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Motorola Surfboard Cable Modem

To install a cable modem you might need to install a 2-way splitter off the cable outlet if the outlet is already being used with a television. The splitter will have one input and two outputs, bring the incoming cable from the outlet into the “IN” position. Next take one of the “OUT” to your modem. Then from the other “OUT” to your TV.

commercial cable splitter for retirement home tv system

Plug your Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port of your computer. This is also called a Category 5 (Cat 5) cable and looks similar to a phone cable, but larger. Once the Ethernet cable is connected to your computer, connect the other end to the cable modem. There is only one kind of jack that will accept this cable on the back of the modem, so it should be easy to plug in.

Plug your cable modem’s power transformer into a power outlet. If you are using a surge protector, which is always recommended, then plug the transformer into the power strip that your computer is plugged into. Once that is complete, plug the other end of the transformer into the cable modem. Again there is only one jack that will accept the power cable so it should be easy to find.

The cable modem should now have several, usually blinking lights representing your connection to the modem, (look at image below) your modem’s connection to your Internet service, any data transferring through the modem, and the power light. Once you have your modem on and working you must give it time to “sync up” with the service. This process can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.  Once the power, send, receive and online lights are all solid then your modem is connected.

Motorola cable surfboard modems are the modems that are used most. The  picture shows how a typical model will look.  Surfboards have a standby light and if set, will cause the modem to have no connectivity.  (The stand-by button shuts down the front panel LEDs and disconnects communication between the cable modem and the devices connected through the cable modem, while remaining active on the cable operator’s RF network.)  The “important” light that indicates that the surfboard modem has connectivity with the cable provider is the Online light.  It should be solid green.

Front-Panel Lights and Indications

Receive If this light turns off during normal operation it would indicate the loss of the receive channel.

Send If this light turns off during normal operation it would indicate the loss of the send channel.

Online If this light turns off during normal operation it would indicate the loss of the IP registration.

PC Activity This light will flash as the modem is transmitting or receiving data.

Power If this light is not on then the modem is unplugged or is in Standby mode, in which case press the Standby button.


Commercial cable television modem