week After Upgrading

DOCSIS 2.0 Modem Test

Example test with my old DOCSIS 2.0 modem.

I used speedtest.net to test my connection for a week prior to upgrading and a week after upgrading. There are a total of 32 data points (16 before and 16 after). Here are my speed test results:

My upload stayed about the same. However, my download throughput almost doubled! It went from an average of 12.65 Mbps over a week to about 22.02 Mbps over a week!

HUGE RESULTS! Blazing fast speeds!

How To Figure Out If You Have A DOCSIS 2.0 or DOCSIS 3.0 Modem

All you have to do is search for the model of your modem on the internet and you'll be able to find out fairly quickly. It will be a main bullet point or feature.

If you know the internal IP address of your modem, you can access the web interface and look around in there for your modem's features.

Will Everyone Have The Same Results?

No. Your maximum throughput will depend on the package that you're paying for (your monthly bill for your Internet Service Provider). I happen to be paying for a maximum throughput of 25 Mbps. So, as you can see, I am now making much better use of what I'm paying for.

If I were you, I would do the same speed test several times over the course of a week and compare your average score with what type of throughput you are paying for. Then decide if upgrading your modem is worth it for you. It just may very well be true that you have a DOCSIS 2.0 modem that is sufficient for your internet service.

Do You Need To Upgrade?

Shop for DOCSIS 3.0 modems on Amazon.com!