"Did somebody say Wi-Fi 7?"
And with that, CommScope — the owner of the ARRIS and its Surfboard brands since late 2018 — today announced the flagship SURFboard G54 DOCSIS 3.1 Quad-band Wi-Fi 7 Cable Modem.
The new device will likely be the most powerful of its type on the market when available for purchase. And with it, CommScope has shown its continued intention to be one of the first vendors in the retail Wi-Fi market.
In late 2019, the company was one of the first to release Wi-Fi 6 mesh hardware, the SURFboard mAX series.
SURFboard G54: First Multi-Gig Wi-Fi 7 Cable gateway
There are some noteworthy things about the SURFboard G54 cable "modem".
First, it's the company's first Wi-Fi 7 device, which is significant.
And secondly, it's a misnomer. Technically, the SURFboard G54 is a lot more than a"modem". It's a gateway that's generally a box that includes a Cable modem and a Wi-Fi 7 router. But, it's not exactly wrong to it a modem, either, and, as the maker, the vendor can name a product whatever it pleases.
If you follow my work, you'd note how I've been so tired of folks calling "modem," "router," and "gateway" interchangeably. It's super confusing and can cause issues when troubleshooting a home network.
That triviality aside, here's the third and final noteworthy thing about the G54: It has impressive hardware specs.
SURFboard G54: Preliminary hardware specifications
Like all Wi-Fi 7 hardware recently announced, the SURFboard G54 is still early in development, so its details are still sketchy. The photos you see here alone seem to be artists' renderings which might or might not be the same as the final product.
Still, the new gateway is impressive if we take CommScope's word at face value. Specifically, the router portion sports Quad-band Wi-Fi with a total bandwidth of 17880Mbps (BE17880).
It's still unclear how much bandwidth each band of the gateway has but here is what the company says about its Wi-Fi bands:
- 2.4 GHz band for IoT and low-bandwidth devices
- 5 GHz low band for Wi-Fi 5 devices
- 5 GHz high band for Wi-Fi 6/7 devices
- 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi 6E/7 devices
And apart from the F-Connector (for Cable Internet,) the G54 also has a 10GbE Multi-Gig port and four Gigabit LAN ports to host wired clients.
It's disappointing that the new hardware has only one Multi-Gig port — you won't be able to enjoy this port's speed unless you have 10GbE broadband, which is not currently available in the world of Cable Internet.
But you can use this port to host a superfast server to deliver concurrent full Gigabit connections to four wired clients and Wi-Fi devices.
As a Wi-Fi 7 device, it features all the goodies of the new standard. On the WAN side, CommScope says the G54 supports DOCSIS 3.1, capable of receiving Multi-Gigabit Internet from a supported Cable Internet service provider.
Availability and pricing
CommScope says the new SURFboard G54 DOCSIS 3.1 Quad-band Wi-Fi 7 Cable Modem will be available mid-2023, with pricing released closer to the launch.
But there's no rush. Generally, consumers won't be able to enjoy Wi-Fi 7 until devices supporting this standard are available, which is likely not before the end of the year.
In the meantime, I'll update this post when more information becomes available. Check back for more.