Arris Surfboard S33 vs. SB8200 – Which Is Best For You?

The main differences between the Arris S33 and SB8200 are the Internet speeds they can handle and their price. 

The Arris Surfboard S33 works with Internet plans up to 2500 Mbps (2.5 Gbps). The lower-cost Arris Surfboard SB8200 works with plans up to 2000 Mbps (2.0 Gbps) using port bonding. 

So, if you have a cable Internet plan with speeds over 2000 Mbps, don’t want to deal with port bonding, and want to future-proof your network the best, choose the S33. 

On the other hand, if you have an Internet plan slower than 2000 Mbps and don’t mind setting up port bonding, the SB8200 is a good alternative.  

Arris Surfboard S33

Better Overall

  • Performance – Winner
  • Compatibility – Tie
  • Design – Tie
  • Setup – Tie
  • Value for Money – Winner

Arris SB8200

Cheaper Option

  • Performance – Loser
  • Compatibility – Tie
  • Design – Tie
  • Setup – Tie
  • Value for Money – Loser

I’m Jon, an engineer and home networking enthusiast. I’ve tested several modems and compiled this guide to help you decide which of these two Arris modems is right for your home. 

So, keep reading to learn all the details. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Arris Surfboard S33 is more future-proof than the SB8200 (which is still decently future-proof). 
  • The S33 is more expensive but faster (up to 2500 Mbps). However, the SB8200 is still plenty fast (up to 2000 Mbps with port bonding). 
  • The SB8200 has two 1000 Mbps LAN ports. If you want to reach speeds up to 2000 Mbps, you have to combine them with port bonding/Ethernet aggregation. 
  • The S33 also has two LAN ports, a 2500 Mbps and a 1000 Mbps port. You can’t use port bonding with the S33, but you can use the second port to make a separate network. 

Arris Surfboard S33 & SB8200 Compared

Here is a brief specification comparison table for the S33 and SB8200. 

Recommended forS33SB8200
Tops Speeds2500 Mbps (2.5 Gbps)2000 Mbps (2 Gbps)
Compatible ISPsArmstrong, Breezeline, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Cox, GCI, Grande, Mediacom, Midco, Suddenlink, WOW, Sparklight, Optimum, RCN, WaveArmstrong, Breezeline, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Grande, Mediacom, Midco, Suddenlink, WOW, Sparklight, Optimum, RCN, Wave
Not supported ISPsN/AN/A
Ports1 × 2.5 Gbps LAN, 1 x 1.0 Gbps LAN, & 1 × CoaxTwo gigabit Ethernet ports & 1 × Coax port
Future-proofFuture-proofReasonably future-proof
Ethernet aggregation NoYes, by using two 1 Gbps Ethernet ports
DOCSIS 3.1 3.1
Dimensions5.14 x 1.8 x 4.74 inches5 x 2 x 5 inches
Weight16.32 ounces23.36 ounces
Recommended forPlans up to 2500 MbpsPlans up to 2000 Mbps
Winner Loser

S33 Review

The Arris Surfboard S33 is one of the fastest and most future-proof DOCSIS 3.1 modems on the market today. It supports Internet plans up to 2500 Mbps with a single Ethernet connection.

And it sports a second LAN port that can handle speeds up to 1000 Mbps. 

However, you can’t combine the 2500 Mbps and 1000 Mbps ports with port bonding (unlike the SB8200); they are separate. And to use both, you’ll need separate IPs for Internet service (or your Internet plan needs to support two static IPs).

With the second 1000 Mbps LAN port, you can use it to isolate a computer with a separate network. Or you can connect it to another router to make a secondary Wi-Fi network for guests or children (with parental controls on). 

In terms of network compatibility, the S33 works with almost every ISP. In fact, we haven’t heard of any ISP it doesn’t work with. 

Despite some minor setup frustrations, the S33 is one of the best cable modems available. It is fast, future-proof, affordable, and works with just about all ISPs. 

To learn more information about the Arris Surfboard S33, read our entire review

SB8200 Review

Like the Arris S33, the Arris Surfboard SB8200 is a fast, decently future-proof DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem. It works with Internet plans up to 2000 Mbps, so you probably won’t have to upgrade it for several years. 

But, with a single Ethernet connection, It can only support Internet plans up to 1000 Mbps. However, if your ISP offers plans greater than 1000 Mbps, you must set up its port bonding (Ethernet aggregation) feature. 

Port bonding combines two Ethernet (LAN) connections into a single data stream. With Ethernet aggregation, the SB2000 can reach speeds up to 2000 Mbps (which is still slower than the S33’s single 2500 Mbps port). 

Port bonding sounds simple, but it has some drawbacks. First, you need two IP addresses from your ISP, which usually costs extra.

Secondly, you have to use a compatible router, which is usually more expensive and probably not a feature on your current router. 

That said, if your Internet plan is much slower than 1000 Mbps, you won’t have to worry about port bonding.

However, port bonding is good to have for future speed upgrades from your ISP. Just don’t get this modem if your ISP will offer a fiber Internet plan soon. 

Fiber Internet doesn’t use modems. In that case, it would be a better choice to get a lower-cost modem while waiting for a fiber Internet upgrade would be a better choice. 

Overall, the SB2000 is reliable, fast, simple to set up, and reasonably priced. And just the S33, it works with almost every ISP. 

See our entire review of the Arris Surfboard SB8200 for more details.

Performance – Winner Arris Surfboard S33

Since the S33 has a single 2.5 Gbps LAN port, it is the clear winner performance-wise. 

On the flip side, the SB8200 has two 1.0 Gbps Ethernet ports. You can combine these into a single 2.0 Gbps data stream with port bonding, which is complex compared to using a single port. Plus, it is still 500 Mbps slower than 2.5 Gbps. 

That said, most ISPs’ fastest plans top out at around 1000 Mbps. For example, where I live, the fastest available plan is 1200 Mbps. 

Personally, I’d choose the Arris Surfboard S33 instead of the SB8200 for my 1200 Mbps Internet plan. That way, I could plug in a single Ethernet connection and be set. 

Otherwise, I would have to set up port bonding with the Arris Surfboard SB8200 to take full advantage of the 1200 Mbps I pay for (since each Ethernet connection has a 1000 Mbps limit).

Alternatively, I could use a single Ethernet port of the Arris SB8200, but then I’d be wasting 200 Mbps out of the 1200 Mbps my ISP provides. 

The S33 and SB8200 use DOCSIS 3.1, the newest standard for cable transmission of Internet Protocol (IP) data services. 

DOCSIS 3.1 is faster, more secure, uses less power, and has lower latency than DOCSIS 3.0 (the previous standard). Most ISPs these days are already on DOCSIS 3.1. But a few are not. 

In that case, you need not worry. Both of these modems are backward compatible with DOCSIS 3.0. But they’d be overkill since DOCSIS 3.0 Internet plans can’t get anywhere near 2 Gbps. 

To see more details about DOCSIS 3.1 and 3.0, read our detailed guide.

Compatibility – Draw

The Arris Surfboard S33 and SB8200 are two of the most ISP-compatible cable modems on the market. 

“Compatible” and “approved” means someone tested and verified the modem works with the ISP. But sometimes, it just means the modem meets the ISP’s requirements. 

Both the S33 and SB8200 are approved for almost all ISPs, with no known incompatible ones. With that said, these modems may not be approved for some smaller ISPs. 

That said, if your ISP isn’t on the approved list for one of these modems, that doesn’t mean it won’t work. It usually just means it wasn’t tested or documented yet. 

In that case, it is best to contact your ISP to verify modem compatibility before you buy one. 

For additional information regarding approved modems for ISPs, see here

S33 and SB8200 Supported ISPs

The Arris S33 and SB8200 are approved for the following ISPs:

  • Comcast Xfinity
  • Spectrum
  • Cox
  • Astound Broadband (Grande)
  • Astound Broadband (RCN)
  • Astound Broadband (Wave)
  • Breezeline (formerly Atlantic Broadband)
  • Mediacom 
  • Optimum (in some areas)
  • Sparklight 
  • Suddenlink (careful on plans slower than 200 Mbps)
  • WOW! 

Design – Draw

The Arris Surfboard S33 and SB8200 have unique designs and color schemes. They are off-white and have a retro appeal, whereas most cable modems of this caliber are black and/or dark gray. 

But that’s not to say they have a bad design; it is just not what you might expect. Some may prefer the old-school colors that are reminiscent of 1990s computers. 

Size-wise, both the modems have a slim, vertical orientation that doesn’t take up much shelf or desk space. But in terms of shape, the S33 and SB8200 noticeably differ. The S33 is more of a cylindrical-type shape, and the SB8200 is more rectangular. 

Their status indicator lights are also quite different. The SB8200’s LEDs are arranged in the traditional way– vertically on the front face. They indicate power, downstream, upstream, Ethernet, and Internet connection. 

On the other hand, the S33 has a single status LED, which changes colors based on the network status or any issue present. It’s a bit harder to decode than the SB8200. 

The LEDs on both modems are too bright, enough to light up a dark room during the night. However, you can disable them on the modem setting page. 

On the back of the modems, the S33 has a 2.5 Gbps LAN port, a 1.0 Gbps LAN port, a coax connector, a reset button, and a power port. 

The Arris Surfboard SB8200 has two 1.0 Gbps LAN ports (combinable with Ethernet aggregation and a compatible router), a coax connector, a reset button, and a power port. 

Setup – Draw

While we were able to set up both the S33 and SB8200 in a reasonable time, we experienced some frustrations with both of them. 

The Arris S33 was the easier of the two. Arris recommend you use their app to set it up, which is too clunky and troublesome. Calling your ISP to set it is your best bet. 

On the other hand, we had to restart the SB8200 a few times to get it to connect to our Internet. 

Just a minor hold-up on setting up each modem, which only added a few minutes to their setup. But still, quite longer than other leading brands like Netgear and Motorola. 

You can set up each modem with these easy-to-follow steps–

  1. Plugin the coax cable from your wall into the back of the modem. 
  2. Connect your modem to your computer or router with an Ethernet cable.
  3. Plugin the power cables and wait until all the lights turn on.
  4. Activate the modem on your ISP’s self-activation page– open any web browser to load it. Alternatively, you can use the Arris app or call your ISP to activate it. To activate by phone, you must tell them the modem’s MAC address, located on its label (on the back or bottom). 

To access the Arris Surfboard SB8200 and S33’s modem pages, type into your browser’s URL bar and hit Enter. 

You can see your network’s status, logs, and other information on the modem page.  [1]

For more details, see the SB8200 and S33 setup guides before purchasing.

For more assistance setting up your cable modem, read our general guide

Value – Arris Surfboard S33

In my opinion, the Arris Surfboard S33 has a better value than the SB8200. 

Sure, it costs just a little extra. But it is easier to use with Internet plans faster than 1000 Mbps and more future-proof than the SB8200. 

That said, if you have an Internet plan slower than 1000 Mbps, you can save some money by getting the SB8200. But when your ISP upgrades its plans above 1000 Mbps, you’ll have to use port bonding, which takes a bit of know-how to set up. 

Additionally, the Arris S33 has an extra Ethernet port too. Along with its 2500 Mbps port, it has an additional 1000 Mbps LAN port. 

Even though the S33 doesn’t support port bonding, you can use the 1000 Mbps connection to isolate a computer on its own network. 

Or, you can use it to make a secondary Wi-Fi network (for example, a guest network or one for children with parental controls activated). 

So, if you want to future-proof your home network the best you can, the S33 is the clear choice for just a few bucks more. 


Here are some common questions about the Arris Surfboard S33 and SB8200. 

What’s the difference between the Arris S33 and SB8200? 

The main difference between the Arris S33 and SB8200 is the speeds they support. The S33 supports up to 25000 Mbps plans with a single LAN port. 

On the other hand,  the SB8200 supports up to 2000 Mbps with port bonding. The S33 also has a second 1000 Mbps that you can use to make a separate network (no port bonding).  

What is the port bonding feature on the SB8200? 

The port bonding feature allows you to combine two data streams from your ISP into one. This allows you to achieve faster network speeds in your home. But you must get to IP addresses from your ISP, which usually costs more. 

What can I do with the second 1000 Mbps LAN port on the S33?

The second 1000 Mbps port on the S33 lets you connect directly to a computer, laptop, or router. With it, you can keep single devices off your primary network (using the 2500 Mbps port) or create a secondary network (with a second router). 

Final Thoughts

The Arris Surfboard S33 and SB8200 are both fast and future-proof DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems. 

The S33 is slightly more expensive and supports Internet plans up to 2500 Mbps with a single Ethernet connection. Plus, the S33 has an extra 1000 Mbps LAN port. The SB8200 works with internet plans up to 2000 Mbps (if you use port bonding)

If you can afford it, I suggest spending a few extra dollars to get the Arris Surfboard S33. It can support faster speeds with just one Ethernet connection and gives you better future-proofing and the versatility of creating a second network with the extra 1000 Mbps port. 

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