I've always been interested in finding the best wireless routers and modems for the best prices.
As more and more similar products arrive on the market, the consumer gets more and more confused as to which product to choose.
Take the case of these two home networking gateway products from Motorola:
- the ARRIS/Motorola SURFboard Gateway SBG6580 DOCSIS 3.0 Wireless N Cable Modem and
- the ARRIS/Motorola Surfboard Extreme 3.0 Cable Modem and Wi-Fi Router.
By the way, those are their official names.
So what are the differences? The Arris Motorola SBG6782AC vs Arris Motorola SBG6580? Which gateway device is better for you? Which of these two gives you better value for your money?
These are the typical questions that come to mind when consumers try to decide between these two gateway products.
My friends have been asking me these questions, so I thought an easy option would be to write an article about the differences and similarities between the Arris Motorola SBG6782-AC vs SBG6580. Then I can just ask them to read this article instead of repeatedly explaining it to different people!
Let's Clarify the Names First
For those not familiar with the above two products, the names can be a bit misleading and confusing.
So let's take a look and understand the names first:
- SBG6580: at a glance on the box front, the name is SURFboard eXtreme Wireless Cable Modem & Gigabit Router. However, if you browse the Amazon site, you may see this name: ARRIS / Motorola SURFboard Gateway SBG6580 DOCSIS 3.0 Wireless N Cable Modem - Retail Packaging
The name on the box tells you that the Motorola Surfboard SBG6580 is a wireless cable modem, which is I feel is misleading. In fact, the cable modem is not wireless since you will need to connect a cable from the wall outlet to your cable modem. It is the router that is wireless!
As for the newer gateway, the Motorola Surfboard SBG6782-AC:
- The name on the box is SURFboard eXtreme Cable Modem & WiFi AC Router with MoCA while the name at Amazon's site is ARRIS/Motorola Surfboard Extreme 3.0 Cable Modem and Wifi Router
Amazon doesn't even mention that the Motorola SBG6782AC comes inbuilt with a MoCA adapter, which is an important consideration when making a comparison between these two devices.
In this case, the name on the box more clearly describes the product i.e. it is a cable modem with a wireless router with a MoCA adapter built-in.
Perhaps you may also be wondering why sometimes the names Arris and Motorola are included as the name of the product? Well, this is because Motorola Home, the division of Motorola that covers the company's cable TV and internet devices has been sold to Google, who in turn sold it to Arris.
If you do not see the name Arris appended to the product name, it is because the device was manufactured during the period before and around the time when the Arris Group acquired the Motorola Home division.
By the way, the Arris Group manufactures high-speed data, video, telecommunications equipment, and telephone systems for cable operators, consumers and businesses. As such, they know their stuff when it comes to telecommunications equipment.
Let's Compare Motorola SBG6782 vs SBG6580
Let's look at the Motorola SBG6782 vs SBG6580 side by side and see what are the main differences and similarities.
Then I will go into the details of the important differences, which will help you in your decision to decide which of these two gateways is better for your needs.
Comparison of Motorola SBG6782 vs SBG6580
|Desc||Motorola SBG6782AC||Motorola SBG6580|
Build in router
Cable Modem-Docsis 3.0
11.8 x 4 x 10.5 inches
5.9 x 1.8 x 6.7 inches
up to 343 Mbps
up to 343 Mbps
up to 131 Mbps
up to 131 Mbps
4 port Gigabit Wired Router
Dual Band Wi-Fi
As you can see, apart from the physical size (with the Motorola SBG6782-AC approximately twice the size of the older SBG6580), the major differences are the Wifi technology and the inclusion of the MoCA technology in Motorola SGB6782.
Both the Motorola Surfboard SBG6580 and Surfboard SBG6782's cable modem incorporates the DOCSIS 3.0 technology and DOCSIS 3.0 is the latest technology for cable modems.
I have done a comparative analysis of the Motorola SB6121 vs SB6141 cable modems and these are two of the latest Motorola modems that incorporate DOCSIS 3.0.
The reason I am mentioning this, is because if you need to find out more about DOCSIS in an easy to understand way, do check out that link.
As I mentioned earlier, the two major differences between these two Motorola gateways are the WiFi technology and MoCA. I will go through each of this in more detail next.
The Motorola SBG6782AC uses the latest and fastest "ac" technology while the SBG6580 uses the "n" technology. There are also older "a," "b," and "g" technologies.
Here are the differences in speed with these different WiFi technologies:
- 802.11b can go up to 11 megabits per second (Mbps)
- 802.11a and 802.11g can go up to 54 Mbps
- 802.11n up to 300 Mbps
- 802.11ac up to 1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps
At a top speed of 1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps, theoretically an "ac" wireless router would be approximately three times faster than an "n" class router.
Right now, "ac" is the fastest class router commercially available.
One MoCA for Me Please!
Like it or not, MoCA is not the favorite brew that some of you may have every morning as you start work.
Even though it is pronounced and sounds the same as the drink, MoCA actually stands for Multimedia over Coax Alliance and is the universal standard for home entertainment networking to make use of the existing cable wiring in our homes.
What Is the Advantage With MoCA?
One of the big advantages of using MoCA is that approximately 90% of the homes in the US are already wired with cable. What this means is that unlike the traditional wired computing environment using Ethernet, you do not have to do any costly Ethernet wiring anymore.
You will be using the same existing cable in your house to carry data, audio and video with MoCA.
As MoCA uses cable to carry the data and signals, you get stability, speed and resistance to interference. All you need to do is to get additional MoCA adapters at existing end points, and you have a stable wired network!
When you use the Motorola SBG6782AC, you will be having this additional wired capability on top of the wireless AC capability mentioned before! All just at the cost of a MoCA end-point adapter.
Where to Go From Here?
Ok. You now know the similarities and differences between these two gateways from Motorola. So which is better for you?
I think the better and easier way is to first establish that:
- These two gateways are good and stable products
- You are subscribed to sufficient bandwidth to utilize the capacity of the modem (remember, you router can only redistribute the maximum amount that it can get from the modem and the modem can only pass whatever amount that your ISP provides to it)
- You are looking for an all in one product; for the SBG6580, a combo of cable modem and wireless router. For the Motorola SBG6782AC, a combo of cable modem, wireless router and MoCA adapter.
Buy the Arris Motorola SBG6580 if...
- You do not need much streaming nor speed. Even though "n" speed may appear to be only 1/3 that of the "ac", it is still very fast.
- You do not want to upgrade to a higher bandwidth and have to pay more because whatever you have at the moment is sufficient for your use.
- You are staying alone, or you are staying with your family but the need for a fast connection is not there for the foreseeable future.
- You have budgeted less than $150 for the new device
If these apply to you, then I suggest that you save some money by buying the Motorola SBG6580 instead of the SBG6782. Click on the link below to buy from Amazon:
Buy the Motorola SBG6782-AC If:
- You need a very stable gateway. Both the Arris Motorola SBG6580 and the SBG67682 are stable products from Motorola and I have not seen unfavorable reports with regards to either of the models and most owners have reported back with high praises.
- You need very fast "ac" wireless speeds for your streaming and online games.
- You want future proofing: DOCSIS 3.0 and the "ac" standards are the latest that you can get right now.
- You want to explore the potential of MoCA, as MoCA gives you very high speed and stability.
- You want to reduce clutter and the amount of wall sockets that you need to use.
- You don't mind spending $180 to $200 on this three in one product. You believe that spending a few dollars more now can actually save you much more down the road.
If this is your situation, then the Arris Motorola Surfboard SBG6782 will be a more suitable product for you. Click on the link below to buy:
Think of MoCA clients as a gadget to give you the ability to use a wired network without the need to undertake Ethernet wiring.
Just connect the MoCA client to both the wall socket and your client device, typically your computer. If you are a gamer, this will be a perfect setup as it provides you the stability and benefits traditionally associated with a wired connection!
If you are using the wireless feature of the device (for the Motorola SBG6782AC instead of MoCA) and SBG6850, then you may want to look into a fast client adapter like the Asus PCE AC68.
At the point of writing this hub, this is the fastest "ac" client device you can get in the market.
What was your choice?
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
What other things would you like to suggest to make this article more useful?
Swifty on July 01, 2019:
I am looking to update my wireless connection to my existing TV using a firestick. There is no cable outlet nearby and so wireless is what I need to use. The tv has a build in wireless adaptor and is working but freezes from time to time and I currently have a 4 year old sbg6580. Your article has no mention of TV's and or how to upgrade an existing wireless adaptor or if its even possible. Its a 2 year old Sony on 7-1-19
techie on August 13, 2017:
You really missed a major difference between the two. The SBG 6580 is really not dual band , well yes somewhat. The shortfall is you have to choose either 2.4GHZ or 5GHZ, it is switched, but you can use both concurrent at the same time. One or the other not both at the same time. This limits the 5GHZ if you have a mixed network devices with 2.4 GHZ only.
The SBG6782 can broadcast and use 2.4GHZ and 5GHZ concurrent at the same time. This makes any current or previous device compatible. You don't have to choose to fall back to 2.4GHZ only if you have a older device.
The SBG6700 is basically the same without Moca for a little less cost. It as well is concurrent.
I am so tired of seeing reviews not indicating that the SBG6580 cannot broadcast both 2.4 and 5 GHZ concurrent at the same time. Advertising it as dual band is fine, but be truthful that it is switched, and cannot be used at the same time (limited) one or the other, not concurrent.
Rob on July 25, 2016:
Read you report on the SBG6782 v SBG6580 & found it very interesting.
What is your opinion of the SBG6900 , does it have any real advantage over the 6782 at all ?
I have not found ( as yet) a professionl review of the SBG6900 & was curious before I purchase a new unit .
Many thanks Rob W.
James Causian (author) from Huston, Texas on August 17, 2015:
Thanks Dave for your feedback. I m glad that the information comparing the Motorola SBG6782 vs SBG6580 is helpful to you.
Dave on August 13, 2015:
Excellent article and a great breakdown on how to decide what to get...thank you, exactly what I needed in a comparison article.
Thomas Logan from Boston | New York on June 03, 2015:
QUESTION: Would love to ask a quick question about your review if I may? I have read this and about 20 other forums on these specific products. I would simply like to know if the 6782 is going to actually be faster than the 6580. However, I would like to define what I mean by “faster.” I know the newer 6782”ac” is capable of being faster. What I would like to know is if my top speed is 30mg’s down PLUGGED IN from my ISP, then I test the internet speed using the 6580 (20 feet from the modem/router) and I am let’s say, 20 mg’s down (which I would be happy with when 30 is max plugged in)… would my download speed be any better with the 6782 from the same distance starting from the same max plugged in download speed???
thanks very much for your review and your time.
James Causian (author) from Huston, Texas on May 31, 2015:
Shane, The Motorola SBG6782-AC is backwards compatible with 802.11b/g/n while the Motorola SBG6580 is backwards compatible with 802.11b/g.
shane on May 31, 2015:
I think you missed one important feature explained out of the article. Mentioning if either of these support simultaneous dual band.
James Causian (author) from Huston, Texas on March 05, 2015:
You are welcome Andre. Glad that you find the review useful.
Andre on March 05, 2015:
Great review, thanks for posting
zeni1 from Springfield, Massachusetts on October 26, 2014:
Do a compare between sbg 6782 , Arris Tg862 and the SMC D3GNV