Arris Surfboard SB8200 vs. Motorola MB8600 – Which Is Best For You?

The main difference between the Arris SB8200 and Motorola MB8600 is compatibility with ISPs, design, and cost. The performance is the same. Both modems offer maximum speeds of up to 2000 Mbps with port bonding.

That said, the SB8200 is compatible with more ISPs, but the Motorola MB8600 is most often cheaper (price change all the time).

Choose the SB8200 if you have an ISP that isn’t compatible with the MB8600, otherwise get the MB8600.

Motorola MB8600

Overall Winner

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

Arris SB8200

More Compatible

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

I’m Jon, a home networking aficionado. I’ve tested several modems on my home Internet, and I made this guide to help you decide whether the SB8200 or MB8600 is best for you. 

So, let’s look at the pros, cons, and key differences between each option. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Arris SB8200 and Motorola MB8600 are both fast and future-proof, capable of supporting plans up to 2000 Mbps.
  • Both modems support plans up to 1000 Mbps with a single Ethernet connection and up to 2000 Mbps with port bonding.
  • Port bonding requires two IP addresses and a compatible modem, which you should plan for if you want 2000 Mbps Internet in your home. 
  • The Arris Surfboard modem supports more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) than the Motorola MB8600. 

Arris SB8200 & Motorola MB8600 Compared

Here is a brief comparison of the critical specifications of the SB8200 and MB8600.

Recommended forPlans over 2000 MbpsPlans up to 2000 Mbps
Tops Speeds2000 Mbps (2 Gbps)2000 Mbps (2 Gbps)
Compatible ISP’sArmstrong, Breezeline, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Grande, Mediacom, Midco, Suddenlink, WOW, Sparklight, Optimum, RCN, WaveArmstrong, Breezeline, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Mediacom, Midco, Suddenlink, WOW, Sparklight
Not supported ISPsN/AAstound Broadband (RCN, Grande, or Wave), Optimum
PortsTwo gigabit Ethernet ports & 1 × Coax port1 open and 3 masked 1G Ethernet LAN & 1 × Coax
Future proofFuture-proofFuture-proof
Ethernet aggregation Yes, by using two 1 Gbps Ethernet portsYes, by using two 1 Gbps Ethernet ports
DOCSIS 3.13.1
Dimensions5 x 2 x 5 inches7.25 × 2.25 × 7.88 inches
Weight23.36 ounces18.4 ounces
GamingVery goodVery good
Warranty 2 years2 years
Winner Loser

First Thoughts

Both the Arris SB8200 and Motorola MB8600 are good modems for most home internet plans. And while they have similar performance, handle speeds up to 2000 Mbps, and will future-proof your home very well, they have some key differences. 

Mainly, the Arris SB8200 is slightly more expensive but works with more ISPs. It is good for people that already have access to cable Internet plans over 2.0 Gbps or want to be prepared when their ISP starts offering it.  

Conversely, the Motorola MB8600 is just as fast and usually less expensive but doesn’t work with as many ISPs.  It’s best for people with a compatible ISP or who prefer the Motorola brand. 

Arris Surfboard SB8200 Review

Arris Surfboard Sb8200 Overview

The Arris SB8200 is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem that supports speeds up to 2000 Mbps (2 Gbps). This makes it future-proof and a good choice if you don’t want to worry about upgrading it for years. 

It is a top-performing modem, reliable, simple to set up, and reasonably affordable for its performance. Plus, it works with virtually any ISP

While the SB8200 supports plans up to 2000 Mbps, it does this with Ethernet aggregation (AKA port bonding). With port bonding, you combine two Ethernet connections into a single data stream to increase your bandwidth/Internet speed. [1]

But port bonding has some downsides– mainly, you have to have a compatible router, and you need two IP addresses (which means you have to pay for two Internet plans). 

If you don’t use port bonding, the SB8200 works with Internet plans as fast as 1000 Mbps. So, if your plan is much slower than 1000 Mbps, you won’t need to use port bonding. 

That said, it would be a good choice if you are planning for a speed increase from your ISP in the next few years. However, don’t buy this modem if you plan to upgrade to a fiber Internet plan. 

Get a lower-cost option instead since fiber Internet doesn’t use modems, and you would be throwing money down the drain. 

Read our entire review of the Arris Surfboard SB8200 for more information. 

Motorola MB8600 Review

MB8600 Overview

Like the SB8200, the Motorola MB8600 is another fast and future-proof modem; it also supports 2000 Mbps and is a DOCSIS 3.1 unit. Just like the SB8200, it has two 1G (1000 Mbps) ethernet ports, which you can combine them into one data stream with Ethernet aggregation.

The setup for the MB8600 is easy, the reliability is excellent, and it has great build quality. It is usually a bit less expensive than the Arris SB8200, so it’s a good option if you want to save some money.

It is compatible with most Internet providers. The only known providers it has issues with are Astound (RCN, Grande, and Wave) and Optimum, unlike the SB8200.

All in all, the MB8600 is a great option if you have a 1000 Mbps Internet plan, want to future-proof your network, have a compatible ISP, and want to save a little bit of money over the Arris Surfboard SB8200.

Read our full review of the Motorola MB8600 for more details.

Performance – Draw

Since the Arris Surfboard SB8200 and the Motorola MB8600 are both DOCSIS 3.1 modems supporting speeds up to 2 Gbps (2000 Mbps), they are tied for performance. 

They both use two 1.0 Gbps Ethernet ports, which you can combine into a single 2.0 Gbps data stream with port bonding/Ethernet aggregation to reach this speed. 

Port bonding is complex to set up. Plus, you need two IP addresses from your ISP (which usually doubles your Internet bill) and a compatible router. So, it is not the most economical option to reach 2000 Mbps. 

That said, if you have 1000 Mbps or slower Internet plans, both modems are a good option. 

However, if you want a faster modem with a single Ethernet connection, check out the Motorola MB8611. It supports speeds up to 2.5 Gbps without port bonding. 

Both modems use DOCSIS 3.1, the newest cable transmission of Internet Protocol (IP) data services standard. 

It’s more secure, faster, has lower latency, and uses less power than the previous standard (DOCSIS 3.0). Most ISPs these days use DOCSIS 3.1, but some still use DOCIS 3.0. 

With those ISPs, a DOCSIS 3.1 modem will still work since they are backward compatible. 

To learn more about DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1, read our detailed guide

Compatibility – Winner SB8200

The Arris Surfboard SB8200 is approved by almost every ISP. In fact, we don’t know of any ISP it is incompatible with. 

That said, it is possible it may not work with a small/regional ISP. But given its tens of thousands of glowing reviews, this likely is not a problem. 

“Approve” and “compatible” means the ISP or a third party tested and verified the modem works on their network. 

Just because the SB8200 has excellent compatibility, it doesn’t mean the Motorola MB8600 is bad. In fact, the MB8600 has above-average ISP compatibility, with only a handful of ISPs it doesn’t work with. 

The Motorola MB8600 does not work with these ISPs

  • Astound Broadband (RCN, Grande, or Wave) and Optimum

SB8200 Supported ISPs

Here are the approved ISPs for the Arris Surfboard SB8200: 

  • Armstrong
  • Breezeline
  • Comcast Xfinity
  • Charter Spectrum
  • Cox
  • Grande
  • Mediacom
  • Midco
  • Suddenlink
  • WOW
  • Sparklight
  • Optimum
  • RCN
  • Wave

This is not a complete list, other ISPs are compatible. Verify with your ISP if you’re planning to get one. 

MB8600 Supported ISPs

The Motorola MB8600 is compatible with the following ISPs: 

  • Armstrong
  • Breezeline
  • Comcast Xfinity
  • Charter Spectrum
  • Cox
  • Mediacom
  • Midco
  • Suddenlink
  • WOW
  • Sparklight

The MB8600 might work with other ISPs. This isn’t an extensive list, either. Call your ISP and ask them if it works first.

If neither modem works with your ISP, see  our approved modems page to find one that does.  

Design – Winner MB8600

Both modems have appealing and modern designs. Even though the Motorola MB8600 (7.25 × 2.25 × 7.88 inches) is physically bigger than the Arris SB8200 (5 x 2 x 5 inches), I believe its design is better. 

First, the MB8600 is taller but slimmer, meaning it takes up less desk space than the SB8200. And it has a classic black and gray color scheme. 

Secondly, the MB8600 has better venting– which will keep it cooler than the SB8200. This isn’t to say overheating is an issue for the SB8200, but higher heat does degrade things faster. 

Still, I think the SB8200 has a good design. If you favor the white color and its smaller height, you may like it more. It’s also wall-mountable, which would completely free up desk/shelf space. But mounting it on the wall will block some vents. 

Setup – Winner MB8600

The Motorola MB8600 is the easiest modem to set up– it is fast and straightforward. It took under five minutes to get up and running. 

And while the SB8200 is easy as well, we had to restart it a few times and try again to get it connected to the Internet. But setting it up didn’t take much longer, although frustrating. 

Both modems come with easy-to-understand steps–

  1. Plug the coax cable from your ISP into the modem. 
  2. Connect the modem to your router or computer with an Ethernet cable.
  3. Connect the power cables and wait until the lights turn on.
  4. Active the modem through your ISP’s self-activation page (which loads through any web browser on your network). Or call your ISP to activate it by providing the modem’s MAC address, which is on its label. 

For both the Arris Surfboard SB8200 and the Motorola MB8600, you can access their modem pages by typing the IP address into your browser. 

The modem pages let you view logs, status, and other information about your network. [2]

Here is the setup guide for the SB8200 and the MB8600 if you want to review them before purchasing.

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

Value – Winner MB8600

In my opinion, the Motorola MB8600 has the best value over the Arris Surfboard SB8200. 

Even though they are similarly priced, the MB8600 is almost always available for a lower price. However, depending on sales and the merchant, you might be able to find the SB8200 for cheaper.

That said, both modems are affordable for the performance they deliver, as you can access speeds up to 2,000 Mbps if (or when) your ISP offers it. 

So, if your singular goal is to future-proof your home neither and want the lowest cost option, look at both the MB8600 and SB8200 and choose the one that costs the least (usually the MB8600). 


Here are some frequent questions about the Motorola MB8600 and Arris Surfboard SB8200.

What’s the difference between the Motorola MB8600 and Arris SB8200?

The main difference is that the SB8200 is compatible with more ISPs and usually costs more than the MB8600. Also, the MB8600 is black and gray in color and is slimmer and taller than the white SB8200. 

Are Motorola and Arris the same company?

In 2013, Arris purchased Motorola Home Products. Although Motorola is under the Arris parent company, the products are different, but some share internal components. [3]

Are the MB8600 and SB8200 modems or routers?

The Motorola MB8600 and Arris Surfboard SB8200 are both modems. Modems connect to the ISP’s connection (coax) cable and convert the datastream to your router. The router (a separate device) makes your Wi-Fi network and manages all the traffic from your devices. 

Final Thoughts

The Arris Surfboard SB8200 and Motorola MB8600 are both future-proof (DOCSIS 3.1) and fast. They are capable of speeds of up to 2000 Mbps (2.0 Gbps) with port bonding/Ethernet aggregation or 1000 Mbps (1.0 Gbps) with a single connection. 

Overall, the Arris SB8200 is compatible with more ISPs, but the Motorola MB8600 is typically more affordable. So, if you want to save a couple of dollars, the MB8600 is a better option. But if you have an ISP incompatible with the MB8600, choose the SB8200. In either case, you’ll get similar performance.  

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