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Motorola MB8600 Review

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Motorola MB8600 Review – Speed-Buzzing Cable Modem with DOCSIS 3.1 Standards

DOCSIS or Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification is a global telecommunication norm, which permits high bandwidth transmission to your current coaxial cable TV networks. Since 1997 [its inception], the DOCSIS norm has been experiencing multiple rounds of up gradation. The DOCSIS 3.0 displayed the most significant changes, when it was introduced in 2008. Finally, you got all your hardware updated and suddenly the market hit with another best modem DOCSIS 3.1, which threatens to make the previous upgrade seem obsolete.

What does this new DOCSIS 3.1 standard have to offer? Is it worth investing or just too early?

You need to review the Motorola MB8600 to get an answer to these questions. You can take a glimpse of its benefits and interesting features this modem has to offer as well as get familiar with why it will dominate the other modems available in the market.

Motorola MB8600 Cable Modem Review

Motorola MB8600 cable modem is the latest device, which joined DOCSIS 3.1 group [Arris and Netgear]. It features 32 SCQAM or 2 OFDM [Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing technology] bonded channels that allow users to benefit from the fastest internet speed accessible from the internet service providers.

For example, if you are still applying the older DOCSIS 2.x cable modems then you will be limited to just a single download and solo upload channel. In peak congestion times, this may drag your system. On the other hand, with channel bonding features of the new 3.x you can make the most of multiple channels, ensuring much faster speed during those heavy-use periods.

Besides it even brings a few unique elements including 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and Active Queue Management capable to keep latency low. MB8600 hardware offers Link Aggregation Support [LAG], which bonds 2 or more Ethernet ports, so as to attain highest throughput speed. AQM is the takeaway, which ensures that priority mails get delivered first. Just imagine, when there is an important letter resting at the bottom of the pile waiting for you to get through all the other mail ahead before getting delivered.

What sets Motorola MB8600 apart?

Brand

Brand is the first thing that strikes, when you hear Motorola MB8600 amongst competing models. Motorola was contributory in developing the standard of DOCSIS. They have consistently been top performers in their niche. This is the main reason people prefer to go with brands they can trust. Motorola MB8600 is actually manufactured by Zoom. It is a premium networking company that has created robust cable modems for years. MB8600 is an affiliation of highly-respected brands like Motorola and Zoom.

Design

The Motorola MB8600 features a solid elliptic, cylindrical plastic case having obvious round corners. The main body has a gray matte finish and has a thick bottom [built in stand] and narrower top. There are plenty of cut outs on the left, right, and top side. This ensures proper airflow. It helps to keep the device cool. The internal circuits are visible through lateral vent holes. The modem is reasonably heavy, so it ensures proper stability. It can be positioned properly on a flat surface.

On the front side 5 LED lights reside.

  1. Power
  2. Downstream
  3. Upstream
  4. Online
  5. LAN

At the back side, you will see multiple ports and buttons. There is a reset button at the top. Underneath there are 4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports, the Coaxial RF connector, Power Port, and the on/off button.

Hardware

Within the Motorola MB8600 case, there is a Broadcom Puma chip set, 512 MB RAM, and 128 MB storage memory. The unit can handle 32 SCQAM downstream download and 8 upstream bonding channels with the help of DOCSIS 3.0 & 2 OFDM for download and DOCSIS 3.1 for uploading bonded channels.

Compatibility

At the moment, there are limitations to the list of cable providers but as the popularity of Motorola MB8600 grows, major changes will be seen. Comcast XFINITY, Grande communications, and Cox. Determine if your internet provider has rolled out this new standard.

Motorola MB8600 supports DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1. In many ways, it is an ultimate future-proof device. Even if your internet provider has not updated, you can invest in it. When they update, you are the first to buy the new package.

Bandwidth

As you are determined to buy a speedy modem, the total bandwidth will be a decisive factor. Gigabit Ethernet is regarded as premium network communication standards. Ping times are less, packet loss is negligible and bandwidth is consistent [irrespective of location].

Nevertheless, Motorola MB8600 is extremely speedy for gigabit Ethernet port. To max the modems 3.8Gbps extreme downstream bandwidth, you really need to use all the four ports.

Unfortunately, these speeds will not be seen right away. At the moment, you are limited to 1Gbps that cable providers generally offer. If you are in an area offering 3.0 there won’t be any enhancement in speed seen for some time. If you are with a cable operator offering 3.1 then there will be dramatic change seen in the speed.

Infrastructure is already accessible, just wait for demand to increase.

Signal quality

It seems with all the above features that people living in urban areas will take advantage of this modem. Fortunately, Full Band Capture technology has fortified this modem. It can be used in rural areas or regions with poor signal quality.

In Motorola MB8600, cable internet gives access to 32 channels. When a modem caps 500 Mbps, you may access the first 16 channels only. As ultra-high-speed modems make use of upper channels the others are empty, so have clear signals.

It means even if your cable operator gives access to 8 channels, there is no limitations to the channels you are allowed to use. Motorola MB8600 receives comprehensive DOCSIS band, so it can pick & choose cleanest channels. If you are struggling to gain access to the claimed bandwidth because of aging lines or crowded network then this modem is the answer.

Installation

It can be installed and activated on your own. Just plug a cable from computer to modem. Open a web browser. An activation wizard is launched. Follow the instructions given on the screen. You are connected and ready to get on the internet.

Key features of Motorola MB8600

  • Supports ultra-fast DOCSIS 3.1 – Even if you don’t have DOCSIS 3.1 services now buy it to take advantage of 32×8 support because the cable also includes DOCSIS 3.0 capabilities.
  • Offers Ethernet bonding -This is essential to deliver blazing fast 1 Gbps upstream speeds and 3.8 Gbps downstream speed.
  • Active Queue Management -AQM significantly reduces the internet latency. It results in speedy page loads even in peak traffic conditions. This helps to improve interactive applications like video conferencing and online gaming.
  • Full-Band Capture technology -Broadcom full-band capture is a digital tuner, which helps to improve speed as well as save energy.
  • One open & 3 masked LAN ports -Ethernet port can be connected to a router, HDTV, computer, and game station. When the cable service providers will give access to internet data plan supporting DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades the multiple Ethernet ports can be used, so as to obtain speed more than 1 GBPS.
  • IPv6 -This addresses internet support for the future generation.

Key specifications

  • Manufacturer – Motorola
  • Model – MB8600
  • Interface – Ethernet port
  • Type – Cable modem
  • Speed -Minimum 1Gbps upstream speed, maximum 3.8 Gbps downstream speed
  • LAN ports – 4 LAN port [10/100/1000 GigE]
  • Router support – Windows, Mac, HDTV, Game station with Ethernet port
  • Technology – Multiprocessor technology having ARM based processor, AQM technology, full-band capture technology, 32×8 DOCSIS standards
  • Product dimensions -7.7/8” height x 7.1/4” deep x 2.1/4” width
  • Weight – 1.12 ounces
  • Plug type – “A” [Canada, USA, Japan, Mexico]

Pros

  • Super-fast speed. Downloads 46 X faster than the DOCSIS 2.0
  • Fast response time necessary for multiple interactive games.
  • AQM helps to accelerate page load video conferencing, and gaming.
  • Protects your investment against surges and lightning.
  • 2-year warranty.
  • Professional technical support through online and phone.
  • Has small footprint, so is a super space saver.
  • Cooling capabilities for reliable performance and longevity.
  • No guesswork with LEDs in front and back indicating the status.
  • Easy and quick DIY setup
  • It eliminates the significant cable modem rental costs.

Cons

  • It lacks wall mounting capabilities [but can cover vent holes, making it run hot]
  • Lack of support from many cable providers, at the moment [as soon as DOCSIS 3.1 becomes widespread and speeds beyond 1Gbps becomes common this drawback will change]
  • Costly [You can recover the investment in less than two years]

Certifications & support

  • CableLabs certified
  • Comcast XFINITY, Cox Communications and Comcast Business certified
  • Bureau VERITAS 60950-1 ITE U.S. Safety
  • FCC 15B & C, FCC MPE

DOCSIS 3.1 has breathed in new life to current infrastructure. It has allowed for more graceful movement towards potency, high bandwidth abilities, service migration, system upgrades, and virtualization. Instead of just extending the restrictions of past versions, the new MB8600 is designed with an aim towards long-term future.

Frequently asked questions regarding Motorola MB8600

Why 4 Ethernet ports in the new MB8600?

Mainly for two reasons –

  1. Use multiple IP addresses, especially for businesses and not home use
  2. When the speed more than 1Gbps becomes accessible, you will need to combine 2 or more ports for reaching a higher throughput.

[Currently, Motorola MB8600 has enabled LAG support but you will need to wait from service providers to upgrade their internet data plans to 2Gbps+.]

Does MB8600 use tarnished Intel Puma 6 chipsets?

No, all Motorola products including MB8600 use Broadcom chipset. So, there is no issue of getting caught in the latency bug mess that is associated with Intel Puma chipset.

What kind of Wi-Fi router is needed?

Motorola MB8600 works with any kind of Wi-Fi router. With given speed use minimum AC 1900 router to gain the most from wireless speed above 1 Gbps. Moreover, the router needs to have Gigabit WAN port [i.e. 10/100/1000 Ethernet port). Currently, in the US Comcast is offering the fastest cable service of 1 Gbps. Ethernet port bonding has been made available for enterprise level routers but not for home users.

Can this unit work with 8×4 DOCSIS?

Certainly, it has 32 download & 8 upload channels against the 8 download & 4 upload channels.

Listing says that MB8600 does not include telephone call capabilities. Does it mean that Wi-Fi calling will not be allowed?

It does not include in-built phone jack but supports phone services supplied by cable operators [supports Ooma, magicJack, and Vonage phone services]. It means, Motorola MB8600 has no in-built router but Wi-Fi calling is supported via router connected to it.

Download speed at my location currently is just 50 mbps, so will I benefit from adding channels?

Motorola MB8600 is DOCSIS 3.1 modem. So, extra channels will help delivering better throughput. In any situation, if your cable operator does not offer 3.1 internet plan then this modem has the fastest speed accessible with 32×8 DOCSIS 3.0. Nevertheless, there can be restrictions like service level you subscribed and network jamming.

Does this unit support VPN service?

Motorola MB8600 is modem without in-built router, whereas VPN needs support from an external router. Unfortunately, MB8600 will not be able to support VPN service.

Can 2 routers be connected, simultaneously?

Yes, if you are paying the cable operator for extra IP addresses.

Final verdict

To buy Motorola MB8600 or not will depend on your goals. People purchase these modems rather than renting from their internet service providers because they save funds in the long run. It can take two to three years prior you break even on the router that costs few hundreds. To gain more savings choose a modem, which will last long. Luckily, MB8600 is regarded to be a future proof device, so is a great choice.

If you reside in regions where connections of 1Gbps and more speeds are accessible then you possibly will be constrained by the current hardware. You are an ideal candidate for MB8600 modem.

In case, you are still using a 50 Mbps connection then perhaps this is not for you. It may look cool sitting on your counter, but it will seem like buying a Ferrari to go on grocery shopping. This does not mean, you should not upgrade. It is an elegant solution for future proofing that will not be found elsewhere. We rate it with 4 stars out of 5.

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