Best Cable Modem via Canadian Shopping Bots

For the longest time I've been renting a cable modem from my ISP for about $5-6/month. As DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems (capable of 400Mbps D/l and 108 Mbps U/l) have become widely available I've decided to upgrade my cable modem and also purchase it.

My ISP is charging me $32.95 + taxes for a total of $37.23 for 25-40 Mbps download (promised 12) and only 0.5 Mbps upload. This includes 10h dialup and it’s grandfathered from a regular offer of $43.95; however, the modem rental ($4.95 + tax) takes it all the way up to $42.80. This test was done while performing a torrent download:

my-download-upload-speed

 

Their highest speed is the Platinum tier, which has a 50 Mbps for d/l and 1 Mbps for u/l for $43.95+taxes = $49.66. To take advantage of such speeds, a DOCSIS 3.0 modem is necessary as my existing SB5100 can only go to speeds up to 30 Mbps. Common DOCSIS 3.0 speeds are listed in the table below.

D/s channels D/s DOCSIS D/s EuroDOCSIS U/s (4 ch)
4 171.52 (152) Mbit/s 222.48 (200) Mbit/s 122.88 (108) Mbit/s
8 343.04 (304) Mbit/s 444.96 (400) Mbit/s 122.88 (108) Mbit/s

There are quite a few cable modems that incorporate a router, but having purchased a great router already (review), I looked only at simple DOCSIS 3.0 modems: Motorola SB6121, RCA DCM475, Linksys WCM300 and Cisco DPC3xxx. My existing router is a Gigabit router and even though its uplink is not, that can be hacked from the DD-WRT firmware. If, however, you have an older router, you might want to consider getting a router-modem combo.

  SB6121 DCM475 WCM300 DPC3000 5341
Manufacturer Motorola RCA Linksys Cisco Zoom
MSRP (USD) $99 (85) $130 (70)   (70) $109 (76)
D/l channels 4 8 8 4 4H, 8J
Amazon stars 4.5 (263) 3 (3)   4 (8) 3.5 (61)
PDF (goo.gl/) eKwZH sA0RJ BYLtG rIK8B 8e1jt

Of these, only the DCM475, WCM300 and 5341J appear to be capable of 8-channel bonding, which would mean double download speed in the future when it will be used. On the other hand, they are quite difficult to come by and are less popular. However, the DCM475 is actually part of the Teksavvy starter kit on sale at CC (link below), yet for the moment it is back-ordered. Both DCM475 and SB6121 were plagued by firmware issues at one point (the former from the factory, the latter due to both factory and Rogers), but that seems to have been resolved in the meantime. Each has its fans, but Motorola seems to be more popular and more widely supported.

On the strength of its Amazon ratings I decided to go with Motorola. This is an excellent opportunity to do a quick comparison review of Canadian shopping bots. The earlier version, SB6120, is sold on eBay by Sabba for about $50-60 + $12 shipping.

bots

I searched each bot for “Motorola Surfboard” as “surfboard” alone as a search term might have returned sporting equipment. Also, searching for “SB6121” would’ve missed SB6120 which is almost identical. These are the results:

shoptoit.ca

- http://www.shoptoit.ca/search?search-term=motorola+surfboard

It found NewEgg’s offer and also a few others less relevant. It has many other categories of products and has been operating since 2005.

surfboard-shoptoit

shopbot.ca

- http://www.shopbot.ca/m/?m=motorola%20surfboard

This bot found more results and sorted quite well by relevance – something it’s been doing since 2004. The interface was also much cleaner:

surfboard-shoppot

pricegrabber.ca

- http://www.pricegrabber.ca/search_attrib.php/page_id=14/form_keyword=motorola+surfboard/rd=1/skd=1

It expanded to Canada after it started out in USA, but lately it fell behind its Canadian competitors. This venerable engine found the NewEgg promotion and not much else:

surfboard-pricegrabber

pricecanada.com

- http://pricecanada.com/search.php?key=motorola+surfboard&Search.x=0&Search.y=0&top_cat_id=0&search_type=ALL

An outgrowth of a forum, this bot had only one result: an SB5101 which is not what I was looking for and some ugly AdSense was displayed right at the top of the page (cut out from screenshot):

surfboard-pricecanada

DealGenius.ca

- http://www.dealgenius.ca/search?keywords=motorola+surfboard

Formerly Wishabi, it licenses its engine (albeit with less features) to CanadaPost.ca/shopper and Bing.com/shopping. It had excellent results, clean interface, overall winner:

surfboard-dealgenius[3]

PriceBat.ca

- http://www.pricebat.ca/search.php?q=motorola+surfboard

Focused on electronics, it returned 10 results containing mostly older versions of the modem. The only SB6121, the $89 deal from NewEgg, was listed as the very last and did not make in our screenshot.

surfboard-pricebat

AllShopping.ca

- http://www.allshopping.ca/search/motorola%20surfboard/

This spammy engine, much like a few others also in .ca (ShopRover and ShoppingSearch), returned only US results. Many of its results come actually from eBay (each eBay item counting as one full result).

surfboard-allshopping

In conclusion, the nicest and simplest bot seemed to be DealGenius, followed by ShopBot and ShopToIt. We ended up buying the SB6121 from NewEgg.

Sources / More info: wiki-docsis3, DCM475-vs-SB6121, ne-sb6121, sb6120, sb6121, cc-starter, rogers-d3, rfd-cc, rfd-acanac, rfd-sb6121$75

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