Top positive review
Works great and saves you money but has a sensitivity to errors which can cause major headaches!
February 28, 2019
I purchased the Arris SB8200 for Xfinity Gigabit Internet service as they have a deal for two years for the same price as the 400Mbps plan ($69.99). So in order to save almost $15 a month I decided to buy my own modem to replace my aging Motorola (Arris) SB6141. My SB6141 netted me 259Mbps down and 35Mbps up on my previous plan of 400Mbps down and 35Mbps up, which is great for a 8x4 channel Docsis 3.0 cable modem. So since Arris bought Motorola modem cable division I decided to get another one having had a great product with the 6141. The Arris SB8200 is also the only Docsis 3.1 modem with two Ethernet ports capable of doing 2Gbps down and is the most future proof of any modem on the market at the time of writing this review. And you can get a refurbished model for half the price which is even better!
Inside the Arris SB8200 is a Broadcom BCM3390 chipset (a much needed change from the SB6190’s Intel Puma 6 chipset which had hardware bugs and caused them a lawsuit for good measure), 3GB of RAM, 128MB S34ML01G200TFV00 Spansion flash memory NAND and 16MB Macronix MX25L12805D SPI NAND flash memory. The SB8200 is capable of downstream bonded channels up to 32 SCQAM or 2 OFDM and upstream bonded channels up to 8 SCQAM or 2 OFDMA (32x8 SCQAM and 2x2 OFDM). The Ethernet ports are only Gigabit Ethernet and therefore the Max you will get is 950Mbps average down and it will never be possible to the the boxes 10Gbps selling spiel. Even if you don't have Docsis 3.1 in your area or a Gigabit internet speed plan this modem will serve you for many years to come. And this modem has 3GB of RAM, which the other Docsis 3.1 modems have 256MB or less! RAM! Oh and with most providers (Xfinity included) you can call them and add a separate IP address for the second Ethernet port for a small fee (Xfinity charges like $5.95 if I'm remembering correctly). This would be great if you wanted to connect a gaming console directly to the modem for the best speeds and then connect your home router to the second. And eventually you'll be able to kick in 2Gbps by merging those two Ethernet ports!
Setup of the device was quick and easy and you simply plugin the coxial cable, Ethernet cable to your device (router for 99% of the people) and power cable and you are off and running. A quick call to your internet provider (Xfinity for me) to add the HFC MAC address and the modem is registered and provisioned and I'm up and running within ten minutes. Xfinity will try to send out a tech but you can get them to override it if you know what you are doing. Gigabit internet can be extremely temperamental as we'll discuss later which is the reason Xfinity requires sending out a tech on all Gigabit plan installs. And again this is simply a modem so you will need a router if you want wifi or the ability to connect more than one device.
The performance of the Arris SB8200 is top notch and I was easily able to pull my provisioned modem speeds from my Xfinity service. I was able to test 1.4Gbps down (Fast.com also includes backend speed as actual can only be 950Mbps as I mentioned above) and 45Mbps up. On Speedtest.net my tests are almost always 930-960Mbps (or near that) down and 40-50Mbps up. These speeds are AMAZING and just my upload speed is faster than most people's download speeds! Right now Xfinity is only utilizing Docsis 3.1 for the downstream channels so the modem lights will have a blue light for downstream and a green light for upstream (this is not an error or bug).
My issues arose with my Xfinity service and resets, slow speeds (300Mbps Max down), etc. Xfinity sent out a tech and that did nothing. So another rech came and found a ton of ingress coming from 4 lines on my tap. He trapped them off and I was up and running with Gigabit speeds again. Then the resets started, at night almost every 10 minutes! It was only happening between 10pm and 7am average, EVERY NIGHT! I had more techs out, supervisors and more supervisors! After a month (and many hours of my time and speaking up) the issue was resolved as it was a bad line amplifier which was causing noise and caring my upstream to spike into the high 50s, which triggers resets on the modem and t3/t4 errors. Now my neighbors were having issues on certain channels and slow internet but their modems WERE NOT RESETTING! And we knew my modem wasn't bad as it was fine for over 12 hours a day with no errors at all in the log until night began to fall everyday. And In fact my neighbors never lost internet, EVER but my internet was almost useless at night time. So the Arris SB8200 is extremely sensitive to t3/t4 errors and the threshold for errors and resets is much higher for the Xfinity owned gateways and modems. Also Arris had out out a firmware update previously about severe sensitivity to t3/t4 errors and I had the latest version but I was still having issues so they still need to work on this. If you are experiencing issues with your Arris modem navigate to http://192.168.100.1 and you'll be able to see basic signal information, modem error logs, modem and firmware info. You can use this information and post it in the support forums to get help and diagnose any problems.
But now that the line and backend errors are corrected it's smooth sailing and I'm saving myself a ton of money (the new Xfinity modem charge is $14 plus tax and it will be $15 by the beginning of 2020 so you pay for the modem in a little over a year) every year and you'll have the newest technology that is even better than the Xfinity modems and gateways, many of which use the Puma 6 chipset which I mentioned above (causing severe lag and timeouts which can kill online gaming or video watching). So I'm paying $69.99 and getting Gigabit speeds of 950Mbps down and 48Mbps up which is a great deal hands down and you won't find speeds that cheap ANYWHERE ELSE! The Arris brand is keeping the Motorola spirit alive and kicking which is great for competition! The Arris SB8200 is the best modem you can buy for your money right now and if you can find a refurbished unit on Amazon even better (they didn't have any when I bought mine but three weeks later they did and for $100 cheaper)!