Arris S33 vs Motorola MB8611: Which Cable Modem is Right for You?

Looking to upgrade your cable modem? In this comparison of the Arris S33 vs Motorola MB8611, we’ll help you decide which one is right for you. Both modems support multi-gigabit speeds and offer similar performance.

The Arris S33 features a more compact design and an extra Ethernet port, while the Motorola MB8611 offers advanced surge protection and better gaming support. We’ll delve into speed, features, design, setup process, compatibility, price, and more to help you make an informed decision. Read on to find out which cable modem suits your needs best.

Quick Verdict

If you need a slightly costly option with good performance and advanced surge protection, especially for office use or gaming, the Motorola MB8611 is a great choice.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more compact design, one extra port, and slightly better RAM, the ARRIS S33 would be the better option. Both modems are future-proof and offer similar speeds, so your choice should be based on the specific features that best meet your needs.

Arris S33 vs Motorola MB8611

Design and Size: The ARRIS S33 is more compact, while the Motorola MB8611 is slightly larger but lighter. If space and design are a concern, the S33 might be preferable.
Ports and Connectivity: The ARRIS S33 has an edge with two Ethernet ports (1 x 2.5G + 1G), compared to the single 2.5G port on the Motorola MB8611. This makes the S33 more versatile for connecting multiple devices.
Speed and Performance: Both modems offer similar speeds (up to 2.5 Gbps) and are DOCSIS 3.1 compatible. They are evenly matched in this aspect.
RAM and Memory: The ARRIS S33 has more RAM (1GB) compared to the 512MB in the MB8611, which could translate into slightly better performance in certain scenarios.
Price: The ARRIS S33 is more affordable, making it a better value-for-money choice for those on a tighter budget.
Additional Features: The MB8611 has advantages like advanced surge protection and better gaming support, making it a more suitable choice for office setups or areas with frequent power surges.
ISP Compatibility: Both modems are compatible with major ISPs like Cox, Comcast Xfinity, and Spectrum, with the MB8611 supporting a slightly wider range.
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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

ARRIS Surfboard S33 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gigabit Cable Modem | Approved for Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum & More | 1 &...

Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gig Cable Modem | Pairs with Any WiFi Router | Approved for Comcast Xfinity, Cox Gigablast, Spectrum | 2.5 Gbps Port | 2500 Mbps Max Internet Speeds

Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gig Cable Modem | Pairs with Any WiFi Router | Approved for Comcast Xfinity, Cox...

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Features
  • Save Money: Own your modem and save. Reduce your cable bill up to $168 dollars per year in cable...
  • Modem Technology: DOCSIS 3.1 is the newest technology available from cable internet providers....
  • Simple and Secure Set-up: Plug-in the device, download the SURFboard Central App, and follow the...
  • Compatibility: The SURFboard S33 is compatible with major U.S. cable internet providers including...
  • Ultra-fast DOCSIS 3.1 performance - Delivers true Gigabit-plus speeds. Supports fast internet...
  • Pairs with any WiFi router - Seamlessly compatible with any WiFi router to connect all your...
  • Multi-gigabit Ethernet speed - A 2.5 GB Ethernet port delivers true high-speed connectivity to...
  • Fast streaming, conferencing, gaming - Applies Active Queue Management (AQM) for reduced Internet...
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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
Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Multi-Gig Cable Modem | Pairs with Any WiFi Router | Approved for Comcast Xfinity, Cox Gigablast, Spectrum | 2.5 Gbps Port | 2500 Mbps Max Internet Speeds

Overview of the Arris S33 and Motorola MB8611

The Arris S33 and Motorola MB8611 are both DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems, which means they can deliver faster multi-gigabit speeds compared to older DOCSIS 3.0 models. Key features and specs:

Arris S33

  • Speeds up to 2.5 Gbps
  • 32 x 8 channel bonding
  • 2 ports – 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 2.5G Multi-Gig Ethernet
  • Compact curved design
  • Single status light on the front

Motorola MB8611

  • Speeds up to 2.5 Gbps
  • 32 x 8 channel bonding
  • 1 port – 2.5G Multi-Gig Ethernet
  • Tower design
  • 5 status lights on front

Both modems have the latest Broadcom chipset for top performance and security. They work with major cable internet providers like Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, and Cox.

Check out individual in-depth reviews of ARRIS S33 and Motorola MB8611 below:

Speed Comparison

When it comes to download and upload speeds, both the S33 and MB8611 support multi-gigabit internet speeds thanks to 32 downstream and 8 upstream channel bonding.

The MB8611 has a slightly higher maximum download speed of 3.5 Gbps versus 2.5 Gbps on the S33. However, most cable internet plans today still top out at 1 Gbps, with a few providers starting to offer plans up to 2 Gbps. So in real-world use, you likely won’t notice a speed difference between them.

Upload speeds are similar too, with both capable of around 100-200 Mbps on average. This is plenty fast even for video calls, uploading large files, and more.

Winner: Tie – Both deliver essentially identical, blazing-fast gigabit speeds for today’s cable internet plans.

Ports and Connections

In this category, there is a more noticeable difference.

The Arris S33 has two ports on the back – a Gigabit Ethernet port and a faster 2.5G Multi-Gig port. This allows you to connect two wired devices directly to the modem if needed.

You could connect your gaming console or PC to the faster 2.5G port, and connect your router to the Gigabit port, for example. Two ports provides more flexibility.

The Motorola MB8611 has just a single 2.5G Multi-Gig port on the back. So you can only connect one wired device directly to the modem itself. Any other devices would need to connect wirelessly or to the ports on your router.

So the S33’s dual-port design gives it an advantage for connectivity. However, the MB8611 is still solid if you just need to connect your router to it.

Winner: Arris S33 for its two port design and greater wired connectivity.

Design and Hardware

Here is where you’ll find the most noticeable design differences between the two modems.

The Arris S33 features a very compact, curved white case that blends easily with other networking gear. It has rounded corners and plenty of top vents for cooling. The front has a single large LED status light.

In comparison, the Motorola MB8611 has a taller black plastic case with more of a classic tower modem look. The front panel has five small status lights showing power, connection status, channels, and Ethernet activity. The back and sides have venting for cooling plus the ports.

The MB8611 weighs slightly less at 1.3 lbs vs 1.75 lbs for the S33 despite its larger size.

In terms of cooling, the MB8611 runs slightly cooler according to reviews based on its more open vent design.

Regarding which design is “better”, it comes down largely to personal preference for the overall look. Both modems take up minimal desk space either way thanks to their vertical tower designs.

Winner: Draw. The Arris S33 has a smaller footprint but the MB8611 may have slightly better cooling.

Ease of Setup

Installing and setting up the Arris S33 or Motorola MB8611 is relatively quick and painless operation.

The process is essentially the same for both modems:

  1. Connect coaxial cable from cable wall outlet to the modem’s coaxial connector
  2. Connect Ethernet cable from modem to router
  3. Plug in power cord and turn on the modem
  4. Wait several minutes for the modem to boot up and scan the network per the indicator lights
  5. Call your cable provider to activate and provision the new modem

It typically takes less than 30 minutes to get fully online with either cable modem model working.

The web interfaces for both modems are also very similar and straightforward if you ever need to monitor the device or connection details.

Setting up either modem is quick and easy for most users. Motorola may get a slight edge for having more descriptive front status lights. But overall, ease of setup is basically identical.

Winner: Draw. The setup process is fast and virtually identical on both modems.

Compatibility

In terms of compatibility, both the Arris S33 and Motorola MB8611 work with all all major cable internet providers that offer multi-gigabit service. This includes:

  • Comcast Xfinity
  • Charter/Spectrum
  • Cox
  • CableOne
  • Mediacom
  • WOW
  • Rogers

Additionally, both modems have been certified compatible with these providers and fully support their DOCSIS 3.1 networks. So either modem will function reliably.

Winner: Draw. Both the S33 and MB8611 work on leading cable internet networks.

Security

The Arris S33 and Motorola MB8611 both utilize a top-of-the-line Broadcom BCM3390 chipset that offers robust security protections, low network latency, and high performance.

Security features integrated on these chipsets include:

  • AES 128/256-bit encryption
  • Built-in firewall
  • Denial of service attack protection
  • ports/IP/MAC filtering
  • DDoS monitoring

In terms of security, you can feel equally safe using either modem model. They are not vulnerable to any major security flaws and include excellent encryption and threat protection right from the hardware level.

Winner: Draw. Identical Broadcom chipsets used means equally strong security.

Price Comparison

As far as pricing goes, the Motorola MB8611 consistently costs $20-30 less than the Arris S33. Current pricing is around:

  • Motorola MB8611: $210-230
  • Arris S33: $170-220

So, not only does the Arris S33 have the extra 2nd port, but it is also cheaper than the Motorola MB8611. The MB8611 gives you the same core performance for more.

However, keep in mind that buying your own modem saves $10-15 per month in rental fees over a couple years, so both devices still pay for themselves fairly quickly versus renting.

Winner: Arris S33 for the lower purchase price providing fantastic value.


Final Verdict: Both Are Excellent Multi-Gig Cable Modems

So which is better, the Arris S33 or Motorola MB8611 overall?

The truth is both cable modems are excellent in nearly every way:

  • Speeds up to 2.5-3 Gbps
  • Easy setup and use
  • Identical security and support
  • Compatible with major cable providers

The only key difference is the Arris S33 offers two ports instead of just one on the MB8611. And the MB8611 costs a little more.

For most homes, the Motorola MB8611 cable modem is the best choice providing blazing multi-gigabit speeds and connectivity at a great price.

However, if you think you’ll connect more than one wired device directly to the modem, the Arris S33, with its dual ports, offers more flexibility at a lower price as of this writing.

In summary:

  • Motorola MB8611 – Best overall value DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem for gamers
  • Arris S33 – Best DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem if you need two directly connected ports and with a low price tag

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better for gaming, the Arris S33 or Motorola MB8611?

For gaming usage, the Motorola MB8611 has a slight edge mostly thanks to its integrated Active Queue Management (AQM) technology. AQM helps reduce network latency, meaning less lag while gaming. The top-tier Broadcom chipset also helps minimize latency. So the MB8611 is the preferable pick if gaming is a priority.

What internet speeds do these modems actually support?

Both can technically support multi-gig speeds over 3 Gbps thanks to 32×8 channel bonding and DOCSIS 3.1. However, most ISPs currently provide maximum download speeds up to 1Gbps for residential plans. But with either modem you’ll easily achieve real-world speeds beyond 1Gbps when hooked to a compatible router and internet plan.

Do these modems work with satellite providers like DISH or DIRECTV?

Unfortunately satellite internet providers like DISH use a proprietary air interface and equipment not compatible with these standards cable modems. So they only work when connected to physical cable or fiber optic networks. Most leading cable ISPs are compatible.

What routers should I use with these DOCSIS 3.1 modems?

To take full advantage of multi-gig speeds, you need an advanced WiFi router or mesh system with a 2.5Gbit WAN port. Top options include the Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 or Orbi RBK852 mesh. Using older routers with just Gigabit Ethernet ports will limit performance.

Why buy my own modem instead of renting from my cable company?

Renting a modem from your Internet provider typically costs $10 to $15 per month—so buying your own pays for itself in under a year. You also can upgrade modems yourself instead of relying on the ISP. Just make sure any modem is compatible with your provider’s network prior to purchasing.

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