Motorola MG7550 High Speed DOCSIS 3.0 Gateway: Should you buy?
What is the Motorola MG7550?
The Motorola MG7550 is a combination of a cable modem and router. In manufacturers’ advertisements, the combined router and modem in the same box are often also referred to as the gateway. So if you see a “gateway” as a part of the home networking gadget name, it usually means that it is a modem and router combined in a single box.
For the Motorola MG7550, it is a DOCSIS 3.0 Modem and AC1900 Wi-Fi Gigabit Router put together in the same box with other features such as the Power Boost, four 10/100/1000 Gigabit (GigE) Ethernet ports, firewall etc.
The 686 Mbps refers to the modem part of the MG7550. For the present moment, this is more than sufficient for most people.
Why do you need to read this hub?
In order to fully understand what you are buying, I will explain the main and important features, especially those stated on the box so that by the end of this hub, you will have a good idea on what the Motorola MG7550 gateway is, what are its features, how can those features help you and the possible negative aspects so that you can make an informed decision as to whether to buy the MG7550 or other models.
Should you buy the Motorola MG7550 High-Speed DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Gateway?
Like my other home networking solution technical reviews, I will make this review on the Motorola MG7550 gateway as simple as possible so that you don’t have to be a techie to understand all those technical mumbo jumbo.
My main aim is to help as many of my friends and other people who are not so technically inclined to enable them to make an informed decision on a technical product like the modem, wireless router or gateway which has become an essential and important household item.
Like it or not, sooner or later, everyone will need to get one of these gadgets because in today’s environment, the modems and wireless routers have become the lifeblood of the phone, tablet, notebook, game console and TV communications in most people’s house.
As such this hub is intentionally written in the simplest form with as little jargon where possible.
Fibre or Cable?
Before you go further, you have to know whether your provider is using fibre optics or cable for your connection.
The Motorola MG7550 is only good for you if you are using cable. Yes, that is the same the same cable as in for your cable TV except in this case you will also be sharing for your broadband internet. The MG7550 will not work if you are using fibre broadband. For example, if your service provider is Verison Fios, Lightower Fiber Networks, Frontier Fios and the many others who are using fibre, DO NOT BUY the Motorola MG7500 as it will not work.
What is DOCSIS 3.0?
DOCSIS is the acronym for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. It is a telecommunications standard used to provide Internet access via a cable modem quite some time ago for cable TV (CATV) systems before broadband internet became popular.
In is important because modem manufacturers and network service providers need to have a common method for their products to work together in a predictable manner. Otherwise it would be very chaotic especially for an environment like the home network environment which until today, many people are still not familiar with.
Like many technical standards, DOCSIS has evolved over time to support new capabilities such as higher Internet service speeds, video and telephony services. DOCSIS 3.0 is the more recent version of the DOCSIS standard. The most visible difference to end users is that DOCSIS 3.0 modems provide one of the highest possible service speeds at the moment.
As such, many providers requires the DOCSIS 3.0 modems on their higher speed Internet service tiers. At the point of writing, DOCSIS 3.1 is the latest standard but it is still not popular as it needs new equipment which are costly to implement.
What is 16x4?
16x4 refers to channel and channel bonding. Channel bonding is the technology that allows the modem to utilize multiple channels simultaneously to increase its overall performance. In simple terms, visualize your water pipe with a certain diameter. If you have 5 pipes, each pipe can only allow a certain volume of water to go through at any one time because of its diameter.
However if you combine all 5 pipes into one larger pipe, five times the amount can go through at any one time. This is the same for broadband data. Of course, this is a very ultra-simplified analogy.
However if you want to find out more about channel bonding, I have explained more in simple details in my hub Which to Buy: the Arris Motorola SB6141 or SB6121?
The figure 16x4 tells you that you have 16 bonded download channels and 4 channels for uploads. You have less upload channels than download channels as most people do more downloads than uploads.
Do note that the number of channels that can be bonded is actually dependent on your ISP and not on the modem. However the modem must have that capacity to bond.
Why do you need the Motorola MG7550 High-Speed Cable Gateway?
Many of today’s devices such as the smartphone, security cameras, tablets, computers, game console and HDTVs uses the n, g and ac wireless standards for internet and wireless access.
The Motorola MG7550 is a combination of a high speed wireless router with AC1900 WiFi and Power Boost. What this means is that most of your devices are able to be connected to the internet via the MG7550 as has the latest AC wireless standard which is backward compatible to the earlier standards.
It also has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports if you need wired connections to your computers, HDTVs, game stations, and other Ethernet-capable devices.
Through its use of the Wireless Power Boost feature, the MG7550 adds high-performance Wi-Fi power amplifiers to boost the wireless signals to the legal limit. This will give a significant boost in speed and range; that’s why many owners reported that they have seen significant speed improvement over their existing equipment.
In addition, the use of the AnyBeam beamforming at both 2.5 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequencies focuses the signal on wireless clients to further enhance performance and range
The integration the cable modem and wireless router in a box results in a more reliable connection that reduces unwieldy wiring and power adapter clutter. By making the MG7550 vertical standing, it minimizes shelf space, improves cooling, extends the product life and also enhances the aesthetics of your home.
How far can the signal go?
Signal distance is usually very subjective because it depends on the environment - for example the material used in the construct of your house, number of stories etc
As mentioned earlier in this hub, the Motorola MG7550 uses both the Power Boost and AnyBeam technologies to extend the range of this AC1900 dual-band wireless router.
The Power Boost technology is to amplify the wireless signal to the legal limit in the U.S. and the AnyBeam technology used to perform implicit beamforming at the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz respectively. Beamforming focuses the wireless signal toward the wireless clients so that together with Power Boost, they provide reportedly the fastest and most robust connections over the largest possible range for virtually all client types.
I helped my friend to install the MG7550 in her doubly story house of approximately 3,000 sq ft. The gateway is placed downstairs and I checked the speed using Speedtest.net for both upstairs and downstairs are nearly the same. My friend noticed great improvements in WiFi connection throughout the entire house as compared to her previous gateway. She also go a slightly higher speed than what she subscribed for!
CPE or customer premises equipment is a telephone or other service provider equipment that is located physically on the customer's premises rather than on the provider's premises or in between.
The objectives of CPE is to provide objective, accurate and unbiased assessments of real performance instead of a lab environment.
Netperian a pioneer in real world CPE did a comparison analysis between Arris, Motorola and Netgear gateways and below are the result of their study:
Download and upload speed comparisons
Between the three, the Motorola MG7550 came up tops in both the download and upload test. Click here for the full Netperian report of the above test.
What are the negatives of the Motorola MG7550?
Do note that the negatives or “cons” I mention here depends on individual preference. It may be a negative for someone but a plus point for another!
- The Motorola MG7550 does not have a phone jack for you to connect your phone to use VOIP. If you need something with a phone jack, you might want to look at the Arris TG862G. The Arris TG862G is also a DOCSIS 3.0 Residential Gateway with 802.11n, 4 Port Router with 2 Voice Lines that you can connect your phone to it. Alternatively if you like the MG7550 but not other equipment, you could easily get an Ethernet to phone adapter.
- If you only need a modem then check out the Motorola MB7420 which is just a 686 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem without any router functions. On the other hand, if you just need a wireless router, you can check out the TP-Link Archer C9, Linksys 6900 or Asus RT-86U for a good wireless router to get at this point of time
- As with any technology product, the price of the MG7550 is relatively higher now because it is very new – being released only late 2016. However the question is this – are you willing to wait longer until it gets more dated and the price gets correspondingly lower? You could do that but you would missed out the opportunity to use its speed, power and other powerful features
- This is not a negative but if you are subscribed to a relatively low speed with no intention of upgrading to higher speeds, then it may be economically cheaper to get a lower specification device rather than the MG7550
- I wish that the cluster of 4 ethernet jacks are spaced a little further apart – however this is really a very minor or no issue at all
What is the advantage of having the Motorola MG7550?
- If you are renting your equipment from your service provider, you will find that typically the Motorola TG7550 is a better equipment that what they would have rented to you. Anyway, this is what a large number of people have found out
- Depending on your rental rate, you are able to recoup your investment within a certain period of time and then save as you no longer have to pay the perpetual rental fee. On top of that, you get a top performing piece of hardware
- Many people seems to report that they got faster speed than what they have subscribed for with their Motorola MG7550. However do note that if you get a faster speed, that is a bonus. People generally get speed that is less than what they have subscribed for. However in many forums, I found many reported getting higher speeds with a user mentioning getting downloads at 240 Mbs while paying for 150 Mbs; another subscribed for 50 Mbps but regularly got 100-150 Mbps
- Majority of users also reported stable connections with minimal droppings as compared with their previous equipment
- Installation and activation is very simple and easy. If you are one of the non techie types, then this is really good news for you
- You are getting one of the latest hardware; the Motorola MG7550 was only released late in 2016. As such the equipment may last you for a longer time
- If your service speed is lower now, you can upgrade it to a faster speed as your usage demands for it later without the need to replace the hardware
- It is certified for use by Comcast XFINITY for all residential speeds, including Extreme 250; Time Warner Cable for all speeds including 300 Mbps; Cox; Charter Spectrum, Cable One, Suddenlink, Brightshouse and many service providers who have customer modem ownership programs. If you are unsure whether your provider supports the MG7550, please contact the providers to ensure the MG7550 is supported
- the gateway I bought for my friend from Amazon comes with a two years warranty. Many similar products offer only a year's warranty. Thus I take the additional year's warranty as a discount
What do you get with the Motorola MG7550?
Here are the specifications for the Motorola MG7550:
Size: 11 x 10.5 x 3 inches
Weight: 2.7 pounds
Gadget type: Modem and wireless router
Sturdiness: Very good with vents at the left, right and top of the device to keep it cool
Modem speed: 686 Mbps
Standard: AC and backward compatible
Antennas: 3 internal dual band
Installation time: Depending on your familiarity, many owners reported taking less than 15 minutes to setup and activate
Boot up speed: 30 seconds or less. Most DOCSIS 3.0 gadgets takes 2 to 3 minutes to boot
Other features: Power Boost, Anybeam, parental controls etc
The Motorola MB7550
Many owners found they got stronger signal strengths and faster speeds with many getting speeds above what they subscribed for, easy to install and activate and excellent wireless range. Also very stable.
At time of writing, one of the best cable gateway in the market.
Modem only option
If you are looking for just a cable modem, then the Model MB7420 will be a good choice. It is the Motorola MB7550 but without the build in wireless router and the wireless router features.
The Motorola MB7420
Similar to the MG7550 but WITHOUT the wireless router. This is a cable modem only.
Can you help me please?
I try help my friends make informed decision on products by sharing what I know here. However I need feedback to know if my efforts are effective or not. As such I need feedback to help me achieve that objective.
So, can you please help me by taking less than 2 minutes to answer some simple questions below?