Are you planning to invest in a new, top-of-the-line modem that can better cater to your bandwidth-intensive needs? Since you’re here, I assume you’re confused about choosing between the ARRIS Surfboard S33 and the Motorola MB8611. I’ve done a complete comparison to help you find which one to choose in 2023.
ARRIS S33 vs Motorola MB8611: Comparison Chart
|Traits||Arris S33||Motorola MB8611||Winner|
|DOCSIS Tech||DOCSIS 3.1||DOCSIS 3.1||DRAW|
|Channels||32 x 8 / 2 x 2||32 x 8 / 2 x 2||DRAW|
|Speeds||Up to 2.5 Gbps||Up to 2.5 Gbps||DRAW|
|RAM||1GB (512MB x 2)||512MB||ARRIS S33|
|Ports||1 x 2.5G + 1G Port||1 x 2.5G Port||DRAW|
|Compatible ISPs||Cox, Comcast Xfinity, |
|Cox, Comcast Xfinity, WOW!, |
|Dimensions||5.24 x 5.24 x 1.65 inches||7.88 x 7.25 x 2.25 inches||ARRIS S33|
|Price (Value for Money)||$199||$169||Motorola MB8611|
The Key Differences
The key differences between ARRIS S33 and Motorola MB8611:
Ports: While both these modems offer excellent networking opportunities, the ARRIS S33 seems better than the Motorola MB8611 owing to the availability of 2 Ethernet ports. This means you can connect to 2 wired devices as opposed to one if you end up getting the S33.
Design: Although it isn’t recommended to choose a modem based on the layout unless the same contributes towards heat dissipation, the Motorola MB8611 still seems like a better choice as it is significantly lighter as compared to the one from ARRIS.
Upload Performance: If you seek a complete modem that doesn’t ignore the upstream performances and can speed them up if needed, the S33 is a better bet, owing to the presence of Switchable filters for working over the 85MHz or the 42MHz band if needed.
Overload Protection: The Motorola MB8611 is a better bet if you hail from a terrain where power surges are common.
Price: The MB8611 is cheaper at nearly $170, making it a better choice if you plan to save some more for a top-rated router.
Connection Management: Arris Surfboard S33, owing to its two-port setup, supports Auto-MDIX and Auto-Negotiate to help make the most of an inconsistent wired connection, resulting in zero bottlenecks.
Speeds: Both are the same in this aspect, however, availability of AQM support, and other traits, the MB8611 seems like a better choice.
Similarities Between ARRIS S33 and Motorola MB8611
- Both MB8611 and Arris S33 are among the best DOCSIS 3.1 modems with DOCSIS 3.0 backhaul compatibility
- Full band tuning for getting maximum ISP-provided speeds
- Vertical layout
- 32 x 8 channel bonding support for DOCSIS 3.0 network
- One 2.5G port for connecting bandwidth-intensive devices
- 128Mb of Flash memory
- Broadcom chipset
Design & Port Setup
Now that the comparable and contrasting features are out of the way, it is important to take care of the design and the port arrangement, pertaining to each device. For starters, the Arris Surfboard S33 is one of the sleeker modems in the retail space, at 5.24 x 5.24 x 1.65 inches. However, the MB8611 seems a tad bigger with the dimensions reading 7.88 x 7.25 x 2.25 inches.
What’s contradictory though, is the modem with smaller dimensions weighs heavier at 1.52 pounds as opposed to the Motorola MB8611 which weighs 1.15 pounds. Plus, both these units are properly ventilated but as per personal inferences, I like one from Motorola as it hardly overheats.
Port setup is pretty standard with both the modems throwing in a multi-gig, 2.5G port, which makes sense if your house has a Smart TV or a gaming console. But then, Arris S33 comes with an additional 1G port, which lets you connect another wired device if higher speeds are preferred.
Speed & Compatibility
While the MB8611 offers higher theoretical speed limits, the real-time throughput is quite similar. I tested both these modems with an Xfinity gigs internet plan and could comfortably get close to 1Gbps, regardless of the port you wish to connect the device with.
Also, as far as compatibility is concerned, both the modems support internet plans from Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum. However, the one from Motorola goes a step ahead and accommodates Charter Spectrum and Comcast Business internet plans.
Who should buy the Arris S33?
Arris S33 makes sense if you want support for:
- Multiple Smart TVs or gaming consoles are home
- Responsive customer care
- Peer-to-peer downloads and uploads
- Future-proof multi-gig internet plans
Who should buy the Motorola MB8611?
Investing in the MB8611 seems like a good decision if you require:
- A modem for your office setup
- Advanced surge protection
- Exceptional gaming performances with AQM support for lag-reduction
- A modem with a wide range of indicative ports to see in the dark
Now that I have compared two top-shelf modems for you i.e. Arris S33 and Motorola MB8611, I actually feel that there is nothing much to choose between the two, except a few traits here and there.
As both these modems are DOCSIS 3.1 compatible with support for 2×2 OFDM/OFDMA channel bonding, it is advisable to approach them with a futuristic mindset, especially when multi-gig plans become commonplace.
But then, I compared these products to the best of my ability by reviewing the download-upload support, design, wired throughput, processing setup, cost-to-ownership ratio, and other factors. While both the modems exceeded expectations, if you were to choose one, my vote would go to the MB8611, despite its one-port setup.
The MB8611 is the more balanced, black-colored modem with LEDs in the proper place, surge protection functionality, better pricing, and improved gaming support — traits that certainly make it outwit the Arris S33 ever so marginally.
The S33 is said to have 3GB RAM under the S33 vs SB8200 post. Here it is listed as only 512MB. Is it 3GB or 512MB?
Kurt Twain says
Sorry, it was a typing mistake. ARRIS S33 has 1GB of RAM.
Peter M says
According to Cable Labs’ white paper on AQM (“Active Queue Management in DOCSIS 3.X Cable Modems”) AQM is required in all 3.1 modems, specifically the “DOCSIS-PIE” implementation, but other AQM approaches can be added on.
Since nothing in the Motorola spec sheets seems to mention the name of the AQM algorithm used, I’m guessing it’s the standard/required one and not anything different.
So as far as I can tell, it’s likely that the Arris S33 also has AQM, as if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be in spec for DOCSIS 3.1, which would be a massive liability for them.
I think it’s just a marketing difference
Hi Kurt. Thanks for the review. Doesn’t the S33 have 256 nand? I saw that it does in your review against the Arris SB8200. Has Arris changed this? And it does it make a big different to have more?
Kurt Twain says
It was a typing mistake. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!
Arris S33 has 128MB NAND flash. And it doesn’t make a huge difference.
Thanks for the comprehensive review! Personally, I believe I will go with The more expensive Motorola due to the fact that it does not run hot… (characteristic of the Arris) and the power button feature.