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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 2024.

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ARRIS S33 vs Motorola MB8611: Comparison Chart

TraitsArris S33Motorola MB8611Winner
Channels32 x 8 / 2 x 232 x 8 / 2 x 2DRAW
SpeedsUp to 2.5 GbpsUp to 2.5 GbpsDRAW
RAM1GB (512MB x 2)512MBARRIS S33
Ports1 x 2.5G + 1G Port1 x 2.5G PortDRAW
Link AggregationNoNoDRAW
Compatible ISPsCox, Comcast Xfinity,
Spectrum, WOW!
Cox, Comcast Xfinity, WOW!,
Mediacom, Suddenlink
Dimensions5.24 x 5.24 x 1.65 inches7.88 x 7.25 x 2.25 inchesARRIS S33
Price (Value for Money)$199$169Motorola 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.

Arris Surfboard S33
Arris Surfboard S33
Motorola MB8611
Motorola MB8611