SBG6580 and Guest Networks

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I’ve had a few problems with the SBG6580 — and some on the guest network setup, so they’re not obvious while it’s just me.

Today I had to back out the dual-channel setup — a client who was connected just fine on the Primary SSID could not get internet access through a good-signal connection on the secondary SSID. Dropping out Bridging and Dual-Channel (40MHz) (Wireless->Basic page (the link works if you have your default subnet configured)) resolves.

Frustrating. I know both dual-channel and secondary/guest SSID are unusual features, but lacking any ability to raise exceptions (ie SNMP traps or polling — although rsyslog is offered) I’m not 100% satisfied with this. Why sacrifice features commonly available on other platforms to provide new, flashy ones?

SBG6580 and Comcast

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When I got my SBG6580 to work with Comcast, there was a bit of a problem, but it was quickly fixed.

As a reminder, the SBG6580 is similar to the SB6120 (I put a quick link if you wanted to find that to see what I’m talking about) but has four ethernet ports, so it’s like mating a small 4-port hub with the SBG6120

Normally, Comcast wants the HFC MAC — mine ends in “A3” — that one can get an IP from Comcast, and they can manipulate the modem directly, but the tech at Comcast indicated there were problems in what he was seeing.

Instead, using the Gateway MAC — mine ends in “A4” — works fine, except that there’s no time service offered, so my modem thinks it’s always 8am. It would increase in time, but Comcast seems to like to reboot my modem.

Also, any time you speak to Comcast, they’re going to cut off your modem. It seems to be what they do. Every time “oh, I just have to make an edit in the config” is what they tell me, then we go through a reboot (second reboot — I do reboot the modem before calling them) and it works fine. Case-in-point: I gave back the pre-SBG6580 modem that comcast rents, and within a minute of the guy accepting the modem, I was punted offline again. Maybe it’s just a reeeeeally big coincidence.

Still no sight of GPL code.

SBG6580 Sourcecode?

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For enclosed spaces, I’m a big fan of all-in-one devices: they fit inside one smaller footprint, and use a single power connection, and doo all the things I need. I was a big fan of WRTSL54GS for this reason, plus the modifiable sourcecode.

The Motorola SurfBoard SBG6580 (damn, Moto, ever hear of shorter URLs?) showed up when I was looking for a Wifi-N/DOCSIS/hub that might fit inside my “Smart Panel” in my closet, and covers all the bulletpoints: DOCSIS-3.0, Wifi-N, 4 ports of 1gb goodness.

SBG6580 doesn’t have a simple way to create persistent VPN/PPTP connections (that I can see), and the SNMP only goes to the “head end” (the cable provider, I would assume). Finally, when it goes to sleep to conserve power, it’s not in any way fast about coming back up. I’m not sure whether it has a mdns stack to help printers work (one of those things they can’t really advertise because Joe Public doesn’t get it, and Moto doesn’t get blamed if the printer doesn’t work)

Despite these issues, I’m looking at repeating this exercise in my buddy’s closet to replace Comcast’s DOCSIS box, plus a WRTSL54GS.

Notable mention: the SBG6580 has a plug/wart/plug rather than a wall-wart, so it’s a bit easier to share the power connection inside the panel. I think I can lash down that power brick so that it gets a bit of heat-space around it. I’d feel better punching holes in the panel for heat-convection, though — count me crazy: it’s only a 1A/12V power connection, so would have trouble creating dangerous levels of heat without triggering its own thermal fuse.

Since the source for SB6120 is available, perhaps SBG6580 will be there too (it seems to be an evolution of the same product: add some ports) … that would give true future-proofing of the device, allowing it to evolve into an Asterisk server, proper VPN tunnels, SNMP that’s usable for end-users (non-head-end), etc.

No far, no SBG6580 (or SB6580) on Motorola’s website, nor at, and every google shows marketing information (nice google-bomb there) but nothing detailed nor usable.

So… where’s the source?

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