Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

Motorola MB8600 Review: The Go-to Gigabit DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

The Motorola MB8600 is an easy choice. At some $150, it makes a gratifying upgrade for those moving from a sub-Gigabit to a Gigabit cable broadband plan. If you’re in that situation, go for it, you won’t regret it.

Dong’s note: I tested the Motorola SM8600 with Comcast. While the modem will work with other cable providers, the experience expressed here is that of Xfinity subscribers.

Motorola MB8600 Cable Modem
The back side of the Motorola MB8600 cable modem. Note the yellow tape that covers the extra LAN ports.

Motorola MB8600 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

$149.99
8.5

Performance

9.0/10

Features and Setup

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable performance
  • Clear status lights
  • DOCSIS 3.1
  • Supported by multiple cable providers
  • Optional WAN Link Aggregation and multi-Static-IP support

Cons

  • No Multi-Gig network port
  • A bit bulky

Motorola MB8600: A frill-free DOCSIS 3.1 modem

Out of the box, the MB8600 looks like a typical cable modem. It’s a rectangle box standing on one of its sides. You’ll find the power port, the coax service port, and one Gigabit network port on the front back.

(Supposedly, you can remove the yellow tape to get access to the modem’s three extra LAN ports. These ports serve the situation where you multiple static IP addresses. You can also use the 1st and 2nd ports to form a WAN Link-Aggregation connection. Since my Internet plan is a sub-Gigabit one, I decided not to try any of these extra ports.)

The way cable modems go, the network port decides the top broadband speed this modem caps at 1Gbps. On the inside, though, the Motorola MB8600 features DOCSIS 3.1, capable of getting up to 6Gbps of Internet bandwidth from the provider. It can also works as a 32×8 DOCSIS 3.0 modem.

Motorola MB8600 Cable Modem
The Motorola MB8600’s status light are helpful for troubleshooting. Note the signal light, second from bottom.
READ  Cable Modem Explained: How to Swap an ISP-Provided Gateway with One

On the front, the modem has a vertical array of LED status lights. These are helpful during the setup process or when you need to check on your broadband connection status.

Most of the time, though, these little blue and green lights are a bit too bright. If your Internet drop is in your bedroom, it’s a good idea to cover them with a piece of tape.

Motorola MB8600 Cable Modem 4
The Motorola MB8600’s MAC address is on its underside. (Mine was blurred on purpose.)

Simple setup process

I tried the Motorola MB8600 (via a few units) with a couple of Comcast Xfinity accounts, and the setup process was straight forward. You can find detail in this post, but here is the simple breakdown:

  1. Connect the modem securely to the service cable.
  2. Turn it on and wait for the signal light (2nd from bottom) to turn on solid green.
  3. Connect a computer to the modem’s LAN to a computer. Alternatively, you can also connect this port to a WAN port of a router, then connect the computer to the router (either via Wi-Fi or a network cable.)

And you’re done with the hardware setup. Now it’s time to activate the modem. For this, you can just call the provider and give them its MAC address, located on its underside.

MB8600 Modem Web UI
The Motorola MB8600 has web user interface available at its default IP address which is 192.168.100.1

Or, you can do that yourself, which I did. When I launched a web browser on the said computer with an Xfinity account, I got directed to the activation page, where I entered my account information. And voila! Mission accomplished.

(By the way, it’s always a good idea to restart the router after the modem has been activated.)

Most other cable Intenet providers should have a similar self-activation process. But, again, when in doubt, it never hurts to give yours a call.

While generally, there are no user-accessible settings in cable modems, the SM8600 does have a web interface reachable via its default IP address, which is 192.168.100.1. The interface shows its status, logs, and other useful information about the WAN connection.

Motorola SM8600: Hardware specifications

NameMotorola MB8600 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable modem
ModelMB8600
StandardDOCSIS 3.1, DOCSIS 3.0 32×8
Top WAN speed6Gbps
Ports1x 1Gbps LAN, 1x Coax
Top Internet plan supported1Gbps
WAN Link AggregationYes
ISP supportedComcast Xfinity, Cox, others
Dimensions7.25 x 2.25 x 7.88 inches
Weight1.15 lbs
Motorola SM8600’s hardware specifications

Excellent download speeds and reliability

For this reason, I tested the Motorola MB8600 (via a few units) over two weeks with a couple of different Xfinity accounts, and the modem proved to be fast and reliable.

First of all, in the San Francisco Bay Area it consistently deliver speeds faster than that of the plan for those with a sub-Gigabit connection.

Specifically, for an account with a 400Mbps download speed, I experienced up to 460Mbps. And with a 600Mbps plan, I was able to get faster than 700Mbps. The upload speed was never faster than some 20Mbps, which is normal for all cable connections.

On the other hand, when tested with a Gigabit cable plan, the modem capped at just around 960Mbps. That was likely because a Gigabit connection generally caps at around 950Mbps after overhead.

Needless to say, your mileage will vary. Cable broadband connections tend to vary from one area to another. But it’s safe to say the Motorola MB8600 sure can deliver Gigabit-class broadband.

And it was also reliable in my testings. There was no disconnection or any other issues during my trials. I plan to continue using at least one of the units for a long time and will update this review if any problem arises.

Conclusion

If you’re having a cable plan of (close to) Gigabit, the Motorola MB8600 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem is a safe bet.

Get it and a decent router, and rest assured you’re getting the most out of your Internet connection without having to pay that pesky monthly rental fee.

14 thoughts on “Motorola MB8600 Review: The Go-to Gigabit DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem”

  1. I’ve had this modem since April of 2018 with Cox and it’s been rock solid the entire time. I’ve used it with the 300/30 service until I upgraded to Gigablast 18 months ago.

    Reply
  2. Hi Dong,
    Do you have any way of testing link aggregation with the hidden/masked ethernet ports? They are hidden behind the yellow portion on the back and are explained on the Motorola website (https://www.motorola.com/us/mb8600/p)

    “One open and 3 masked 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) LAN ports allow connection of any SINGLE device with an Ethernet port including a router, Windows/Mac computer, HDTV, game station. The multiple Ethernet ports are not for connecting multiple devices; they allow connection to a router that can bond more than one Ethernet port to achieve speeds over 1Gbps when supported by your cable service.”

    Reply
      • I’ve tested the MB8600 link aggregation with a Netgear Orbi RBR750 mesh router and you can achieve speeds of 1200Mbit/s (router to Ookla Speedtest) on an Xfinity Gigabit Internet plan due to Xfinity’s overprovisioning. The instructions clearly describe how to remove the yellow plastic panel with a paper clip to expose the aggregation port.

        Reply
  3. I bought the MB8600 last year for my gigabit cable internet connection and I am very happy. I consistently get above 900 Mbps and I paired it with an Amplifi Alien router. A wonderful combination in my opinion.

    Reply
    • Hey Dong,
      I have this modem and there are three additional Ethernet ports under the yellow plastic cover you can pry off with a paper clip on the back. I think you can feel them through the yellow cover. There are instructions on how to enable them online.

      Reply
      • That’s cool, Paul. I may mess with that. Not sure if it’s worth it compared to getting one with multiple ports readily available, though.

        Reply

Leave a Comment

Appreciate the content? ☕ Let Dong know via a Ko-Fi ❣️