Motorola SB6141 vs SB6121

Which is better? The SB6141 or SB6121?

The Motorola SB6141 has just been released in the market by Motorola and it was so hot that the modem was literally flying off the shelves at Amazon. In fact it was out of stock for a few days before Amazon managed to replenish it – albeit with only limited units.

I would assume that you would have also heard about its predecessor, the Motorola SB6121. However before you reach out for your credit card to buy the Motorola SB6141, let’s take a look at both models i.e. Motorola SB6141 vs SB6121 and then you will be able to decide which model to go for.

Before we rush to compare the differences of Motorola SB6141 vs SB6121, it is very important to understand at least on a very high level what is DOCSIS 3.0 and how it helps both the SB6141 and SB6121 cable modems to deliver the performance that customers are looking for due to the more and more demanding requirements brought about by the use of technology.

So What Is Thing Called DOCSIS?

DOCSIS actually stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. Due to the foreseeable demand for more and more speed as well as bandwidth, an international telecommunications standard called DOCSIS was created to add a high-speed data transfer mode to existing cable TV (CATV) systems. Doing so allows many cable television operators to provide Internet access over their existing hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) infrastructure without having to invest more money into newer infrastructures.

A consortium of thirteen companies specializing in networking and electronics technologies spearheaded by CableLabs jointly developed the DOCSIS standard. Some leading names in the consortium include Intel, Cisco, Netgear, Texas Instruments, Broadcom and Motorola.

The first version, DOCSIS Version 1.0 was published in March 1997 with the latest version, DOCSIS 3.0 released in August 2006. DOCSIS 3.0 was released due to increasing demands for symmetric services such as IP telephony. DOCSIS 3.0 incorporated the enhancement of both upstream and downstream transmission speeds. To ensure that existing investments are not wasted, cross-version compatibility has been maintained across all versions of DOCSIS; with the devices falling back to the highest supported version in common between both endpoints.

Channel Bonding of Motorola SB6141 vs SB6121

Both Motorola’s easy to use SB6141 and SB6121 cable modems unlocks the potential of providing additional services to customers by the service providers. By utilizing the services of DOCSIS 3.0, the Motorola SB6141 is able to channel bond up to eight downstream channels and four upstream channels while the Motorola SB6121 is capable of bonding both four upstream and downstream channels.

Through the use of the channel bonding technologies via DOCSIS 3.0, the service providers are able to offer their customers advanced multi-media services with data rates of over 300 Mbps for the Motorola SB6141 and over 160 Mbps for the Motorola SB6121. Both modems are capable of achieving over 100 Mbps when sending data.

How Does Channel Bonding Works In Both Motorola SB6141 and SB6121?

DOCSIS 3.0 allows cable Internet providers to exploit the extra capacity through channel-bonding technology. Doing so allows them to offer ultra-fast as well as other value enhanced broadband services. To look at it in a simple manner, channel bonding just combine all the smaller parallel data pipes into one large single broadband conduit.

Look at it this way – instead of just using eight single channels; each allowing a maximum of 40Mbps, what if you can combine all eight to provide a huge channel that is capable of a theoretical maximum output of 320 Mbps. That in fact is the theoretical throughput from the Motorola SB6141.

Wow, But Can I Expect 320 Mbps Of Throughput?

The answer is unfortunately, no. This is because actual speeds will vary and will often be less than the theoretical value. Another thing is that data transmission speed is always approximate and dependent upon various factors such as the network configuration, capacity of the network and the volume of the traffic on the network.

You will also never expect to get the maximum theoretical throughput in practical implementation as the throughput will generally be less due to physical layer overheads such as error correction coding (ECC), burst preamble, guard interval etc

Who Can Provide Me The Fastest Speed?

As of the end of 2011, Shaw Cable’s announcement 250 Mbit/s download 15 Mbit/s upload will be the fastest deployments in North America. Closely followed by is Videotron’s 120 Mbit/s download  and 20 Mbit/s upload service in Quebec City.

In the United Kingdom however, broadband provider Virgin Media announced on 20 April 2011 of its intention to start trials with a whopping download speeds of 1.5 Gbit/s and upload of 150 Mbit/s; again all based on the DOCSIS3.0 specifications.

Moving forward, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also urged U.S. providers to make 100 Mbit/s a standard speed available to an approximately 100 million households before 2020.

If you look at wired technologies, so far only DOCSIS, FIOS, E-line (Advanced Powerline networking with bandwidth equivalent to fiber) and Ethernet in the first mile are likely to achieve this speed on a large scale in that time frame.

Finally, Motorola SB6141 vs SB6121 – What Is The Real Difference?

For practical purposes, technically and design wise, the Motorola SB6141 is very similar to the SB6121 except for one thing – the download capacity of the SB6141 is twice the capacity of the SB6121.

Motorola SB6141’s theoretical downstream throughput is 320 Mbps because it is capable of bonding up to eight channels while the SB6121 is 160 Mbps because it can bond up to only four channels.

Unless you are subscribing to Shaw Cable (you have to check with them if you are in an area where they provide the 250 Mbps through put) or Virgin Media in the UK, then you must get the Motorola SB6141 to be able to enjoy the maximum capacity.

For most people, either the Motorola Sb6141 or the SB6121 will do for a long time. However, most people would prefer to buy the Motorola SB6141. This is because not only is it newer, it also cheaper and faster than the SB6121.

By the way, if you are going for the Motorola SB6141, I would urge you to act quickly as it was so hot selling that it was out of stock for a while at Amazon. There were still a few units of new stocks left at Amazon at the check.

Click here to get more information or buy the Motorola SB6141 at Amazon.

sb6141-buy-now-imageClick here if you are looking to buy SB6121 or need more information on the Motorola SB6121.