Motorola Surfboard SB5100 Cable Modem

rate 4.2
  • Brand: Motorola
  • Category: Network Modems




  • DOCSIS 1.1 and 2.0 Certified
  • Integrated A-TDMA and S-CDMA technology--capable of providing up to 30 Mbps upstream data rate
  • USB and Ethernet connectivity
  • Front panel status LEDs and built-in HTML-based diagnostics for quick and easy troubleshooting
  • Compatible with Windows 95, 98, 2000, Me, NT, XP, Mac OS, Linux, and UNIX

Technical Details




Cable Modem
USB and Ethernet 10/100Base-T
Cable Interface
F-type RF connector, female, 75ohm
DOCSIS 2.0/1.1
Max Transmission Rate
Data Rate: 38 Mbps
Symbol Rate: 64 QAM 5.069 Msym/s; 256 QAM 5.361 Msym/s
Data Rate: 30 Mbps
Symbol Rates: 160, 320, 640, 1280, 2560 and 5120 ksym/s


Integrated DOCSIS 2.0 A-TDMA and S-CDMA technology
10/100 Base-T Ethernet and USB connectivity
Supports up to 32 users (1 via USB and up to 31 via Ethernet or 32 users on Ethernet)
Ethernet and USB connections are bridged allowing LAN traffic between USB device and Ethernet LAN
Remote management via SNMP
Software upgradeable over the network
Top-mounted stand-by button enhances network security to end-user
Front panel LEDs and built-in HTML-based diagnostic user interface for easy troubleshooting
Multi-language user guide

Manufacturer Warranty

2 years limited
2 years limited


Motorola's next generation SURFboard SB5100 Cable Modem incorporates the latest DOCSIS 2.0 Advanced Time Division Multiple Access (A-TDMA) and Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (S-CDMA) technologies to provide up to three times greater upstream capacity than DOCSIS 1.0/1.1 systems. Packed with power, the SB5100 is interoperable and backward compatible with DOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1 for a fast and timely transition - operators can deploy the SB5100 today without a service interruption.


FIXM Computer 5.0
170 of 171 people found the following review helpful
I have worked a good year solid installing cable modems for Charter Communications in California and I can vouch for the ease of installation (no software is required honestly folks), the reliability, speed, and simplicity of the Motorola Surfboard. It is a class above other modems such as Toshiba, Terayon, D-Link (only customer supplied) and the most dreadful one of all, the Ambit.Most times we were given Ambit modems to install (about 2 or 3 Ambit for every other type on a daily basis). Most ... times we had problems that were modem defect related, they were Ambit modems, however, that can't be chalked off to an average likelihood because they were installed more. Now, they failed in high numbers like about 1 out of 4 or 5 before an install could even be completed. To their credit, althought Ambits were what I see as unreliable (drop dead on a dime!), they did stretch the limtis of low signal way beyond cable co specs (+10 to -10 dBs) and sometimes worked (gag) even low as -14dB to (one particular occassion I remember -19dB where other modems could never lock on or would never stay locked on to the two frequencies. Although I can't describe the level of service they would provide at that point of signal degredation as anything better than "beats dial-up" when it would not achieve the "theoretical" maximum speeds of 3Mbps given customers but would get a more lackluster 300-600Kbps. Some customers were happy to be able to get that and more anxious to have that right away than to reschedule for another tech to come later and finish the installation after fixing line problems causing such low signals when it wasn't something that could be found and fixed within the alloted time for the original install. Our second most installed modem were Motorola Surfboards. While they truly operated more inline with their published specs on signal levels (down to about -12dB usually, -15dB if the stars were aligned), they were definitely more tolerant of noise in my opinion and much more reliable than the other modems we had installed in terms of staying solidly connected and operational with consistent speed day in day out on any good line. The only time I ever had to remove a Motorola from service for a "modem problem" actually turned out to be a bad power supply that failed during installation, not the actual Motorola product itself! I can't say that for any other modem I've installed. The other modems are usually more stylish, or a bit more sleek, but in my book written by a sometimes frustrated cable technician who has installed, moved, and replaced hundreds of HSCI setups locally, 3 style points aren't worth even 1 reliability point when it keeps customers (or me!) from getting pissed off, so I'd stick with Motorola every time if I had a choice which one to install on any given job because I knew I wouldn't get a bad report or call when others failed just back hours or days after installing them. I'd stake all my experience in the field with all kinds of setups and problems with Motorola being undeniably the most dependable and functional. They truly are the kings of Cable modem. More >
A Customer 5.0
143 of 150 people found the following review helpful
I got this cable modem for my folks a short while ago rather than have them continue to pay a monthly rental fee to Comcast. I chose the Motorola 5100 based on the reputation of Motorola, the price (although it wasn't as good as this Amazon price), and the technology. Installation was easy with a quick start guide as well as a full manual (on cd). For the price, you can't beat it. It has the latest technology- DOCSIS 2.0 but is backward compatible with the older standards DOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1 u ... sed by mostly all cable internet providers. (Please be sure to check with your cable internet provider first before buying any modem to make sure they support the DOCSIS standard and modem you are considering buying.) The Motorola has both USB and Ethernet connections so you can directly hook up 2 computers without having to buy extra networking hardware. Another nice feature is the STANDBY button at the top which you can use to temporarily cut off the internet. Also, it is relatively compact (roughly 6"H x 2"W x 6"D), so it won't take over your valuable desk space. Performance-wise, I can't say I noticed much of a difference from their old modem but cable bandwith can be variable depending on the number of users in the neighborhood. At least it wasn't any slower. Based on all this, I figured why buy a modem with older technology for more $$ that probably can't be upgraded when you can have the latest and greatest now for cheaper- a rare combination. More >
M. Freeman "cold-shot" 5.0
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
This little modem replaced our Motorola SB4100. It's better looking and takes up less space, at about the size of a portable CD player. This model uses new technology (A-TDMA & S-CDMA) that triples the upstream capacity to 30Mbps. It is also DOCSIS 1.1 & 1.0 compatible and will work with older technology. I've been using this modem with Adelphia PowerLink with great results. And, if for no other reason, it's worth getting to save the five dollar monthly rental fee. Pays for itself really.