Is it worth getting a DOCSIS 3 cable modem for premium cable internet service? I currently have a 3-4 year old Motorola Surfboard DOCSIS 2 cable modem from my last apartment, but I am now paying for premium cable internet service.

Will I see significant performance improvement, and increases download speed or bandwidth?

  • The DOCSIS 3 modem I have was far reliable/stable then the DOCSIS 2 in my experience. I didn't really pay much attention to speed/bandwidth. Link stability was the issue I was trying to resolve. – Zoredache Dec 7 '10 at 23:18
  • also depends on what the speeds of your "premium" service are supposed to be – Xantec Dec 7 '10 at 23:40
  • If they're offering the higher speeds supported by DOCSIS 3, this is a no-brainer. – Fiasco Labs May 31 '13 at 1:47

Call up your ISP and ask if you're hooked up to DOCSIS3 backbone. If not, there will be almost no gain, speed-wise. You might get a little better stability and reliability, if you get a good modem (but that would be true for a good 2.0 modem, too). Even if you are connected to the DOCSIS3 infrastructure, you might get nothing out of a new modem. DOCSIS2 supports speeds up to 38/50 Mbps (US/Eur), so if you're paying for a slower connection (say 20Mbps), there's really no point. If you're paying for something near the upper limit (35Mbps), you probably will more often approach your maximum speed (if the network is managed properly).

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According to Wikipedia, DOCSIS 3.0 is, concerning speed, essentially DOCSIS 2.0 without a maximum number of channels. So depending on how many channels your modem has, it is that many times faster than DOCSIS 2.0.

Wikipedia states that there's usually either 4 or 8 channels which would throughput approx. 175 or 359 Mbps, which is about 21 MBps or 42 MBps, respectively.

Which is a LOT faster.

Practically though, you might not notice the difference unless you stream 1080p Youtube or test out Linux distros on a regular basis. But even more practically, a DOCSIS 3.0 modem's about $100 or €60-ish. That's not much unless you're strapped for cash like me. Even if it turns out to be unnoticably faster (which it may in extremely urban or rural areas) then you basically don't get to buy 5 DVDs.

Which isn't a problem since you can rent movies for iTunes on that superfast network.

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