Frequently Asked Questions

SURFboard® Cable Modems

Why own?

Most people that lease equipment from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) keep their modem a minimum of five years. Renting a modem from your ISP can cost an average of $100 per year. In just this amount of time you could own your own modem, one with better performance and faster speeds. So stop leasing and start saving today!

People tend to upgrade their routers more often than their modems. Why? Because they typically purchase this equipment on their own and when speeds slow down, many people assume it’s the router. The modem is the backbone of a home network. Upgrading the router and the modem together, will ensure your home network is running at peak performance.


All SURFboard products are compatible with major U.S. Cable providers.

ARRIS engineers also perform rigorous testing in real-life environments with a multitude of devices such as gaming consoles, Smart TVs, tablets, mobile phones and much more to ensure seamless integration into your home network.

SURFboard Modems are IPv6 compatible – it’s the latest Internet standard, which allows for multiple, simultaneous browsing sessions on multiple devices.

What is DOCSIS?

DOCSIS, which stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, is a technology standard used by cable internet providers to provide internet access.

What is the difference between a DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1 modem

DOCSIS, which stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification is a technology standard used by cable operators to provide Internet access.

What is modem & Wi-Fi router?

A Modem & Wi-Fi Router is an all-in-one device that combines a high-speed cable modem (delivers internet access) with a Wi-Fi Router (allows you to share one internet connection and network multiple devices). The combined device saves you money, energy and desk space.

Our products have been put through rigorous testing to ensure that they fit seamlessly into any home network and support a multitude of devices.

What's the difference between 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi?

Today’s wireless products are based on either 802.11n or 802.11ac radio standards. Devices may have one, two or three radios: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, or dual 5 GHz. These configurations may be designed to work as one or the other, or a dual-band or tri- band concurrently operating radios.

802.11ac is the newest technology and offers the best throughput potential. Beamforming is also a feature supported by 802.11ac radios. This technology focuses the radio signals on the client device location for better performance.

Depending on the device’s antenna configuration you Wi-Fi throughput will vary for each standard. Examples of throughputs:

  • 2.4 GHz with 802.11n 2×2 antennas = 300 Mbps
  • 2.4 GHz with 802.11n 3×3 antennas = 450 Mbps
  • 2.4 GHz with 802.11ac 3×3 antennas = 600 Mbps
  • 5 GHz with 802.11ac 2×2 antennas = 900 Mbps
  • 5 GHz with 802-11ac 3×3 antennas = 1300 Mbps
Why do I need gigabit ethernet ports?

A multi-port Ethernet device – the ultimate high-speed connectivity for lightning fast streaming needs – allows you to connect several devices to a secure, high-speed, interference-free Internet connection.

What is MoCA®?

MoCA® is a technology that allows you to create a wired connection where there may not be one today.

Using the existing cable wiring in your home, MoCA® creates a high-speed wired Ethernet network.

It’s perfect for things like online gaming and HD video streaming. It does not interfere with other devices in your home. No more jitter or buffering!

RipCurrent™ Networking

What is RipCurrent? How does it work?

RipCurrent is a technology that uses the standard over the AC power lines already installed throughout your home. It provides an easy to use solution for connecting network devices within your home. Just plug in the RipCurrent-enabled devices and they will find each other within a few seconds. It’s that simple! You’ll have whole-home coverage without running long cables all over the house, no drywall patching and most importantly, no hassle! All the electrical wiring in your home connects back to one central location, the fuse box, usually located in a closet or the garage. RipCurrent uses technology that uses that wiring to connect all the power outlets in your house together to form a network, so why add more wiring to your home when you can use what is already there? Installing a RipCurrent-enabled device requires nothing more than plugging it in.

Why did ARRIS build the SURFboard products with RipCurrent technology?

The SURFboard products with RipCurrent were built with a couple of goals in mind. First we wanted to make it easy for a user to setup a whole home network with no new wires, and using the power outlets in your house makes that possible. Second we wanted an expandable Wi-Fi solution that could cover all homes no matter what the layout, size or other constraints. For a Wi-Fi router one-size definitely does not fit all. Typically, the room with the router will get great coverage, the rooms nearby a little less, rooms further away will get even lower coverage. So how do you get better coverage in those further away rooms? Using SURFboard RipCurrent networking products allows you to extend your Wi-Fi network by plugging in a device at the location where it is needed most. Perhaps you want to stream the latest episode of Game of Thrones in your basement but your Wi-Fi router is on the second floor office and there is no way your router will get Wi-Fi all the way there, at least not without some buffering. Just add a RipCurrent-enabled Wi-Fi extender and the game is yours to watch, simple. Even better, the Wi-Fi extender also includes an Ethernet port so you can connect your Smart TV, Blu Ray player or other streaming device via Ethernet for a fast, reliable connection.

Who is SURFboard with RipCurrent Technology for?

SURFboard with RipCurrent is for users who want to install a home network without any knowledge of home networking. Let’s face it, most of us are not technically savvy, nor do we enjoy spending our weekends learning how to network our homes. RipCurrent technology provides a whole home network without you even knowing it. Plus, it’s expandable and grows with your needs. Connect your new, Smart TV in the bedroom by adding a SURFboard Wired Network extender with RipCurrent to that room and you’ve got Ethernet in an instant. But what about Wi-Fi? You’ve got visitors coming this weekend but no Wi-Fi in their bedroom. Just plug in the RipCurrent Wi-Fi extender in their room and they’ll be all set. Of course giving them the password is still at your discretion. Better yet, create a guest network just for them and keep your network private.

How is SURFboard with RipCurrent Technology better than my current router?

SURFboard with RipCurrent technology is better than other routers because it is not a one size fits all. We know people move, change how they use their home, add entertainment devices and have visitors so they need a flexible router than can change and grow with their needs. With RipCurrent the Wi-Fi can be extended throughout your home as needed. Need an Ethernet port for your new 240″ Super 4K UHD TV? No problem just plug-in a RipCurrent Wired Network Extender to the AC power outlet by the TV and you have an instant network connection. There should be no need to reconfigure your home network each time you want to change something on the network. Just add RipCurrent Wi-Fi Hotspots and Wired Network Extenders and leave the rest of your working network alone. Why mess with it if you don’t need to?

What configuration do I need for my home?

For an apartment or small home less than 1500SQFT we would recommend the SBR-AC1200P for the router which will typically cover this size house and support multiple Wi-Fi devices such as mobile phones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles or smart TV’s, typically up to 5-10 devices with good performance. For power users that have a similar size home, or larger perhaps up to 2000SQFT, we would recommend the SBR-AC1900P. This product has a higher Wi-Fi capacity to support more devices, typically up to 10-20 devices with better performance, and has higher power transmitters to cover the larger home. For even larger homes, 2000SQFT+ and for users with lots of Wi-Fi devices, 20+, we would recommend the SBR-AC3200P for the best performance. This device has even higher Wi-Fi capacity than the SBR-AC1900P but still has the higher power Wi-Fi transmitters. All three of these devices offer a great start to your RipCurrent-enabled home network, with Ripcurrent Wi-Fi Hotspots or Wired Network Extenders being added as required. No need to replace your router for a new device as your needs change, just add Ripcurrent Wi-Fi Hotspots or Wired Network Extenders to put Ethernet ports were they are required or to increase your Wi-Fi coverage.

I’ve heard the term “Band Steering”. What is it and do the RipCurrent enabled products have it?

Band Steering is a technology that can determine if a device is capable of operating on a different frequency band in order to optimize network performance. For example, if multiple Wi-Fi devices connect at 2.4GHz but the router knows some of those could be moved to the 5GHz band, the clients will be moved without user interaction. This spreads the Wi-Fi traffic load between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands so all clients get a better experience. All of the SURFboard Wi-Fi Routers with RipCurrent technology feature Band Steering. Additionally, the SBR-AC3200P features two 5GHz Wi-Fi for even better Wi-Fi performance. The router will put the slower clients, such as mobile phones and tablets on one 5GHz band, and the faster devices, things like higher end notebooks, tablets and PC’s on the other 5GHz band. This groups slower devices together and faster devices together so the overall system performance is much more efficient. The slower devices don’t get in the way of the faster devices which just impact the Wi-Fi performance. You can think of this as a freeway, the slower devices need to keep right and let the faster devices pass!

Will SURFboard with RipCurrent technology work for my multi-story home?

SURFboard with Ripcurrent technology will work in any home single level or multi-level. The beauty of the RipCurrent enabled system is that it uses the electrical lines already in your home, so if the entire home is powered via the same electrical panel (fuse box) then Ripcurrent will work anywhere in the home.

Will SURFboard with RipCurrent technology work outside of the United States?

SURFboard with RipCurrent technology is designed to work with any AC power outlet from 90VAC to 240VAC which just about covers the whole planet. However at this time SURFboard with Ripcurrent products are only certified for use in the United States and Canada. We are working on certifications for use in Europe.

How are the products powered?

RipCurrent enabled products are powered from the same AC power that they use to communicate. The routers have a standard three-way AC power cord that simply plugs in to the AC power outlet. That is all you need to do. The RipCurrent enabled extenders are even easier, they mount directly on to the AC power outlet, just plug in and you have a home network.

What is the USB port for?

The USB ports can be used for a Flash memory stick or hard drive to stream video from the router over Wi-Fi or RipCurrent networks, or for file storage.

How many devices can a RipCurrent enabled network support?

RipCurrent enabled networks can support up to 16 unique devices. The router counts as one, so any combination of 15 additional Ripcurrent Wi-Fi Hotspots and/or Wired Network Extenders can be added to your home network, as needed. So you could add 15 Ethernet ports with the Wired Network Extender wherever you need them in the house, or 15 Wi-Fi Hotspots to cover your entire home or any combination of the two.

What comes in the box with each Ripcurrent enabled device?

Each RipCurrent enabled device is supplied complete with an AC power cord (for the router products), a 1m Ethernet cable, a Quick Start Guide and a warranty card.

What is the warranty on the RipCurrent products?

Just as all of our SURFboard products, the SURFboard RipCurrent products feature a 2 year limited warranty.

How secure are the devices?

RipCurrent enabled products have secure pairing that encrypts the data between devices on your network. When you install RipCurrent enabled routers or accessories, press the secure pairing button on both units and a secure link with be set-up. The easiest way to do this when first setting up the network is to connect the RipCurrent enabled devices to AC power outlets in the same room. Then press the securing pairing button on both units, wait a few seconds until the secure pairing LED changes from red to green indicating the link is now secure. Then the RipCurrent enabled devices can be moved to the desired locations in the house and re-connected to the AC power. The secure pairing is remembered between the two devices even if they are powered down and moved to new locations.

What about interference from Ripcurrent technology? How is it better than HPAV/HPAV2?

The RipCurrent enabled routers will not cause any interference to existing electrical wiring in the home, or any devices connected to that wiring. RipCurrent uses the standard which is designed to coexist with other power line communications technology (such as HPAV and HPAV2) but will not inter-operate. That is a PLC network cannot communicate directly with an HPAV or HPAV2 network. A suitable networking bridge will be required for networks that require support for both types of technology. The standard provides a more robust power line communications technology than previous standards, and is more resilient to AC power line noise from things like fluorescent lighting and air conditioning units.