Wireless Cable Modem Gateway Upgrade

After dealing with a number of problems with Qwest DSL service, we switched to Comcast cable internet about four years ago. Comcast has been a more reliable overall although they too occasionally suffer from services outages. But unlike Qwest, they seldom last longer than a few minutes.

When we switched to Comcast, I purchased my own modem and wireless gateway device. I was surprised how few combo unit were on the market, but found one from Motorola at Fry’s for about a hundred bucks. The admin interface was an absolute mess, but it allowed me to restrict wireless access to the network by MAC address which works well for me without slowing bandwidth.

Over the past four years, we’ve added at least a half dozen wireless devices to our home, most of which are made from Apple and support 802.11n. The older modem/gateway only supported b/g devices which wasn’t a big deal until we began streaming video to our iPads. Lately we noticed slow connection speeds from the rooms furthest away from our modem.

Our current Motorola device an older model that didn’t support the newer 802.11n speeds, so I decided to upgrade to the Motorola SBG6580 Wireless Cable Modem Gateway.

It took a few minutes to convince Comcast to update the modem’s MAC address, but it’s been a great investment so far. While the upload speeds have stayed the same, the download speed has increased on average from 12 Mb/s to over 20. But more importantly, the increased wireless coverage and speed allows everyone to stream video from anywhere in our home.

The only downside I can think of is that the admin panel is still a horrible mess that makes little sense to anyone who isn’t a technonerd.

If you’re still running a b/g wireless router with newer devices you may want to consider an upgrade. The Motorola I bought has a street price of about $125-$135 and is available at Fry’s, Amazon, and NewEgg.