Arris TG862G: What You Need to Know Before You Buy
Are You Trying to Find the Right Modem?
Many people find it rather confusing when they have to decide on the right "modem" that they are supposed to have.
However, they don't have a choice as they need this particular gadget in order to be connected to the internet, make phone calls, stream video and music, upload and download data, etc
They are not interested in the technical nitty-gritty and nuts and bolts of the modem. All they want to do is to make sure that they buy the right modem and the modem works for them.
If you are in this category, I hope this Arris TG862G review will help to clarify things for you to enable you to make the right decision on this latest (at time of writing) EMTA gateway modem from Arris.
By the way, the word "modem" is strictly not a correct definition of the Arris TG862G. This is because the TG862G is much more than a modem as you will find out when you read on.
So as to avoid confusion, I will refer to the Arris TG862G as a "modem" until I introduce all the appropriate definitions whereby it will be very clear that the Arris TG862G is very much more than a modem.
So for those of you techies out there, thanks for being patient!
As there will be people with different level of technical knowledge reading this article, I will try to make it as simple as possible.
I will first explain the unavoidable jargon associated with a technical device like the Arris TG862 such as EMTA, DOCSIS, gateway, etc. so that you will know what I am talking about.
I hope you will have a very good understanding on what the Arris TG862G is and will be able to make the appropriate decisions on whether the Arris TG862G is the right device for you at the end of this hub.
To also cater to those who like to delve deeper into the technical aspects of the subject, I will include links where appropriate to other websites where you can get more technical information.
For the record, the official name for the Arris TG862G is Arris TG862G DOCSIS 3.0 Residential Gateway with 802.11n, 4 Port Router and 2 Voice Lines.
What Is EMTA, DOCSIS, and Gateway?
EMTA stands for Embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter. In layman terms what this means is that the device, for example, this Arris TG862G is a device that allows you to connect an analog phone to it to make calls.
Compare this to other modems, for example, the Arris Motorola SB6183, Arris Motorola SB6141, Arris Motorola SB6121, etc. are purely data modems only; used for carrying data, video and audio data, other data over the internet.
You cannot plug your phone into those to make calls. This is because those modems do not have a phone jack for you to plug your phone into it. As such if you need to connect a phone to your modem, then take note that modems like the Motorola SB6183, SB6141 or SB6121 will not work for you unless you add another device with a VOIP (Voice over IP) function such as the Ooma Telo.
DOCSIS is the acronym for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification.
In simple terms, why the DOCIS standard, particularly DOCSIS 3.0 is important for you is because the DOCSIS standard is an international telecommunications standard that allows the addition of high-bandwidth data transfer to existing cable TV (CATV) system. The various standards are sometimes abbreviated to Dx, as in a "D3 modem" for a DOCSIS 3 modem.
The DOCSIS standard is important because over 80% of households in the US use cable, initially for TV signal transmission. However, due to the availability of its huge bandwidth, many cable television operators also use the same cable to provide Internet access. This has now become very popular.
What About the Gateway?
The gateway in this case generally refers to a modem that also provides a router function.
In a very simplistic term, what this means is that your "modem" is also capable of providing WiFi.
Why "residential" in the official name? Well, this is to denote that the use of the gateway is mainly for households or SOHO environment as compared to the heavy duty use in corporate LAN environment.
What type of device are you using now?
What Is the Touchstone TG862 Telephony Gateway?
Ok, now that we have got the terms (or jargon) out of the way, I will refer to the Arris TG862G as a gateway as it truly is rather than just a modem.
The Arris Touchstone TG862 Telephony Gateway incorporates a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, wireless router and EMTA all in one box. Right now the DOCSIS 3.0 gives you the fastest speed. The Arris TG862 is an 8x4 Channel Bonding cable modem. So it is capable of speeds of up to 320 Mbps. That is very fast but not the fastest.
Right now the fastest cable modem in the market is the Arris Motorola SB6183 which is capable of 16x4 bonding which makes it two times faster than the Arris TG862G. However, note that the Motorola SB6183 functions as a cable modem only and does not have telephony nor wireless capabilities like the TG862G.
When talking about speed, do note that speed comes at a price. Yes, that is the dollar cost of the plan that you subscribe from your service provider. You get what you pay for. For example, even if your modem is capable of a faster speed, your top speed is capped by what you paid for by your provider.
The TG862 offers full support for a variety of voice codecs such as HD Voice and multiple call signaling methods such as NCS, Legacy SIP, and PacketCable 2.0 IMS.
However don't worry about all that gobbledygook but take it that it is an EMTA or telephony modem that you can just plug in your phone and use it to make calls - this is of course on an assumption that you have already sign up with a service provider; for example Comcast.
In the case of the Arris TG862, you can even use two phones if you subscribe to two lines. A common practice is to use one line for voice and the other for fax.
The Arris TG862 also functions as a 4-port Gigabit Router and a 802.11n wireless access point. This means that you do not need a separate wireless router. Note that the highest wireless standard here is "N" and not "AC". AC is currently the fastest wireless standard.
I Heard That I Get Free Coffee With the Arris TG862G as Well?
It says that it comes with Moca...
Well, unfortunately, no. You don't get free coffee when you buy the Arris TG862.
Even though it sounds nearly the same as your favorite brew, MOCA stands for Multimedia over Coax Alliance.
MOCA is the technology used to extend Wi-Fi connectivity within the home through the use of your existing cable network in your house.
MOCA is beneficial to you because it uses your existing house's TV cable network. So that means that you can extend the use of these existing cable without additional rewiring cost.
MOCA is a worldwide standard for high performance and high reliability in the cable connected home, and has been adopted by many cable, telco/IPTV and satellite operators not only here in the US but also worldwide.
Here are the top 10 questions that you may have and need clarification before you make your decision.
10 Top questions on the Arris TG862 Answered
Is is approved for use with Comcast?
Yes. This modem is approved for use by Comcast for its Triple Play Services. Many owners reported that they were able to successfully provision the modem online without human intervention. If you want to be ultra sure, you can check with Comcast at http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net
Can I use the Arris TG862G for my landline phone?
Before you can make any calls, you will have to first subscribe to a provider, for example Comcast. The Arris Touchstone Telephony Gateway TG862 has ports for two analog lines for which you can plug in your phone to make calls.
How fast is the Arris TG862?
Speed is relative and it also depends on the service package that you have with your provider. However, theoretically, you can get up to 320 Mbps (8 x 4) for downstream and up to 130 Mbps (4 x 4) for upstream.
Can I stream movies, for example, Netflix, with it?
Yes you can stream movies to your devices like your tablet, Smartphone, Smart TV etc.
Can I connect the TG862G to my desktop and also wirelessly to my other devices?
Yes you can. In fact it has 4 router ports so that you can hardwire connect up to 4 devices. It also acts as an access point so that you can simultaneously both wired (up to 4 devices) and wireless devices to it.
Is battery included with the device?
This all depends. Look at the specs when you buy it. If it does not include a battery, then you have to purchase one separately. The battery is used for backup purposes; just in case your power goes off and it saves you the trouble of reconfiguring the device. I would highly recommend that you get a battery if it does not come with one.
Does it have MOCA?
Yes it is MOCA enabled.
Can it work with Apple devices?
Yes. No problems with iPad, MacBook, iPhone or any other wireless devices. It is basically a wireless router and you need to set the client devices to connect to it.
Apart from Comcast, will it work with TMC (Time Warner Cable), Cox, Brighthouse, WOW etc
It is best to check with your provider first before you buy to make sure that it works.
Do I need a separate router to get WiFi?
No. This gateway device has both wired (up to 4 devices) and wireless router capabilities.
Situations When You Should Not Buy the Arris TG862G Telephony Gateway
Some people absolutely do not like gateways i.e. a modem that also has a router build in the same box. Their reason is that if something goes wrong in that box, then your whole network goes down.
They prefer a separate modem and router. To me it is a matter of preference because on the second scenario, if either the modem or router does down, your whole home network will also be down as well until you fix either of the devices that caused the problem.
The other reason why you may not want to buy the Arris Touchstone TG862G is when you already have an existing router. As the TG762G includes a router, you will of course have to pay more for it.
So if this is the case, then I recommend that you look into the Arris TM822G or the older TM722G as both TM822G and TM722G are pure telephony modems without any build in router.
However I would recommend that you spend a few dollars more on a newer device; especially a modem.
The Arris TM822G is one of the best Telephony modem available at the time of writing but it does not have a build in wireless router. Buy this only if you intend to use a separate router or already have an existing router - otherwise you should get the TG862G.
If you get the Arris TM822G and want to attach it to a new wireless router, then a good recommendation is to get the Asus RT-N66U. Otherwise, check out the following link to get tips on how to buy the best home wireless routers to find out how to select a router that is suitable for you.
If possible, Don't Buy the Refurbished Arris TG862G
For those of you who think that you could save a few dollars by buying a refurbished Arris TG862G telephony cable modem router, my general advice is not to do so.
It is not that all refurbished devices are bad but many people who have gone that route to buy a refurbish device encountered problems when they try to activate their units.
It is not worth saving that few dollars if you so happened to buy a problem unit.
The reason for this is that generally for a small device like a telephony cable modem gateway, most of the "brains" of the gadget are on the motherboard.
If something goes wrong, the manufacturer will generally replace the whole motherboard as it would be too time consuming and costly in manpower terms to troubleshoot the faulty gadget. So the refurbished gadget could continue to have problems if it is not fixed by the manufacturer and you will never know the true situation...
The other problem happens when people knowingly or unknowingly sell off their rented device that belongs to the service provider. So when you try to register it, your cable company may tell you that it has already been registered!
Of course, unknowingly buying stolen devices will also gets you into the same problem.
So unless you are a risk taker and really want to save that few dollars, my advice is to get a new device!
What Do You Get With the Arris TG862G?
Ok. Now you know the reasons why you should not buy the Arris TG862, find out what you will get if you have it.
- Enjoy life on the fast lane. The experience of many owners is that the Arris TG862G is very fast even as they simultaneously talk over the phone, download applications, streaming video or doing things over the internet - this is on the assumption they are subscribed to the appropriate bandwidth package from their provider. Using multi-processor technology, the TG862G can achieve high bandwidth performance without affecting voice quality
- Hook up to two phone lines or like many people do, a phone and fax line; very convenient if you are in a SOHO environment
- As it is an all-in-one device, you get internet, phone and WiFi in one box. That saves you some real estate space as well as uses only one wall socket. It also saves you money as you don't have to buy a separate modem and router
- Use it as a LAN hub through the four wired Ethernet connections as well as the wireless 802.11b/g/n feature
In summary you will get reliable wireless connection to all of the web enabled devices in your home network such as your desktop, notebook computer, tablet, game console, smart TV, smartphone and and other smart entertainment units.
If you are looking to connecting your phone to your modem and at the same time enjoy build in wireless router functions, then the Arris TG862G is a good device to get. It is one of the best residential telephony gateway available in the market today. If you are subscribed to Comcast, buy the CT model (below).
Buy this model if you are with Comcast. Arris technical support recommended the CT model for Comcast customers. They claimed that the CT (ComcasT) model will work 100% with Comcast without any problems.
It also has a battery backup feature so that you don't have to reset everything should your power goes off.
Even though you do not need the battery except in the case of a power outage, I strongly suggest that you get the battery to save you unnecessary troubles should the power goes out.
The battery backup feature is just like your life jacket. You may not need it 99% of the time but for that very rare 1% of the time, you will be sure glad that you had the life jacket!
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 James Causian