There aren’t too many Wi-Fi 6 compatible router and modem combo devices in the market. Arris Surfboard G36 is one of those modems with Wi-Fi 6 support that provides superfast internet for its one 2.5 Gbps and four 1 Gbps Ethernet ports.
Spec-wise this modem is perfect for a small office network to provide superfast internet speed for both wireless and wired devices. It cost nearly $300, and it’s not an inexpensive device. But, how does it perform in the real-life test? Does it live up to what it promises to deliver?
By the end of this Arris G36 review article, you’ll get a clear-cut idea about this router modem, its limitations, and how it competes against other modems Wi-Fi 6 routers in the market.
ARRIS Surfboard G36 Review
|Downstream/Upstream||32 x 8|
|Max Data Speeds||Up to 2Gbps|
|Ports||4 Gig Ethernet LAN + 2.5G WAN|
|Best for||2Gbps Plan|
Being one of the flagship modem devices from Arris, the G36 AX3000 model comes with Wi-Fi 6 support, the latest technology Docsis 3.1 support, and multi-gig networking compatibility.
What makes it different from the rest of the other modem routers is its 2.5 Gbps ethernet port and four 1 Gbps ports, which is the reason why it comes with a hefty price tag.
For internet speed plans of 1.2 Gbps, this modem router is the most suitable for getting you the most out of your internet plan.
In addition to the speed, the modem is compatible with Docsis 3.1 high-speed internet. So, it’s one of those future-proof modems that can provide seamless internet speeds for both home and office networks. It might not be the best for a home network for its price.
1. What’s Inside the Box
Inside the box, Arris included the modem router itself, AC power adapter, a quick start guide book, and software license and warranty card.
So, nothing fancy inside the box. These are the very same items you’ll get from a low-priced modem or router modem.
If you’re familiar with Arris networking devices, you’ll know that this one has a different design than their other modems. Although it’s still based on a tower-shaped modem design, the color combination and curved design make it a bit different.
The housing got ventilation on its top. The modem, weighing close to 3 pounds, feels heavier than similar networking devices. But the design is compact and easily holdable for portability.
From the durability perspective, it feels quite rigid. The housing is made of hardened matte composite plastic to make it durable and easily withstand occasional falls.
With a dimension of 11 x 10 x 1.1 inches, construction-wise, it’s not that large considering the fact that it’s also a Wi-Fi router.
Powered by an Intel Puma 2-core processor of up to 2.5 GHz of frequency, the modem is well capable of handling tons of devices at a time with much less congestion. If you’re planning to get Docsis 3.1 internet service once the ISPs start providing it, this chipset will make things work flawlessly.
And, of course, you’ll be able to roll back to Docsis 3.0 whenever needed.
The internal antennas aren’t enough to get wide coverage. However, within a short range, the connectivity was pretty reliable.
From a security perspective, this Wi-Fi 6 router is smart enough to provide IPv6 support and AES encryption to reduce online threats.
With Docsis 3.1 support, this makes your internet connection pretty much future-proof. This is one of the reasons why people are willing to spend this amount of money on a modem.
If your ISP is more likely to provide more than 2 Gbps internet plans in the near future, this modem router would be an asset for you. Combinedly, it can get an insane download speed of up to 6.5 Gbps.
You can also return to Docsis 3.0 if there’s any need.
There aren’t too many modems that can compete with this unit when it comes to ports. You’ll get a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port for multi gig networking. Although this one has link aggregation support, you won’t even need that with this Ethernet port if your ISP offers more than 1.2 Gbps internet plans.
For multiple wired connections, this modem offers four 1 Gbps Ethernet ports. So, if your office or home requires wired connections to PCs, gaming consoles, smart TV, and other devices, you won’t run out of options whatsoever.
The speed won’t be compromised if you have a high-speed internet plan of up to 1.2 Gbps or more. With Docsis 3.1 support, you can get up to 6.5 gigabits combined with wired download speed.
For high-performance online gaming competition, HD multi-media streaming on multiple devices, and other stuff that requires high-speed connection, this Docsis 3.1 cable modem would be a wise consideration.
6. Wi-Fi Speeds and Performance
On paper, the unit can deliver up to 3000 Mbps Wi-Fi speed. However, while tested with a Gigabit internet plan on the 2.4 GHz band, it managed to provide up to 220 Mbps of speed. With a 5 GHz band, the speed went to 950 Mbps, and the Wi-Fi speeds were consistent within a short range.
Although it’s supposed to cover almost 3000 square feet of area, the network wasn’t stable enough within this range at the time.
The speed would be more than enough for a home network where multiple wireless devices are connected to a wireless access point. However, you might have to use a wireless extender or repeater for more coverage.
7. ISP Compatibility
While tested with Comcast, Spectrum, Cox, and other major U.S cable internet service providers, the Arris Surfboard G36 Docsis 3.1 cable modem Wi-Fi had no issue with compatibility. So, yeah, even if your provider isn’t that famous, you should still be able to connect this modem with a Gigabit plan.
You can install this modem router very easily if you know your current internet plan credentials. Arris has a dedicated SurfBoard Central App for simple step-by-step instructions for setting up the network.
The app allows you to control and manage this network pretty much wherever you are via an internet connection. You can monitor the devices that are connected to the AX3000 Wi-Fi modem. It also provides you access to parental controls to closely monitor and control the online activities of teens.
Other than these, you can access basic Wi-Fi settings along with wireless guest access management.
What I Like!
- Insanely fast internet speeds for wired connections
- Almost 1Gbps speed over wireless
- Docsis 3.1 support makes it future proof
- It has a 2.5 Ethernet port for a faster-wired connection
- Four 1Gbps ports for LAN and connecting multiple devices
- Easy to set up with Surfboard app with necessary wireless connection management and controls
- Ideal for high demanding online gaming and 4K streaming
- Supports link aggregation
Things to Consider!
- The wireless connection doesn’t have a wider coverage
- Expensive for a home network
Arris Surfboard G36 vs. G34 vs. SB8200 vs. Motorola MB8611 – A Brief Comparison
Buying a cable modem Wi-Fi isn’t the only option to get rid of modem rental fees. There are cheaper alternatives such as Arris G34, SB8200, and MB8611 from Motorola with or without Wi-Fi support. All these modems are compatible with U.S cable internet providers.
Let’s compare these Docsis 3.1 approved modems with the Surfboard G36 Docsis 3.1 to see if the extra penny is really worth it or not.
Surfboard G34 is identical to the G36 model from the design and aesthetics perspective. Dimensions and housing are the same. However, the Surfboard SB8200 doesn’t have an attractive and modern design similar to G34 and G36.
It’s more like an old-designed tower style modem, although the dimensions are smaller.
The Motorola MB8611 has a dope looking design that makes it look different from other modems. It has front light indicators that give it a more attractive outlook than others.
2. Ports and Speeds
G36 dictates all 3 modems that we’re talking about when it comes to speed. Combinedly, the G36 can get you up to 6.5 Gbps of download speeds using its one 2.5 Gbps and four 1 Gbps Ethernet ports.
With G34, the speed is limited to 4 Gbps using all four 1 Gbps ports.
The SB8200 can get you up to 2 Gbps of download speeds at a time using two 1 Gbps ports.
Although you can achieve up to 2.5 Gbps of speed using the Motorola MB8611 modem, it has only one Ethernet port; 2.5 Gbps.
So, the G36 Docsis 3.1 cable modem router is the fastest one among all. The next would be the G34 modem. Pick one from these two options if you need a superfast Docsis 3.1 cable modem.
Motorola comes 3rd with its 2.5 Gbps speed, followed by the Surfboard SB8200 model.
For Wi-Fi speeds, only the G36 and G34 come with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Both these units claim to deliver up to 3000 Mbps speeds. However, when it comes to real life tests, the download speeds couldn’t exceed 950 Mbps over the 1.2 gig internet plan.
3. Wireless Range
Both the G34 and G36 cover up to 3000 square feet; however, the speed doesn’t remain the same everywhere within this limited coverage. You’ll get faster speeds when you’re closer to this Wi-Fi 6 router.
4. Cryptic Status Light
This is where both the Surfboard SB8200 and Motorola MB8611 knock off Arris G36 and G34 modems. The SB8200 comes with 4 status light indicators for power, downstream, upstream, and internet connectivity. Whereas the MB8611 comes with 5 indicators, including an Ethernet port light for an extra.
Any of the Arris G36 and G34 models have no status light whatsoever.
Who Should Buy Considering the Prices?
As a cable modem Wi-Fi, Arris G36 is the fastest and most expensive option. If you need that 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port, be sure to go for this modem router.
However, if you need a Docsis 3.1 cable modem Wi-Fi but don’t need the 2.5 Gbps port, and 4 Gbps combined speed is enough for you, Surfboard G34 would be a cost-efficient option for a small office network.
If you need the 2.5 Gbps port only, and LAN networking isn’t your preference, the Motorola MB8611 would be the right pick for a home network.
For up to 2 Gbps combined speeds with link aggregation support, Arris SB8200 would be the most value-added modem for your needs. Considering a long-term investment, rental modems from cable internet providers just don’t make sense when you can grab such a cheap modem for your home network.
What to Consider while Buying?
People have different internet use purposes, so choosing the right internet modem to meet those preferences is important. It’s not a thing that you would purchase frequently. Be sure to consider the following aspects before finalizing the purchase.
You may get the fastest modem available in the market, but if your internet plan is slow, it won’t be able to get the most out of that device.
If your current internet plan is below 1 Gbps, look for a modem with at least a 1Gbps Ethernet port. For regular use at home, you won’t need more than 1 Gbps unless you’ll be streaming 4K videos on multiple devices and playing high-demanding online games.
For those with an internet connection of more than 1 Gbps, meaning Gigabit internet, a modem with 2 Gbps combined speed is preferable.
If you need more than 4 Gbps speed, make sure it’s a Docsis 3.1 or 3.0 compatible modem. Once your ISP provides Docsis 3.1 support, you’ll be able to get up to 10 Gbps of speeds depending on the capability of the modem.
There won’t be a need for more than 1 Ethernet port for a house where devices are connected wirelessly.
If you connect your wired devices to the modem, consider the number of devices you’ll connect, and opt for a modem that comes with enough Ethernet ports. The cable internet speed plans will decide the speed for each device that is connected with wires.
For offices, the more ports, the better the overall internet experience will be.
Modems come in both wired and Wi-Fi options. Wired ones are less expensive. If you currently have a wireless router, there is no need to invest in a modem router.
Otherwise, if you don’t want to make a mess of networking devices for your home network, you can get the Arris G36 AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 router modem or any other modem that meets your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to find the Arris G36 model number?
Your Arris G36 Wi-Fi modem router number is printed on the box that it ships in. If you lost the box, you could see the model number connecting the modem to the Surfboard Central App.
Is Arris G36 a good modem router combo?
For within 3000 sq. ft. of coverage, the Surfboard G36 Docsis 3.1 modem is good enough. However, the speed might not be the same across the entire coverage area. This modem suits well without any extenders or repeaters as a home network.
Hopefully, this Arris G36 review article was able to give you the necessary insights to understand whether you should opt for this modem Wi-Fi 6 router or not.
Keep in mind that its wireless coverage won’t be as large as what is found in a dedicated wireless router. Other than that, this AX3000 modem is among the best Docsis 3.1 approved modems for its speed, latest technology, and reliable connectivity.