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Motorola SURFboard SB6141 Cable Modem

by Motorola

Price: CDN$ 143.94
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Usually ships within 4 to 5 days.
Ships from and sold by Urban Inspirations.

System Requirements

  • Media: Personal Computers
  • Item Quantity: 1

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 4.2 x 13.3 cm ; 454 g
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Item model number: SB6141
  • ASIN: B007IMPMW4
  • Date first available at Amazon.ca: June 28 2013
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #250,427 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  1,546 reviews
717 of 741 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surpassed expectations with TWC July 2 2012
By Jonah B. - Published on Amazon.com
I have Time Warner internet in the Raleigh/Durham area of NC. This is a DOCSIS 3.0 area.

My download speeds have been shockingly unreliable ever since I started my internet service about 6 months ago. It is supposed to be 20 mbit down. Sometimes, it is actually better than this (25+ for short times), but more often than not, it is much worse (at times < 5, usually around 10-12). It also fluctuates wildly on a minute-by-minute basis. One minute I'll have great speed, the next it crawls. Even during a single speed test, it would fluctuate between about 5-25 mbit.

TWC support was predictably unhelpful. The best I got from them was "that should not be happening." I pointed out that their own FAQ page says that a DOCSIS 3.0 modem is required for my service tier (so-called "turbo"). They said no, the old DOCSIS 2.0 Motorola SB5101 they gave me was fine. I got the same BS from the "normal" reps as well as the so-called "level 3".

I asked if they would give me a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, even though they claim it is not "required". They said no, I would have to upgrade to "extreme," which would add $10/month for the service and another $2.50/month for their DOCSIS 3.0 gateway.

So instead of doing that, I bought this modem (which is on the TWC approved device list). I called them, gave the MAC address, and I was up and running. When the modem connected, the downstream LED turned blue, which according to the manual, means that the channel is bonded. This is a very good thing.

With this modem, I get 20 mbit on the dot, 24 hours a day. Every speed test I have run confirms (including the 200 MB test on testmy.net). Last night, I downloaded about 15 GB of data with a sustained 20 mbit rate the entire time. It's pretty amazing how effective it is.

My speed is never ABOVE 20 anymore, but it is NOT BELOW either. I believe that the channel bonding makes it easier for the ISP to enforce bandwidth caps, but it also makes the connection more reliable. I'll take that deal any day.

I HIGHLY recommend this modem for TWC customers in DOCSIS 3.0 areas. Don't believe the customer service reps -- it absolutely is required. It sucks that TWC won't provide the hardware we actually need to fully use their service, but that's just the way it is.
3,418 of 3,770 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH THE BLACK SB6141!!!! March 1 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
*** PLEASE CLICK "YES" THIS REVIEW WAS HELPFUL SO IT STAYS VISIBLE AND NO ONE ELSE IS BURNED ***

This is an update to my initial review. There *is* a problem with the BLACK SB6141 modems, but it's not what I originally thought.

The BLACK modems are older than the WHITE modems, and ship with an older firmware version that had a serious bug (v1.0.6.3). If you are a TWC customer, BEWARE. As of February 2013, it was TWC policy to NEVER update the firmware of customer-owned modems. I don't know the policy today or the policy in other areas, but if your ISP will not update the firmware of any customer-owned modems (or won't update the SB6141, specifically), do not buy this modem!

** Confirm with your ISP that they will update the firmware before buying this modem. ***

My initial review repeated what a Motorola tech support person told me - that my modem was defective (constantly "flapping" - dropping the connection) because it was fraudulently sold to me as new when it had to be used - had to be used because it was black, and not the version intended for consumers. The black modems are non-retail - sold by Motorola only to ISPs. The white modems are the ones meant to be sold directly to consumers. He knew there were a lot of problems with the black modems because he was fielding so many phone calls, but he guessed wrong about the reason for the problems. Apparently, the BLACK modems ARE being sold new to consumers by unauthorized sellers (and thus are not under warranty!). However, they have older defective firmware on them, and the only party that can legally update the firmware per DOCSIS 3 is the ISP. Some ISPs - notably, TWC - refuse to do this as a matter of policy. Others, like Mediacom, don't support this specific modem.

ALSO NOTE: The BLACK modems are NOT UNDER WARRANTY from Motorola because they were not intended for the retail stream. Only modems purchased from authorized sellers are under warranty, and authorized sellers only sell the WHITE modem.

--------------------------

The comments to this review contain endless arguments, mostly about whether the BLACK modems are new or used. The most recent comments challenge whether there really was a firmware bug. For the sake of the innocents who come by and read this review, here is the documentation.

And by the way, the reason I know all this is because I was bit by this bug - BAD. I bought my own cable modem (a black SB6141) as soon as I could, and then the nightmare began. Everything you are about to read is stuff I learned on my own because TWC was of no earthly use at all. I work out of my home and critically need internet. TWC wasted months of my time and cost me thousands of dollars without ever finding the answer. I found the answer myself. No one at TWC even knew about the firmware bug.

--------------------------

NOTE: Amazon is probably going to remove all the links from this review (though they are very useful and don't link to products). If you want to see them, look at page 23 in the comments.

--------------------------

The link below is to a scan of the Motorola firmware update documentation, listing the defects fixed in firmware version 1.0.6.8. Firmware v1.0.6.8 is what the WHITE modem ships with. The BLACK modem ships with an older version of the firmware, v1.0.6.3.

[...]

Motorola added one "new feature" (optimized performance a bit better) and fixed several things, but here is the critical bug (and I quote):

-----------------------

8.1.2 Defects Fixed

- A random connectivity issue caused by T3/T4 timeouts when operating in Upstream Channel Bonded (USCB) mode has been resolved. Previously, the SBCM would stop ranging on an upstream after a RNG-RSP ABORT is received from the CMTS for one of the upstream bonded channels, causing the unit to reset. Now the unit will not reset, but continue operating in Upstream Partial Service Mode, utilizing upstream channels that fall within the allowable DOCSIS upstream transmit power ranges. (SB-2790, SB-2643, SB-2638)

-----------------------

In English: Because of a firmware bug, the modem was over-sensitive to any kind of line problem, and lost the connection completely when a problem was encountered. The firmware update corrects this. Now, if one channel is out of range, the modem ignores that channel and uses the channels that remain in-range - i.e., the modem maintains a partial (slower) connection instead of dropping the connection completely.

You can see from my modem log (which I saved) that the horrible "flapping" problem I experienced (constantly dropped connections - sometimes every few minutes) was caused by this bug. Look at the excerpt below. See how the T3 and T4 timeouts are causing "critical errors" (lost connection)?

-----------------------

Feb 22 2013 15:44:31 5-Warning T202.0 Lost MDD Timeout;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 15:44:09 3-Critical T05.0 SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Loss of Sync;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 15:37:30 5-Warning Z00.0 MIMO Event MIMO: Stored MIMO=-1 post cfg file MIMO=-1;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Jan 01 1970 00:00:14 6-Notice Cable Modem Reboot due to T4 timeout ;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:00:00:00:00:00;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 15:34:21 3-Critical R04.0 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received - T4 time out;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 15:32:57 5-Warning T202.0 Lost MDD Timeout;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 15:32:34 3-Critical T05.0 SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Loss of Sync;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 15:02:30 5-Warning Z00.0 MIMO Event MIMO: Stored MIMO=-1 post cfg file MIMO=-1;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Jan 01 1970 00:00:14 6-Notice Cable Modem Reboot due to T4 timeout ;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:00:00:00:00:00;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 14:59:58 3-Critical R04.0 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received - T4 time out;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 14:58:23 5-Warning T202.0 Lost MDD Timeout;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 14:57:59 3-Critical T05.0 SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Loss of Sync;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 22 2013 12:57:16 6-Notice D106.0 DHCP Renew - lease parameters time server-24.29.158.48;tftp file-?BBgdiSyUzLlFew0KMW7Z@CjFu2VTmP4thsTV83CGcYVp2JONZj0g3 modified;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 18 2013 10:37:25 3-Critical R07.0 Unicast Ranging Received Abort Response - initializing MAC;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 18 2013 09:21:43 5-Warning Z00.0 MIMO Event MIMO: Stored MIMO=-1 post cfg file MIMO=-1;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Jan 01 1970 00:00:14 6-Notice Cable Modem Reboot due to power reset ;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:00:00:00:00:00;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 17 2013 22:31:28 3-Critical R07.0 Unicast Ranging Received Abort Response - initializing MAC;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 12 2013 16:32:29 6-Notice D106.0 DHCP Renew - lease parameters time server-24.29.158.48;tftp file-?BBgdiSyUzLlFew0KMW7Z@CjFu2U1F_xuMzGcv41OSB7zwsiEVTiiI modified;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

Feb 12 2013 09:21:10 3-Critical R02.0 No Ranging Response received - T3 time-out;CM-MAC=94:cc:b9:45:7b:0d;CMTS-MAC=00:21:55:cb:62:b0;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;

----------------------

Motorola released another firmware version shortly after the big fix - v1.0.6.10. At the time I gave up on the modem (since TWC would not update the firmware on customer-owned modems), this was the current release. I think it still is. Here's a link to a scan of the release notes for that version (see page 23 in the comments if Amazon deletes it):

[...]

If you read the "Defects Fixed" section, you'll see more corrections to timing issues - but the big problem was fixed in v1.0.6.8, which is what ships with the WHITE modem (the retail version).

I'm now using a TWC-owned modem because of their adamant refusal to update the firmware on customer-owned modems. I still have plenty of errors in my modem log, but this modem (with its non-buggy firmware) recovers gracefully from the crappy lines and equipment around here.

*************** BOTTOM LINE!!! ***************

CONFIRM WITH YOUR ISP THAT THEY WILL UPDATE THE FIRMWARE OF CUSTOMER-OWNED MODEMS - AND THE SB6141 SPECIFICALLY - BEFORE BUYING THIS MODEM. IF THEY WILL NOT, DO NOT BUY THIS MODEM!! AS IS, IT IS FAULTY.

THE WHITE MODEM HAS A LATER VERSION OF THE FIRMWARE - THE ONE THAT FIXES THE DEADLY "DROPPED CONNECTIONS" BUG. IF YOU WANT TO BE SAFE (NO MAJOR FIRMWARE BUGS AND A MODEM UNDER WARRANTY), BUY THAT ONE.
200 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast, increased bandwidth, ready for IpV6 addressing Sept. 16 2012
By J. Clement - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
As many of you, I am a Time Warner customer. I was disappointed with my bandwidth speed. I was paying for "Turbo" at an extra five dollars per month but was't seeing an improvement (I tried on heavy and light usage days / periods). So I purchased this cable modem, after reviewing the compatible modems, on Time Warner's site. Be sure to check the list of modems allowed by your provider FIRST.

I opted for the SB6141 DOCSIS because it is has the IPV6 addressing system, is backward compatible and its channel bonding technology to boost my bandwidth speed. The IPV4 addressing is used up (predicted to be end of this year) the internet community will be going to the new IPV6 addressing system.
Granted bandwidth is limited to the CAP set by your provider but your equipment plays a part. Before I bought this modem I was using one from Time Warner. My best speed test (using speedtest.net) was 5.94 Mbps download and 1.92 Mbps upload. As of this morning, my latest test, shows 34.35 Mbps download and 1.92 Mbps upload. The upload limit is obviously kept by Time Warner to discourage uploading of large files (music libraries ,etc.).

It is built on the DOCSIS 3.0 standard (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification). This is the latest version of DOCSIS. It also means that it uses channel bonding technology to gain access to the unused bandwidth capacity available on your network, in effect, boosting your bandwidth speeds.

The modem has 8 download and 4 upload channels. This means that the provider can (doesn't but could) offer data rates over 300 Mbps download and over 100 Mbps upload (at least not to home users). Each channel is capable of 40 Mbps, theoretically, for a maximum of 320 Mbps. But your provider "caps" the maximum at a much lower number. On a home system if you are getting 30+ Mbps you are doing extremely well.

I have 12 devices running off my home network so I am pleased with the results. I also bought a Cisco Linksys E2500 dual band router which basically places six on each band.

Just an FYI: You have to call Time Warner, go through the lengthy process of explaining that you have bought your own modem to replace their modem. You want to have it added to their network. You will have to provide MAC address and SERIAL number of your device, name of the modem including model number and then wait up to two days for them to make the switch. I know, ridiculous right?

Another FYI: The power light at top will be green, the second light blue, next two lights green and last light blinking orange (GigE-RJ45) unless you have Gigabit capability (offers up to 1 gig Mbps transfer speeds). You need a gigabit router, gigabit ethernet card to take advantage of the increased speed AND a provider that offers it. The GigE-RJ45 allows you to obtain Gigabit rates using the same 10/100/1000 ethernet Cat 5e or 6e cables instead of needing Fiber Optic cable. Its geared toward small to medium sized business owners.

Pros: offers AES enhanced AES encryption security, channel banding technology, GIGe-RJ45 port, compatible with EuroDOCSIS, has built-in filter to reduce interference from MoCa signals, easy to access menu, easy to set up and cost less than its predecessors.

I would definitely recommend this product and suggest upgrading to a dual band router.
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars As others have said, Black versions are likely to be used April 21 2013
By Archie77 - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I purchased this modem without a second thought due to the overall good reviews and the relatively low price.

The modem arrived on time, in a brown Motorola box. At first glance, everything seemed fine. The box included the modem and an Ethernet cable, both wrapped in plastic bags with the standard safety warning stickers sealing the modem bag. It also came with a safety instructions book, but oddly no manual (which should have tipped me off, now that I think back).

After taking the modem out of the bag, I noticed some scratches on the front side. I attributed this to minor damage incurred during shipment and simply shrugged it off.

I plugged the modem in, gave my ISP a call and had them activate the modem for me. Everything seemed fine... until I went to do a speedtest. I was getting about 1/6th my normal download, and oddly 3x my normal upload speed... but it felt VERY sluggish. I called the company back, they ran some diagnostics and let me know that I was showing some major packet loss, and that they would send a tech to help me resolve the issue.

Long story short, the tech came by and spent about an hour and a half trying to get my modem up and running. He did everything from reducing the number of splitters in my home to boosting my signal and could not figure out why the modem would not be working correctly. In the end, he said it could only be a modem related problem.

I did a quick search online, and sure enough I'm not the only one to have had a bad experience with the black version of this modem. As other reviewers have already stated, the black versions are sold only to cable companies and the white ones are sold by retailers. Black ones will have likely been purchased by a cable company at some point, so have a high likelihood that they were used fairly extensively as rental modems.

I returned the black version, and I went back and purchased a white version. It arrived in a completely different box with a picture of the modem on it (and a manual inside!). The white one is now sitting next to me, working flawlessly. I would actually highly recommend the WHITE version, as it tripled my upload speed and boosted my download speed a bit as well. The same can't be said about this black version, unfortunately.

Due to the number of good reviews for this product, I suppose it's one of those YMMV situations. Perhaps you'll get lucky and end up with one that was more lightly used. However, there are enough negative reviews that this can't be a coincidence.

It does irk me a bit that sellers are trying to pass this off as new. I feel "lucky" that mine never worked as I can return it and suffer no monetary loss. However, I do feel for those who bought one that broke months later and will likely not be able to return theirs.

I personally wouldn't take the risk with this black version.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Modem has OLD FIRMWARE! ISP will not update! April 5 2013
By nsquared - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, I did not see permutations review for this product before I bought this modem, but I wish I had. It would have saved me the trouble from returning it. The black version of the SB6141 is provided to ISP's for their use. The consumer version is the white model which should have the latest version of the firmware. I cannot confirm this since I don't own one. You can tell on the black SB6141 page how limited the information is, the brown box packaging, and the utilitarian steel back panel. Compare this to the white model which has the much more verbose manufacturer's description on the product page, the retail packaging, and the color-coded back panel.

The MAJOR problem with this modem is that it is loaded with the outdated firmware version 1.0.6.3 from Aug 18 2011. This version is known to have a serious bug that causes it to lose connectivity constantly. My ISP, SuddenLink, would not update the firmware to the latest version because it was a customer-owned cable modem. According to the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, the ISP is the only channel for updating the firmware. If your ISP won't do it, then there is no way to update it.

Beware of this product! Check with your ISP first if they will update the firmware. If not, this product is not worth it.

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