Motorola SBG6782-AC Surfboard eXtreme Cable Modem review: A complete, but bulky, cable Internet gateway

Basically, from any connected computer you can access the device's interface by pointing a Web browser to its default IP address, which is 192.168.0.1, and log in with the admin account with the default username and password, which are "admin" and "motorola."

After that, you'll be greeted with a self-explanatory interface, where you can manually change the device's settings or follow onscreen wizards.

The SBG6782-AC has a lot more settings and features than other Motorola combo devices I've had experience with. It's a true dual-band Wi-Fi router with support for the top-tier 1.3Gbps 802.11ac standard on the 5GHz band. For regular 802.11n clients, it offers up to 450Mbps on both the 5GHz and the 2.4GHz bands, which is also the top tier of this standard. You can set up two main Wi-Fi networks (one for each band) and two Guest networks as well. Wi-Fi clients connected to the Guest networks can access the Internet but not local resources, such as a printer or shared files.

Uniquely with the device, when setting up the Wi-Fi network, the interface automatically shows the interference level of the Wi-Fi channel you've selected. This way you can manually pick the channel that's most likely to have the best signal quality. Or you can also pick the Auto option to let the device take care of that for you. This is very helpful, especially on the 2.4GHz band since your neighborhood very likely is saturated with routers and access points using the same frequency band.

Other than that, the Motorola has common features collectively found in high-end routers, such as FireWire, Web filtering, Parental Control, and QoS. There is also support for dynamic DNS service, port-forwarding, reserved IP address, and so on, for those wanting to run multiple servers and remote applications on the network.

All in all, the router part of the Surfboard offers most of what advanced users would expect in a high-end router.

The Motorola SBG6782-AC's coax cable connector also works as a MoCA 1.1 adapter.
The Motorola SBG6782-AC's coax cable connector also works as a MoCA 1.1 adapter. Dong Ngo/CNET

Performance
The Motorola SBG6782-AC did very well in my tests as a cable modem, offering the same Internet speed as my existing DOCSIS 3.0 modem. Since Internet speed depends on how much you pay, I didn't get to test the device up to its top claimed speed of 343Mbps. However, I believe most cable Internet users won't see their Internet speed reduced because of this device. I know for sure this new device works with Comcast, but if you use other cable providers, make sure to check with them to see if the SBG6782-AC is supported before getting it.

As a Wi-Fi router, the SBG6782-AC offered mixed performance in my testing, though overall it did well.

CNET Labs 802.11ac performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Asus RT-AC66U
178.5 
339.2 
Netgear R6300
208 
331.32 
Motorola Surfboard eXtreme SBG6782-AC
145.8 
292.6 
D-Link DIR-868L
221 
271 
Trendnet TEW-812DRU
192.4 
263 
Cisco Linksys EA6500
113 
244.5 
AirStation WZR-D1800H
144 
233.6 
D-Link DIR-865L
135.2 
199.2 
Belkin AC 1200 DB
57 
162.6 

When used with 801.11ac clients, which only work on the 5GHz band, it offered a sustained speed of 293Mbps at close range (15 feet), putting it in the top three on the chart. When I increased the range to 100 feet, the speed was reduced to 146Mbps, slightly below the average. Nonetheless, these are very fast Wi-Fi speeds.

When used with 802.11n clients on the 5GHz band, the Motorola scored 186Mbps and 122Mbps for close range and long range, respectively. Both of these were around the average on the charts. On the 2.4GHz band, it registered 63Mbps and 19Mbps for close range and long range respectively, not so impressive.

CNET Labs 2.4GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
D-Link DIR-868L
55.6 
63.3 
Motorola Surfboard eXtreme SBG6782-AC
18.8 
63.1 
WD My Net N900 HD
16 
58.1 
Asus RT-N66U
45.5 
55 
Trendnet TEW-812DRU
37 
52.8 
Netgear R6300
41.6 
51.2 
Cisco Linksys EA6500
33.6 
48.8 
D-Link DIR-857
29.6 
47.8 
Netgear WNDR4500
31.1 
45.3 
Asus RT-AC66U
15.2 
36.8 
Belkin AC 1200 DB
9.6 
33.5 

CNET Labs 5GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
D-Link DIR-857
172.4 
214.6 
Asus RT-AC66U
166.6 
208.2 
Trendnet TEW-812DRU
160 
195.3 
WD My Net N900 HD
74 
195 
Linksys EA4500
176.8 
186.8 
Motorola Surfboard eXtreme SBG6782-AC
122.4 
185.8 
Apple AirPort Time Capsule
117.7 
182.2 
Asus RT-N66U
155.3 
181.8 
Netgear R6300
144.8 
178.8 
D-Link DIR-868L
161.5 
178 
AirStation WZR-D1800H
120 
172 
D-Link DIR-865L
121.6 
147.6 
Cisco Linksys EA6500
105.7 
124.6 

The Motorola SBG6782-AC offered very good range in my testing, up to some 280 feet away. Its effective range, however, is around 150 feet. I also tested the device's Wi-Fi signal stability and it passed with flying colors, with three days of continuous connection.

A bit of a disclaimer: I tested the Motorola SBG6782-AC's router at CNET's offices where there are walls and many other Wi-Fi devices that were out of my control. As with all Wi-Fi routers, your results may vary depending on where you live.

I wasn't able to test the Motorola SBG6782-AC's MoCA feature since our test labs, as well as my home, weren't wired for that. But like power line connectivity, this feature should work quite straightforwardly.

Conclusion
The Motorola SBG6782-AC Surfboard eXtreme is an exciting product since it's the first among combo devices to come with top hardware and lots of features. The device's performance is also great for the most part. It would earn higher ratings, however, if it were a bit slimmer or offered better Wi-Fi speed over long range. In its current state, all things considered, it's still the best combo device for cable Internet users.

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Motorola SBG6782-AC Surfboard eXtreme Cable Modem

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