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Time Warner Cable Expands Approved Cable Modems for Purchase List

Phillip Dampier November 13, 2012 Broadband Speed, Consumer News, Data Caps, Editorial & Site News 52 Comments

Time Warner Cable has expanded the list of modems approved for customer purchase. Buying your own cable modem will exempt you from the company’s $3.95/month modem rental fee, applicable to all but customers on special promotions or the elite Signature Home tier.

The Motorola SB6121 ($79) is back on the approved list, although customers intending to aggressively upgrade speeds as Time Warner introduces faster tiers may be happier with the Motorola SB6141 ($99), which supports more bonded channels than its lesser counterpart. The models from Netgear and Zoom were undistinguished in customer reviews — the Zoom for a noticeable number of reports complaining about the product’s short longevity and the Netgear for compatibility issues, poor quality control, and irritating customer/technical support.

Stop the Cap! continues to recommend the Motorola SB6141, which delivers top-rated performance and is future-proof with support for up to eight bonded data channels — 300Mbps service. Although still expensive on Amazon.com, increased competition has dramatically cut pricing on eBay at “Buy It Now” prices ranging between $86-100 at time of writing. This means no bidding hassles, no upfront sales tax, and free shipping for most buyers. The Motorola 6141 is what we use here at Stop the Cap!, acquired from an eBay vendor for $99. Now you can do even better.


Turbo, Extreme and Ultimate Service Plans

Vendor Model
Motorola SBG6580
Motorola SB6121
Motorola SB6141  Recommended
Netgear CMD31T
Zoom 5341J

Lite, Basic and Standard Service Plans (Some units listed below only support DOCSIS 2, recommended only if you are on a strict budget and don’t plan future speed upgrades.)

Vendor Model
Motorola SB5101
Motorola SB5101U
Motorola SBG901
Motorola SBG6580
Motorola SB6121
Motorola SB6141  Recommended
Netgear CMD31T
Zoom 5341J

Currently there are 52 comments on this Article:

  1. Racerbob says:

    Hopefully my new 6141 will be here by the weekend. $92.89 new on Ebay with free shipping/no tax.

  2. Nick says:

    How is the 6580 vs 6141?

  3. Loons In June! says:

    6580 is wireless 6141 is not

    • Rich says:

      The 6580 is a piece of junk with Time Warner. I get drops at least once a week. The wireless is spotty at best. I recommend getting a non-wireless modem and getting a router to do the routing work.

  4. Mike says:

    What if you have their phone service? Right now I have a Arris TMG402G. It’s still 2.0 but it seems to handle my 20/2 service ok.

    • You will keep your current Arris, but the Internet ports will be disabled after you buy and activate your own modem. The Arris will remain free of charge as long as TWC does not decide to also charge an equipment fee for their phone service.

  5. Navil says:

    I have an interesting thing on my new bill with the November billing cycle starting. The $3.95 modem fee is listed, but my Standard internet charge is reduced by $3.95 to $51.04. There is still a modest increase because the modem fee has an 8% sales tax on it that my internet service does not.

    Anyone else see their service price go down? Could it be that they are reducing for the first month because of late notice (I only just got my postcard in the mail yesterday)?

    • This has happened sporadically in some areas around the country. My guess is that the company’s late notification has prompted them to pre-emptively credit back the modem fee until after proper notification has been made and then the credit will disappear.

      I still have no postcard from them here in Rochester and it is the 14th.

  6. Low Tech says:

    The TWC website has now REMOVED many cable modems that were added. We are apparently back to square one as far as options. I have an SB6121 installed and working that I got at Walmart. It is no longer on the list.

    • Yup… You are right. Let me know if they won’t activate it. I am in touch with the attorneys filing the class action case and the NY Attorney General’s office, which is also now following this.

      • Low Tech says:

        It has been activated and is consistently giving me Turbo 20mbps down and 2mbps up speeds, as expected.

        If I didn’t have Turbo I would have stayed with a DOCSIS 2.0 modem, as they support Power Boost and I could get 30mbps down speeds most of the time.

        For those looking for a quick payback, and that don’t need DOCSIS 3.0, I found these refurbished SB5101U’s on Ebay. I am not affiliated with this company in any way. $22 isn’t bad. Gives you a 6 month payback.


        • bobo Bohannon says:

          Thanks for the link Low Tech. I think that will fit the bill for me perfectly. I don’t plan on upgrading to faster speeds for some time and that price is right!

      • Low Tech says:

        I am aware of South Carolina subscribers that are just getting their notices from TWC of the price hike. Would love to see a class action lawsuit filed by an attorney here too!

  7. Low Tech says:

    TWC cannot make up their mind. They have changed their approved modem list AGAIN and the SB6121 and others are back on the list.

    See: https://www.timewarnercable.com/en/support/internet/topics/modems.html

  8. jordan says:

    I now on the Motorola SB6141.I bought it off Ebay for 95.99 with free shipping.
    Slime Warner tried to charge me for the same Modem they gave me over 4 years ago.
    I told them they can stick it with their old Modem.
    After the call I went and found out the Law Firm that is doing the Class Action Law Suit.I Contacted them and told them I want in as well and I live in Portland, Maine.

    I am also paying for a VPN that does not keep Logs thanks to Slime Sell-Out Warner who is part of the damn 6 strikes bull.

    Go VPN and if possible and you can do it in your Area then dump Slime Warner and go to the Competition !

  9. Low Tech says:

    I just got my first TWC RoadRunner bill since I replaced their modem with my own.

    My bill has been $67.90 a month in the past for Turbo. That is all I get from them.

    This month, the bill has been REDUCED to $63.95, a $3.95 a month difference.

    Hmmm? Where have I seen that $3.95 figure before?

    So, this begs the question. Has TWC been charging me all along for their cable modem, and now they have reduced my bill because I replaced it?

    Or is this a screwup or gift that I should just keep to myself?

    • What has likely happened is TWC realized they messed up on the charging customers the modem rental fee before proper notification, so they are issuing both the modem rental fee and a credit in the same amount until all notification postcards have been mailed. Because you bought your modem, you were not charged the rental fee, but still got the service credit.

      I suspect that credit will be gone with the December or January bill.

      You may want to consider if Turbo is still worth it, now that TWC has increased Standard speeds to 15/1Mbps.

      Also, consider Earthlink for six months at Turbo speeds and then you can come back to TWC as a new broadband-only customer for considerably less for a year.

      Pricing for Earthlink through TWC:

      Cable Up to 15/1 $29.95/mo.
      (First 6 Months*; $41.95/mo. thereafter)

      Cable Up to 20/1Mbps $39.90/mo.
      (First 6 Months*; $51.90/mo. thereafter)

      Earthlink does not charge a modem rental fee and these are standalone service prices. Service works with your existing cable modem and is billed through TWC.

      • Jim says:

        Be very careful dealing with Earthlink It was my experience that if they have your checking account or credit card number they will continue to charge you until you prosecute them when you want to cut them off.

  10. Low Tech says:

    I saw where you indicated TWC was upping the Standard to 15mbps down in another post, but I don’t think that is everywhere yet.

    See https://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/internet/plans.html

    I am going to check into Earthlink as an alternative, and do the swap back to TWC when the deal runs out.

  11. Mike says:

    Got my SB6141 installed today and thought that they may have provisioned it wrong at first. I currently have the 20/2 service but when I do a speed test I get 50/2. I tried the buffalo speed test and got similar results. I tried downloading a torrent but it seems to stay around the 20Mb mark.

  12. Low Tech says:

    I’ve found testmy.net to be the best site for real world testing. I do a custom download of 200MB and it gives me a number I can trust.

  13. Junho says:

    Where can I go to check the approved modem list? I didn’t notice this information until I came to this website. I’m not sure the modem is worth it. Also I’m being charged $10 for a converter fee, is that normal?

  14. Zif says:

    So after activating my SB6121 today my bandwidth test speeds dropped from 25mbps to 15mbps. I spent 2hrs chatting with 4 morons (that’s being nice) from TWC to try to get an answer to this. Does anyone know if this the result of “Power Boost” or whatever they call it not working with DOCSIS 3.0 modems?

  15. Low Tech says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Sounds like you had a DOCSIS 2 modem with power boost. Now your DOCSIS 3 doesn’t support power boost. Had the same thing happen to me.

  16. Racerbob says:

    Several weeks ago I activated an SP6141 here and I am seeing Powerboost on Turbo. I am provisioned for DOCSIS 2 here. I think that it all depends on what system you are actually on. Furthermore, Powerboost is not that big of a deal to me. It really does not greatly affect the time to do a large download.

  17. Low Tech says:

    It seems that Power Boost only works on DOCSIS 2 setups. It does not appear to work on D3. However, I have tested both, and my speed on D3 is much more consistent. On D2, it could be all over the map. Although I might has been told by TWC Speed Test that I was getting 25 or 30mbps on Turbo with D2, it was transitory and not a real world number. I’m happier with D3 with my SB6121, but I’m starting to wonder if the price I pay is reasonable, seeing that Turbo is the odd speed and price point these days with all the changes.

  18. Dave says:

    So which modems now are good to go out and buy from retail or ebay? I have an old Arris that works fine that TWC told me today that they are going to to charge me for. I have had this modem for over 5 years or so.

    • If you own your Arris, you can keep using it. I bought a Motorola 6141 from an eBay seller with great success. Make sure you buy from a vendor with a Buy It Now price, no shipping, and hopefully no sales tax either.

  19. Pat Lukes says:

    I’m just about to sign up with Slime Warner and am so disappointed that the list of modems is short. What is the benefit of purchasing a wireless modem for cable. Wouldn’t I need a router also for my computer?

    Any thoughts about signing up with TW’s internet service? I’m thinking of going with Magic Jack, but want to make sure they are compatible. I’ve read about problems.

    Very confused here. So many extra fees added in.

    • Ziflin says:

      I would suggest getting the modem *without* the wireless built-in and just buy a decent wireless router. At least then if you switch internet providers you can keep using your wireless router.

      Magic Jack worked fine for us, but we were tired of paying $20/year :). So we bought an Obihai instead and use Google Voice (currently free) though you don’t get 911 doing this. We have our cell phones for 911. The nice thing about the Obihai is that if you set up google voice on your cell phone, when someone calls you it will ring both your home phone and cell phone.

      As terrible as their customer service is, TWC has been very reliable in our area. Enough that my wife is fine working from home once a week and is on conference calls most of that time with no problems.

  20. Joe says:

    I’m curious…
    Why can’t I just buy (new from the store) the modem that I currently lease from the company?? I know it works with the service and its 40$ cheaper than any of the modems on the list…

    The modem thats installed now its a cicso 2100 cable modem.

  21. Loons In June! says:

    If you could find that modem new in the store I would be impressed. Not sure they were ever on sale to the public.

    • todd says:

      Now that TWC are charging for the modems they need to put out the specifications, not just a list of “approved” models. Keeping a list of “approved models” is nothing more than a recipe for a cartel.

      The comments here in this thread are a great example of the baloney that ensues (“turbo doesn’t work with docsis3, just docsis2” ) What a bunch of crap.

      TWC, either lay out a clear specification or don’t charge for it.


  22. Loons In June! says:

    “Now that TWC are charging for the modems they need to put out the specifications, not just a list of “approved” models. Keeping a list of “approved models” is nothing more than a recipe for a cartel.”

    What kind of specification are you looking for?

    • todd says:

      Take disk drives as an example. It would be most unreasonable to say “You have to use a Seagate ST3000DM001 or a Western Digital WD1002FAEX in order for your computer to work.” Instead the particulars of the interface are specified (SATA rev. 3.0 , etc.) which allow you to choose the device that best meets your needs.

  23. Loons In June! says:

    All modems supplied meet either a D2 or D3 standard. What else do you need to know. You cant compare a modem to a hard drive.

    Again what exact specifications are you looking for?

  24. todd says:

    “You cant compare a modem to a hard drive.”

    I know the difference between a cable modem and a hard drive. You’re missing the point. If TWC are going to charge for the modem, it’s really not going to be OK for them to say “buy one of these models”. They need to say “here are our standards”.

    There’s a big difference there that you appear to not understand.

    Look at Zif and Low Tech’s comments in this thread about whether “power boost” works with the SB6121. What is it about the modem that makes it compatible with that tier of TWC service? D2? D3? Something else? How do you shop for it?

  25. Loons In June! says:

    There is a D2 standard and a D3 Standard.
    That’s it and it is pointed out on the site.
    Powerboost is not active with a D3 modem due to channel bonding.

  26. todd says:

    Which site? I’m reading this one.

    It doesn’t say any of the things you mentioned.

  27. todd says:

    Say I buy a modem that meets the DOCSIS2 standard. Which (if any) of TWC’s service levels would work for me?

    Then the same question for DOCSIS3.

    I really can’t tell from TWC’s web site.

  28. Tamarov says:

    Does anyone know which is faster? if I have:
    1. Standard Internet – D2 modem vs D3 modem w/bonding
    2. Turbo internet – D2 modem vs D3 modem w/bonding

    I’m considering updating my SB5101 to the new SB6141.

    • 1. same speed, since Standard is only 15Mbps at this time (if you are in the updated areas).

      2. Same speed. Turbo is 20Mbps. D3 is for faster speeds like Extreme. I am not 100% sure but I have heard that powerboost (comes with turbo) does not work with D3 at this time. Someone please correct me on this if necessary.

      • PowerBoost seems to be on the way out for everyone. It does not work at all on TWC’s DOCSIS 3 network from what I can tell.

        If people are going to buy their own modems and plan on wanting faster than 20-25Mbps speeds, they should invest in DOCSIS 3 modems like the 6141 today. Otherwise, in a few years you will probably have to retire the DOCSIS 2 modem and go buy a DOCSIS 3 modem anyway. The price difference is not great enough to forego buying D3 technology today.

        Just make sure to shop around. The best pricing on the 6141 still seems to be on eBay at “buy it now” pricing (which means no bidding nonsense and waiting around). Buy from a vendor with free shipping and hopefully no upfront sales tax.

        I was just in a cable store locally last week and three of the five people in line were there to turn in cable modems after buying their own. I think as more people learn how to buy their own equipment, the more that will refuse to pay the ridiculous rental fee TWC now imposes.

  29. MSk says:

    We have a connection problem and wondered if anyone can offer a solution. I bought a brand new Motorola sb6141 off of what looked like a reliable eBay seller. We hooked up and soon after the Internet connection kept dropping. It would work on and off for only a couple minutes at a time. When clicking Troubleshoot, it would either say the problem is an incorrect DNS was incorrect or not know why at all. I went on a forum to set up the DNS to fix/speed up the connection and that seemed to work for a day but now its not working again. Today the input signal icon on the modem is just flashing, never steadying. We keep calling TWC but their technicians on the phone and those who have come by, dont know what the problem is. Any ideas?

  30. HB says:

    Is the device brand new or used? If used, try and reset it to factory default. You never know what the previous user did.

  31. DC says:

    Say $50 a year per person and 250,000 subscribers (i’m guessing on that number) equals:


    What really burns me is that in NE Ohio, I have no other choice if I want broadband Internet. That’s a monopoly. However, the cable co’s are not federally regulated so they can pretty much do what they want.

    Also, the rates they charge to open up you bandwidth from the standard 15/1 service. $30 more a month for me for them click a radio button on some computer screen. Insane!

  32. Justme says:

    Time Warner Cable Service Technicians refuse to use Ethernet or any link cable like USB to connect their Arris Modem to router, and deny access to paid Turbo Road Runner!! This allows compromise and abuse of TWC accounts! Harassment! FRAUD!! Help Stop!!. Note: all Home Networking instructions delineate (1) RJ-45 Ethernet from modem to router; (2) RJ-45 Ethernet from router to computer to designate the main-hub of the personal home network!!

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