on September 23, 2013
Hi everybody, when I first bought the SBG6580 I was wary of the bad reviews and the disconnection problems, and I felt horrible when these issues started appearing in my SBG. Having solved the issue 2 weeks ago I would like to share it with as many people as I can to prevent this from happening to anyone else. The review I am about to write will cover the problem I encountered and the solution in a short and long format, and will be accompanied by photos. So let's begin-
*Short Version Guide:*
Go to 192.168.0.1, type in the username- admin and the password- motorola and look at the page that first appears (should be the Connection page). There should be three tables, look at the second one. Locate the Power column. If your power levels are negative, or if they're not within the range of -8dBmV and +8dBmV (meaning they are 9 or 10, or -9 or -10), you might have a problem. Now look at the third table and locate the power column. If your power levels are higher than 50dBmV, you might have a problem.
If it's not working well (meaning it works, but keeps disconnecting), it might look something like this- [Picture uploaded to costumer photos]
First thing you *should* do, although optional, is call Motorola support line. I've found them to have a great support line, and they'd be able to pinpoint the problem for you- their number is 1877-466-8646.
What they would probably tell you to do, and what you can do anyway if you don't want to call them, is to call your cable company support line. What you need is a technician to come over to your house and check all of your cable lines, to try and see why the power levels are bad, and the replace the cable or instrument that is malfunctioning (most likely not your modem, don't worry). The best way to get that is to call them up, be nice, go through all the hoops and all the attempts they try to restore your connection (if they manage to restore it, wait until it stops working again, call them again, and tell them it doesn't work and that you need a technician), and then eventually tell them that you need a technician because you called Motorola support and they said you have a problem with your power levels.
Usually that would do it. Don't be afraid to talk to the technician, show him the problem, but also listen to the tech and understand what they're saying.
Hopefully they'd get it right on the first visit, if not, do not despair, call them again.
I hope that helps anyone who's had the same issue as I did.
After fixing this issue my modem works great, the wifi extends throughout the whole house (2000sqft, cast walls mostly), and all channels are locked.
Good luck! Check out the extended guide below.
*Long Guide Version:*
*What causes the problem*
So let's get to the heart of the matter- Power levels.
Power levels are the strength of signal that your modem is receiving and sending through the cable connection. The SBG 6580 can handle power levels ranging from -15dBmV to +15dBmV for the download stream, and up to 55dBmV for the upstream (Not so sure about the negative upstream levels). That's all in theory though, because the actual OPTIMAL range is between -8dBmV to 8dBmV for the downstream, and up to about 52dBmV for the up stream. This doesn't necessarily mean that the Modem is crap because it can't handle higher (or lower) power levels, because it seems (after talking to TWC technicians) that these levels are also the cable companies' maximum and minimum power levels. So if you're exceeding these levels, there's a good chance your cable company is doing something wrong.
What are these power levels? In short, and to my completely ignorant understanding, they're the strength of the of the signal coming from through the cable from the cable company. This strength goes down as you move further away from the main line, or the place where they transmit the signal from. So basically the longer the wire is connecting your house to the "tap" (where the signal comes from)- the worse your power levels should be. The longer the cable going around your house- the worse your power levels should be. If it's an old cable, or the "tap" is malfunctioning- you're going to see bad power levels. (I say worse and bad instead of lower and low because I really have no idea how these things can work on a *negative* value, and how any of this works).
*Diagnosing the problem*
But let's not dwell on the technical mumbo jumbo and move on to *How to diagnose your problem, and how to solve it*-
The first thing we need to do is connect to our SBG6580 and get a reading of those power levels. The way to do that could not be easier- just type 192.168.1.1 in your browser address line (yes, it's a weird address, but it'll work). You'll be asked for a username and password- the default for the username is admin (just type in admin) and for the password- motorola (just type in motorola).
And this is what you should see (for a working modem)- [Picture uploaded to costumer photos]
(This was taken after my issue was fixed).
Locate the Power column on the Downstream Bonded Channels table. See how they're all between 6 and 7? That's good. Now look at the power levels on the Upstream table- 34.000 dBmV, that's also good. Notice how all 8 lines of the Downstream table and all 4 lines of the upstream table are full, this means your channels are locked, this is the optimal situation.
Now, this is what I saw when my modem was working, but kept disconnecting ever so often- [Picture uploaded to costumer photos]
Notice now how the downstream power levels are negative, and that they are much closer, or over -8dBmV. Usually I'd see ranges between -7 and -9 when my modem wasn't working well (during the times when it was still able to maintain a connection). This is what the levels look like when your modem is barely hanging on to the connection. It manages to lock all downstream channels, but barely. Now look at the monstrous upstream power level- 55.7dBmV! This would usually be 57dBmV, and it was the source of all my problems, also notice that only one upstream channel is locked, this would usually show when looking at your modem lights- if all channels are locked the light would be blue. If they're not all locked, but the modem is still able to connect, the light would be green. What I'd normally see is a green light for power, a blue light for downstream (the second light down), a green light for upstream (the third light down), and a green light (sometimes flashing) for the 4th light.
If you compare this photo to the one where the modem is working perfectly you can see that the high upstream levels are effectively disrupting all the other channels, causing them to go negative. While this did not cause any decrease in speed, it did cause the modem to lose signal every 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 3 hours, etc.
One thing I'd like to mention here- somehow (and I have no idea how or why), this is not an issue with the modem *itself*, but rather with how it receives the signal from the cable company. When the issue was fixed, it was fixed on the cable line itself (outside my house), and nothing was done to the modem.
Alright, one last thing I'd like to show you- this is how your modem looks while it is disconnected, and cannot reconnect- [Picture uploaded to costumer photos]
Here what we're seeing is the modem struggling to lock on to a signal, in the photo the downstream power level is -7, but I've seen it anywhere between -9.9dBmv to 43.0dBmV, the upstream is 49dBmV, but I've seen that go all the way up to 57 as well. I'm really not sure what's happening *inside* the modem, but it's clear that something is wrong, since it would stay like this for a while (sometimes hours). The lights on the modem, by the way, will flash green when it's trying to connect like this (either the downstream or upstream light).
*solving the problem*
So, now that we've been able to diagnose, how do we *solve the problem?*
Well, sadly there is only one way- call your cable company, and ask for a technician. Most of the time this means you'll have to go through the proper channels, call support, talk to the guy from India trying his hardest to mask his accent (god bless these guys, they do try hard, and do a great job most of the time), and eventually when all fails tell them you're seeing very high/abnormal power levels, and that you definitely need a technician.
When the technician comes tell them you're seeing abnormal power signals. They'll connect their little modem to your cable line and see what they're getting, then they'll check all the wires, and eventually check the tap. They'll then either replace the cables around your house, or the cables connecting to the tap, or they'll have to call a line guy to work on it and fix it the next day.
Do not despair, these guys are usually very nice, and good at what they do. If the problem persists a week later, again, do not despair, just call them again, and tell them what's happening. If you can meet up with the actual line repairman, do so, and explain to them what the problem was.
Hopefully this will help you fix your line and get the steady connection I am getting.
By the way, I have found that remote fixes (where they call you and say "we've changed something in our files, not your internet should work better") do not work very well, or for long. If your internet is working after one of these repairs wait at least 3 days to see if problems eventually persist.
Well, I have to admit, I don't really have anything to compare this modem to- it works well, wifi range is wonderful, covers the whole house (2000sqft, cast walls), speeds are great, there are no drops anymore, and the modem/router seems to have many features which I don't really use like uPnP, port forwarding, etc. Pretty basic, pretty simple to understand. There's also the option of creating a guest network, which I guess is good for some specific uses, and there's also WPS, which might be useful to some people.
All in all does what it's meant to, and does it well, I guess. Not much to add, not much I know about routers or modems.
on January 18, 2012
My Motorola Surfboard SBG6580 has been working great with Comcast! But after 1.5 years of stable operation, I became a statistic of constant internet drops and found my internet signals ranging (a term used for wide signal fluctuations). Comcast came out a few times to check all the cabling to resolve the problem without success until the last technician suggested to swap out the cable modem. I had my doubts about the cable modem being the problem until research on the internet revealed that the SBG6580 has problems which only an updated firmware can fix, however under DOCSIS specifications you cannot just download and install the firmware yourself but is regulated by your service provider, Comcast. There's one problem, Comcast does not fully support the SBG6580 and therefore no firmware updates are available. The SBG6850 is compatible with Comcast service but not supported by them. If you have firmware greater than SBG6580-220.127.116.11-GA-07-180-NOSH (NOTE Update below), you might not have the annoying internet drops and ranging issues. The majority of cable internet subscribers recommend using a cable modem and router versus going with an all in one unit such as the SBG6580. The last Comcast technician also recommended a cable modem and router setup, and said that he has heard a lot of complaints from customers using the SBG6850. He also showed me the cable modems currently supported by Comcast, the Arris WBM760A, Ubee DDM3513, and I believe the third one was a Zoom 5350. If you are stuck with a SBG6580, you can use it in other ways. There are success stories of using the SBG6580 in Bridge mode to only use it as a modem and connect it to a (wireless)router. I ended up using the SBG6580 as a wireless access point versus a wireless bridge to extend my wireless coverage. All you have to do is give the SBG6580 an address on the subnet that doesn't conflict with your other devices (ie. 192.168.0.xxx), turn off NAT, turn off DHCP server, leave the wireless enabled, make sure the wireless channel doesn't conflict with any wireless routers, make sure the SSID is the same for your wireless network, and connect it to your router with a cable. The other option mentioned is to put the SBG6580 in wireless bridge mode which does not require a cable to the router. However, you will lose wireless throughput as wireless information is repeated over the air. For this feature you would have to enable the Wireless Bridge Mode option in the SBG6580 settings. In the end I went with a Ubee 3513 cable modem connected by a cable to a spare wireless G router, connected by a cable to the SBG6580 as a wireless access point/hub. I have used this setup for two months as of this writing without any problems and the measured internet signal levels are much better than with the SBG6580 being the gateway.
I do not recommend purchasing the SBG6580 and to go with a separate cable modem and separate router setup. Although I do like the idea of a compact all in one, but its just not reliable, period.
UPDATE: I have spoken to a couple of recent purchasers on Amazon and confirmed that all the new SBG6580's have the same hardware and firmware compared to mine 1.5 years ago which means that all the gateways are no good and may FAIL at some point. Some earlier than others. It all comes down to if your service provider supply these gateways themselves, then you will most likely be okay as firmware updates are likely available. However I would still check for reviews of people having success with this gateway and your service provider as a precautionary measure. (1-20-2012)
UPDATE: Be careful if you are going with the uBee 3513, Arris 760A, or Zoom 5350 modem if you own it. You will want to use Comcast's online automated setup and leave the setup alone otherwise you may be paying the rental fee if Comcast sets you up as one of their own modems because the Comcast system thinks all the listed modem's serial numbers belong to them. Now I have to straighten out my rental charges with Comcast because a tech set me up as a uBee.
Update: In regards to Comcast modem rental charge... my local Comcast store cannot help with the rental charges. I called Comcast billing today to tell them that I own my uBee modem and that I am being charged the rental. All they did was ask for the modem serial number and mac address, and without further questions corrected the problem and refunded my rental fees. Sweet! We'll see when my next bill arrives. (3-8-12)
UPDATE: Recently Comcast has pushed a new firmware version 3.3 for these Motorola all-in-ones to their customers, but then rolled back the firmware to the old 3.1 due to other problems surfacing with version 3.3. Comcast is working with Motorola to get the firmware bugs resolved for a stable firmware release. This is good news but will take awhile longer. Here's where the info came from forums.comcast.com/t5/Connectivity-and-Modem-Help/Intermittent-drops-Motorola-sbg6580/td-p/1125345/page/5
I can't wait for a stable firmware release! (3-27-12)
on April 28, 2011
I needed a new gateway to replace my old Motorola SBG900, which Comcast was fazing out in my area, so I looked into getting this ostensibly next-gen DOCSIS 3.0 Gateway instead. I've seen a lot of both very positive and very negative feedback for this product here on Amazon, so I decided I would give my thoughts to try and help people make an informed decision about whether or not to buy the SBG6580.
First off, unboxing and installation was very easy. Take everything out, plug in the power cord and coaxial cable, put the instal disc into your computer and follow the on screen instructions. My wireless network was set up in just a few minutes. From there, you can access the Gateway's IP through any internet browser to do things such as: change your networks SSID and password, change your modem's login ID and password (these are different than your network ID and password - but you can change them to be the same should you so choose), and, as other reviewers have pointed out, you can and should turn off the IP flood detection.
Once I did all that I called up Comcast to give them the modem's MAC ID and get it initialized into their system. This is where I encountered some problems. Everything seemed to be working, and according to the Comcast CSR, everything looked fine on their end, but...I had no internet. We checked my old modem, and that still worked, then switched back to the new SBG6580 and...nothing. Needless to say I was getting worried that I got a defective product. So as soon as I got off the phone with Comcast I called Motorola customer service. I talked to a very friendly, helpful gentleman who started out by getting some product information from me and then proceeding to start going through some simple steps to try and diagnose the problem. Just as we were getting started, my modem randomly reset itself and the internet started working!
Turns out, at least according to the Motorola CSR, that it can take 30 minutes or more for the modem to become fully integrated into the internet providers databases. So the problem was solved! But he did pass along some other useful information as well: turns out my Comcast region is not DOCSIS 3.0 enabled. If the Send, Receive, and Online lights on the Gateway are all Blue, you've got DOCSIS 3.0. If they are green, you've got 2.0. The modem will still work, thankfully, but it's just not performing to the peak of it's capabilities.
Anyway, once the modem finally started (probably took 25-30 minutes after initially contacting Comcast), it has worked very well. Speed is about the same as my old SBG900, which is a little disappointing, but that could be related to the fact that my region is still only DOCSIS 2.0 enabled. Signal strength is decent (not great), but it has been very reliable with no outages so far (2 weeks+).
- Once set up, TURN OFF IP flood detection
- Don't give up on the modem right away - it may take a while to get incorporated into your service provider's system
- Product seems reliable, with adequate speeds and signal strengths.
- Should work even if your area is not DOCSIS 3.0 enabled, but MAKE SURE to call your service provider ahead of time to confirm that they support this modem
All in all, I recommend it as a pretty good all in one unit. 4/5 stars.
on October 6, 2011
Like the previous reviewer mentioned, I was almost scared off by all of the negative reviews, but I'm glad I went with my instincts and made the purchase. I was in need of a new wireless router after my old trusty D-link wireless G router's power adapter failed. After looking at several wireless routers I decided on this one because it combines the cable modem and the wireless N router functions. This allowed me to cut down on the number of networking devices setting on my desk, freed up a power outlet on my battery backup, and it'll pay for itself in about a year and a half because I no longer have to rent a modem from my cable provider. As a bonus, the 4-ports on the back are gigabit Ethernet ports. Most of the other "router only" (no cable modem functionality) devices that I was considering, that were dual-band and had gigabit ports, were in the same price range as this all-in-one Motorola that has all that functionality and then some.
I did not log into this router prior to having Comcast install their own brand of firmware, however I had no problem whatsoever changing the login and passwords without having to look at the users manual or find it online. I'm not sure if this means that Motorola (or maybe Comcast) has updated their software since some of these bad reviews claiming that it's extremely difficult to change the username and password. If this is something that you were afraid of after reading some of the earlier reviews, I don't believe those worries are justified anymore. Another thing that other reviewers seem to be complaining about is the need to reboot the device randomly to maintain an internet connection... I haven't experienced this problem on my device.
After plugging everything in and calling Comcast, I was back online in about 15 minutes. I'm no networking guru, but setting up the wireless SSID and security settings was just as simple as any other router I've ever used. Also like the last reviewer, I didn't test out the push button WPS wireless setup. Instead, I just configured our two Android phones and our two HP Touchpads manually, and all devices connected without issue. The ability to setup a guest SSID is nice, even though I probably won't ever need to use it. Our other networked devices including a TV, Tivo, PS3, Wii, and Blu-Ray Player all utilize wired connections through a couple of switches, and all work as expected for everything from software updates to streaming video.
I forgot to perform a download speed test with my old cable modem prior to disconnecting it, so I cannot compare download speeds, however I can say that it is definitely not slower than my previous router. While I don't know exactly what my download speed is capped at by Comcast, I can say that I recently downloaded about 7GB of data via torrents in a little less than 2 hours using this modem.
One area where I was mildly disappointed is with the wireless range. I was looking forward to having a stronger wireless signal in my garage (about 35' away) where I sometime use Pandora to stream music via my cell phone. The wireless signal strength on this Motorola unit is about the same as it was with my 5 year old D-link wireless G router that I was using prior. I had hoped that the technology would have advanced a bit over the last 5 years. The wireless connection still works, but my phone only has one bar on the wireless signal indicator, and hovers around -80dB on the wi-fi analyzer app. I should also note that I tried a Netgear N300 wirelss N router for 2 days before getting this Motorola modem, and the wireless signal on the Netgear was virtually identical in all the areas that I tested.
All-in-all I would recommend this product to family and friends if I had the opportunity. It's a minor space saver, and offers a lot of nice features for the price. If I would have bought a router only device with all if the same functionality (minus the cable modem), I would have paid about the same amount, and I would still be renting a cable modem from Comcast for $7/mo.