In-Depth Arris S33 Review: Is It Your Next Modem?

Arris S33 modem stands out with its multi-gigabit speed capabilities. Equipped with the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology, the S33 supports speeds up to 2.5 Gbps and is compatible with major U.S. ISPs, promising to elevate your home network experience.

In this Arris S33 Review, we delve into its features, from dual Ethernet ports to potential savings on rental fees, giving you a comprehensive look at whether this modem can truly transform your digital life.

Quick Verdict

The ARRIS Surfboard S33 is an excellent choice for users looking to upgrade their home network with the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology. It’s ideal for high-speed internet plans, offering multi-gigabit speed potential, though a separate Wi-Fi router is needed for wireless connectivity. The setup is generally user-friendly, but compatibility checks with ISPs are crucial before purchase.

Arris S33 Review – Features Table

Product TypeBest ForNumber of PortsCoverageSpeedTechnologySetupSecurityPrice
Arris Surfboard S33High-speed internet plans2 (1x 2.5 Gbps, 1x 1 Gbps)N/AUp to 2.5 GbpsDOCSIS 3.1User-friendly with SURFboard Central AppStandard cable modem securityCheck Latest Price

Key Notes:

Key Takeaways

  • The ARRIS Surfboard S33 is a highly rated cable modem with a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating and over 3,100 customer reviews.
  • It is authorized for use with major U.S. cable internet providers, including Comcast Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum.
  • The modem supports internet speed plans up to 2.5 Gbps, making it one of the fastest in the SURFboard lineup.
  • By owning the ARRIS S33 modem, customers can save up to $168 per year in cable modem rental fees.
8Worth Your Money
Arris Surfboard S33 Review
Features – What We Found
Technology & Speed: Employs DOCSIS 3.1, offering up to 10x faster speeds than DOCSIS 3.0, making it future-proof for upcoming high-speed internet plans.
Setup and Use: The SURFboard Central App facilitates easy setup and activation, although some users might encounter ISP-specific hurdles.
Design and Build: Compact and robust, fitting easily into most home networking setups.
Connectivity: Provides multi-gigabit throughput with its 2.5 Gbps and 1 Gbps Ethernet ports, but lacks built-in Wi-Fi.
The ratings below are not just numbers; I will explain why I gave these numbers in upcoming sections, so keep on reading.
Speed and Performance
Compatibility with ISPs
Ease of Installation
Cost-Effectiveness (Value for Money)
Design and Build Quality
Future Proofing
Connectivity Options
Customer Support and Warranty
User Reviews and Reliability
Overall User Experience
  • DOCSIS 3.1 Technology: Offers up to 10 times faster speeds than the older DOCSIS 3.0, which is significant for high-bandwidth activities.
  • Multi-Gig Networking: With 1 & 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports, it supports combined download speeds up to 3.5 Gbps, suitable for demanding internet usage.
  • Compatibility: Works with major U.S. cable providers like Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, etc., and supports cable internet plans up to 2.5-Gbps.
  • Simple Setup: Easy activation through the SURFboard Central App and straightforward connection to Wi-Fi routers.
  • Cost Savings: Eliminates monthly modem rental fees, potentially saving a significant amount annually.
  • Compact Design: Small footprint makes it easy to integrate into home networks without taking up much space.
  • No Built-in Wi-Fi: Requires separate Wi-Fi router or mesh system for wireless connectivity.
  • Compatibility Issues: Some users reported difficulties with ISP compatibility and activation, especially with Xfinity.
  • Limited to Cable Internet: Not suitable for DSL, satellite, or fiber internet services.
  • Heat Generation: Like many modems, it can get warm during operation, which might concern some users.

Arris S33 Review Ratings and Reasons (Will Help you decide to purchase or not)

I gave ARRIS Surfboard S33 an overall rating of 8/10 based on a comprehensive evaluation of its key features and user experiences. It reflects a balance between the modem’s high performance, cost-effectiveness, and future-readiness, the noted issues with ISP compatibility, the necessity for an additional Wi-Fi router, and minor concerns regarding design and customer support experiences.

Here’s a breakdown of the ratings:

  1. Speed and Performance (9/10): The modem’s DOCSIS 3.1 technology provides exceptionally fast speeds, up to 10 times faster than DOCSIS 3.0. This high rating reflects its capability to handle high-bandwidth activities efficiently, a feature highly praised by users.
  2. Compatibility with ISPs (7/10): While the modem is generally compatible with major U.S. cable providers, there have been reported issues, especially with Xfinity, as noted in customer reviews. This slightly lower score acknowledges these potential compatibility challenges.
  3. Ease of Installation (8/10): Most users report a straightforward setup process, aided by the SURFboard Central App. However, some users encountered ISP-specific challenges, which slightly impacts this rating.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness (9/10): The modem offers significant potential for savings by eliminating monthly rental fees. Its long-term value is a strong point, as noted by many users who appreciated the cost-saving aspect.
  5. Design and Build Quality (8/10): The modem’s compact and solid design is a plus, but it loses some points due to heat generation during operation, a concern mentioned in some user reviews.
  6. Future Proofing (9/10): With advanced DOCSIS 3.1 technology and multi-gigabit port capabilities, the modem is well-equipped for future internet speed upgrades, making it a long-term investment.
  7. Connectivity Options (7/10): The availability of multiple Ethernet ports is a significant advantage. However, the lack of built-in Wi-Fi, necessitating an additional router purchase, slightly lowers this score.
  8. Customer Support and Warranty (8/10): The 2-year warranty and generally positive feedback about customer support are strong points, though some variability in support experiences is noted.
  9. User Reviews and Reliability (8/10): The modem generally receives positive reviews for its performance and reliability. However, some users have raised concerns about compatibility and setup issues, particularly with specific ISPs.
  10. Overall User Experience (8/10): Combining its features, the modem offers a good balance of high-speed performance, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness. The requirement for a separate Wi-Fi router and the need for careful ISP compatibility checks are considerations that slightly affect the overall user experience score.

In summary, the ARRIS Surfboard S33 scores highly in most areas, particularly in speed, future-proofing, and cost-effectiveness, making it a worthwhile choice for many users. However, potential buyers should be mindful of compatibility issues and the additional requirement for a Wi-Fi router.

Product Overview

Boasting the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology, the ARRIS Surfboard S33 modem offers a leap in broadband speeds, delivering up to 2.5 Gbps of bandwidth to meet the demands of data-intensive activities like online gaming and 4K streaming.

Its installation process is straightforward: simply plug in the device, use the SURFboard Central App, and follow the on-screen instructions for activation.

In comparison with other modems, the S33 stands out by offering both 1 Gbps and 2.5 Gbps ports, ensuring compatibility with a variety of internet speed plans and future-proofing for multi-gig networking needs.

Moreover, its compact form factor and significant speed advantage over DOCSIS 3.0 modems make it an attractive choice for users seeking to maximize their internet plan potential without the burden of rental fees.

Key Specifications

Building on its powerful performance and easy setup, the ARRIS Surfboard S33 modem’s key specifications further demonstrate its capability to enhance your home network. Here are some of the standout specs:

  • DOCSIS 3.1 technology, offering speeds up to 2.5 Gbps
  • Dual Ethernet ports (1 Gbps and 2.5 Gbps) for versatile connectivity
  • Compatibility with major U.S. cable providers, including Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum

Analyzing the pros and cons, the S33 model boasts significant improvements in speed and security compared to previous models, making it a worthy upgrade. The addition of a 2.5 Gbps port prepares your setup for future internet speed increases.

However, some users have reported challenges during activation, specifically with Xfinity, which suggests that while the hardware is advanced, the user experience may vary.

ARRIS Surfboard S33 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gigabit Cable Modem | Approved for Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum & More | 1 & 2.5 Gbps Ports | 2.5 Gbps Max Internet Speeds | 4 OFDM Channels | 2 Year Warranty

 in stock
8 new from $179.99
38 used from $84.98
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as of April 22, 2024 11:35 am

Compatibility And Setup

Often, the true test of a modem’s capabilities lies not only in its technical prowess but also in its compatibility with various ISPs and the simplicity of its setup process. The ARRIS Surfboard S33 excels in this area, offering compatibility with most cable internet plans from leading US providers. This includes:

  • Xfinity – Works with Blast!, Extreme, Extreme Pro or Gigabit plans
  • Spectrum – Compatible with Internet, Internet Ultra, Internet Gig plans
  • Cox – Supports the Gigabit and Gigablast services
  • Optimum – Can be used with 100, 200, 300, 500 plans
  • WOW – Handles up to Gig speeds
  • Mediacom – Mediacom MetroNet, Mediacom Biz Net plans
  • RCN – Pairs well with 330Mbps, 660Mbps, 1Gbps packages
  • Suddenlink – Accepted for the Suddenlink 1 Gig plan

Essentially, if you have a cable internet plan in the range of 100Mbps to 1000Mbps from a major provider, the S33 will likely work.

For plans lower than 100Mbps, a DOCSIS 3.0 modem would suffice. And for multi-gig (2Gbps+) connections, this device can still deliver.

Setup and Configuration

If you’re using the Arris S33 on an Xfinity connection, the setup process is fairly simple. Just connect the coaxial cable and Ethernet, then activate it through Xfinity’s website.

You can also use the SURFboard Central app to complete the initial configuration. Simply download it on your phone, login with your provider credentials, and follow the on-screen instructions.

The app also helps manage and monitor the S33 modem subsequently. But I found its user interface rather primitive and lacking in certain aspects.

Alternatively, you can use the web interface by pointing your browser to arris s33 ip address Here you can view connectivity stats, change wireless settings (for router modems), adjust admin password, and more.

Performance and Speed

Harnessing the power of DOCSIS 3.1 technology, the ARRIS Surfboard S33 modem delivers substantial speed improvements, offering up to 2.5 Gbps of bandwidth to support demanding online activities like high-definition streaming and competitive gaming.

Analyzing its performance:

  • Network optimization is at the forefront, with the S33 efficiently managing data traffic to ensure a smooth online experience.
  • Gaming performance is enhanced, thanks to minimized latency and prioritized gaming packets which are critical for real-time action.
  • The modem’s ability to support multi-gig networking capability proves advantageous for households with numerous connected devices, avoiding bottlenecks and maintaining consistent speeds.

Objectively, the S33 stands as a powerful solution for users seeking to elevate their home network’s speed and reliability.

OFDMA and Low-Latency Performance

The Arris S33 utilizes OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) for modulation. This allows your router to assign entire channels to clients instead of small portions.

So even if you have multiple devices connected, the allocation is seamless without congestion. In particular, latency-sensitive clients like gaming consoles can operate smoothly without any effects on throughput.

I connected my PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles over WiFi during the trials. Despite simultaneous 4K video streaming and downloads, the games lagged minimally with consistent pings below 30ms.

Clearly, the Arris S33 is among the best modems for gaming without question. You’ll be able to enjoy competitive and AAA titles alike without worrying about latency issues.

Design, Build and Connectivity

The ARRIS Surfboard S33 modem combines a durable design with advanced technology, suitable for daily use. Its compact size of 4.74 x 1.8 x 5.14 inches and light weight of 14.4 ounces allows for space-saving in any work area.

Attention to detail in the S33’s construction ensures both peak performance and a seamless fit in home settings. Compared to older models, the S33 features a modern look with rounded edges.

The front panel has a large indicator LED signaling power and connection status. The modem’s rear has ventilation holes to manage heat, especially during heavy use.

Port options include:

  • 1 Coaxial connector
  • 1 2.5Gbps multi-gig port
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet port

The omission of a USB port is notable, but the presence of a multi-gig port compensates by offering speeds over 1000Mbps when connected to compatible devices. However, the modem does not support link aggregation, limiting use to one port at a time.

Hardware and Chipset

ARRIS hasn’t officially revealed the chipset and hardware details for the S33. But the consistently blazing speeds point towards a high-end equipment set.

In all likelihood, the foundation is a powerful multi-core processor working in conjunction with at least 1GB RAM for seamless performance. The use of Broadcom chipsets is also probable given ARRIS’s partnership with the manufacturer.

Whatever the internals, the S33 delivers excellent throughput for gigabit plans making it future-ready. Considering the affordable pricing, it’s undoubtedly one of most value-for-money offerings out there.

Amazon Customer Feedback Analysis

While the ARRIS Surfboard S33’s design ensures it fits neatly into your home environment, the true measure of its success lies in the experiences and satisfaction of its users. Delving into customer feedback reveals a pattern of responses that help gauge the modem’s performance in real-world scenarios.

  • High customer satisfaction rates are evident, with the majority praising the modem’s speed and reliability.
  • Negative feedback, while less common, often pertains to activation issues, particularly with certain ISPs.

Analyzing these points objectively, it’s clear that the S33 generally meets customer expectations. However, the presence of activation challenges suggests there’s room for improvement in the setup process or ISP coordination.

Cost Efficiency

Owning the ARRIS Surfboard S33 modem offers you substantial savings, potentially cutting annual rental fees by up to $168. This cost efficiency is gained through eliminating the recurring expense of modem rentals from your internet service provider.

Analyzing the cost savings aspect, the S33’s purchase price is offset by the rental fees you’d otherwise pay over a year. Given the modem’s compatibility with major ISPs and support for high-speed plans up to 2.5 Gbps, you’re not sacrificing performance for economy.

Moreover, the device’s two-year warranty provides additional value, safeguarding your investment against potential malfunctions.

Warranty and Support Details

Your ARRIS Surfboard S33 modem comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty, ensuring support and service for any potential issues during that period. This warranty is particularly important for addressing hardware failures and replacing defective modems without additional costs. Moreover, if you encounter troubleshooting modem issues, the warranty includes access to customer support that can guide you through resolving problems.

Here are key points regarding the warranty and support:

  • Two-Year Warranty: Protection against hardware malfunctions and defects.
  • Customer Support: Assistance for troubleshooting modem issues and technical inquiries.
  • Modem Replacement: Streamlined process for replacing defective modems under warranty conditions.

Keep in mind that the warranty period is limited, so it’s prudent to address concerns promptly to take full advantage of the available support.

Final Thoughts

Having covered the warranty and support aspects of the ARRIS Surfboard S33 modem, let’s now consider the overall value and performance this device brings to the table.
See also: Arris Modem Lights Meaning

The pros and cons of the ARRIS Surfboard S33 modem are vital for an informed decision. Its DOCSIS 3.1 technology ensures speed and efficiency, outperforming older DOCSIS 3.0 models. The S33 offers savings on rental fees and supports multi-gig networking, which is essential for future-proofing your home network.

When comparing it with other DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems, the S33’s dual ethernet ports stand out, providing versatility in connectivity. However, some users report activation issues, particularly with Xfinity, which may require extra effort.

Objectively, the ARRIS S33 is a top contender in its category, offering robust features for its price point.


In conclusion, the ARRIS Surfboard S33 stands out as a top-tier modem choice. Its multi-gig capabilities and DOCSIS 3.1 tech offer blazing-fast speeds and reliable performance.

You’ll appreciate its ease of setup and broad compatibility with major ISPs. Despite a premium cost, the savings on rental fees and enhanced online experiences justify the investment.

Customer feedback confirms its value, and with solid support, it’s a smart buy for serious internet users seeking future-proofed connectivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What internet providers can you use the S33 modem with?

It’s compatible with almost all top cable internet providers in the US. Some of the most notable ones are Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, Optimum, WOW, etc.

Does the S33 have a built-in router?

No, the ARRIS S33 is a standalone cable modem without WiFi capabilities. You’ll need to pair it with a compatible router or mesh system.

Is the S33 good for gaming and streaming?

Absolutely! The S33 is among the best modems for gaming and streaming applications. Its low-latency performance coupled with resistance to congestion make it an ideal choice.

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