Question about Arris SURFboard® SB5101 Cable Modem

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SB5101 Modem disconnects randomly

My modem disconnects randomly. The power light stays lit, the online light goes out, and at most the send light will blink (but usually only receive blinks). I have tried turning the power off and on again, but that only works some of the time. I got it working right now by taking the coaxial cable out and putting it back in, but this doesn't always work either. The cable line is new, installed in the spring. I used to have this problem on my old one, the same model, but it was destroyed by lightning and replaced with this one. I have not had any lightning damage with this current one. Are these problems common with this modem type, or am I just unlucky enough to get two broken ones in a row?

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  • kefkasan Jul 01, 2009

    Okay, I pulled up the signal page and it says

    Frequency - 681000000 Hz
    Signal to Noise Ratio - 39.0 dB
    Power level - .07 dBmV

    I take it .07 is too low?

  • kefkasan Jul 02, 2009

    My provider is not comcast, but rather some company called Atlantic Broadband.

    When I was tinkering with the main splitter in the basement, I redid the connection and while it stays on longer now, the power has gone up to 1.0 dBmV. Will this help?

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That sounds more like a bad cable signal than a modem problem - can you get to the modem status page (It's normally visible at htpp://192.168.100.1) - and see what the recieve signal level is?

Posted on Jul 01, 2009

  • Trimesh Jul 01, 2009

    That sounds like a really good signal - the only thing that just occured to me is that if your ISP is Comcast they were having problems pushing out the wrong config files to the SB5101 - and that did cause random disconnects.



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Using a thick quad shield cable is only good for tv cable. get new thin cable to run in youre house

Posted on Nov 25, 2009

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1 Answer

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These modems are very tricky. When this type modem goes into stand by modem that indicates that you do have a connection to your internet service provider. The reason you cant get online is because all internet access is disabled wile the modem is in standby. If you look closely there is a button located on the top of the modem. This is the stand by button. If you hit that button it should take the modem out of stand by mode and reestablish your connection to the internet.

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If you have the following lights :
Power light - on
Receive light - flashing
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PC/Activity - on
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Then your Network Access is OFF - modem is successfuly registered but Network Access Control is disabled via DOCSIS configuration file.

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unplug the cable wire, as well as the power, leave unplugged for about a min. hook the power back up,, if thier is a reset button on it, push it (its probably gonna be a small pin hole some place)

Once you have done that, screw back on the cable line.
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No connectivity; constant blinking LED lights "Receive" and "Send"


Or you didn't pay your subscription on time and the ISP disabled your cable modem to send user traffic over the cable network. When both Send and Receive lights are blinking that is a visual aid that the modem is working fine, but the ISP disabled its access to the network (unpaid bill, legal issues, etc.)

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If all the lights go out I would assume you mean the power light as well. Couple of things I would look at:

Has your ISP replaced the modem including the power adapter?
Has your ISP verified there is no short on the incoming data cable? You could try to wiggle the incoming data cable to see if the lights go out. I would do the same on the power cable.

If it's not a mechanical fault (cables), verify that you have the correct and current drivers for your modem and operating system.

Good luck and thanks for using FixYa.

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My motorola surfboard sb4200 modem randomly disconnects and then is unable to 'Send', as in the light doesnt go on. This seems to fix at random times and can go off for hours at a time, plz help


Have you contacted your ISP yet? You may be having issues with your connection, such as an upstream low signal-to-noise ratio or upstream receive power.

Also, since your modem is older you may want to have their tech support check and see what the power level is. If it's well above 50, closer to 60, then it's time to replace the modem. What happens is that if the signal is bad then the modem will have to "work harder" to stay online. After awhile they wear out. Another sign is if it's running hot - which means that it's struggling to stay online. Have your ISP confirm this for you.

Finally, have you checked with your ISP to see if there are any ongoing issues in your area? Don't go by what the recording says, as it reads your area code and prefix - and often is inaccurate.

Hope I've helped!

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