It isn’t difficult to find a decent DSL Modem at a reasonable price nowadays, which wasn’t the case just a few years ago when ISPs and telcos were the only ones to provide such devices, usually accompanied by unreasonable extra charges. With emerging technologies breaking new grounds on a regular basis, the availability of these devices increased as their costs decreased,
almost to the point where people don’t really need rented or company-provided DSL modems as long as they can buy better versions themselves.
As we talk about how easily available these devices are, we can’t help but notice how much better some of them are when compared to what ISPs tend to offer for their clients. It’s not just that but DSL Modems can also be used reasons other than simply replacing what you normally get when you first sign up for such a service. In fact, some of these modems have such a versatile range of functions that we should perhaps take a look at the ten best DSL Modems the market has to offer to get a better understanding of what constitutes a good one to begin with.
Best DSL Modems – Top List
10ZOOM ADSL Modem/Router with Wireless-N
This capable yet affordable DSL Modem/Router features among other things a Broadcom ADSL and wireless-N technology which has the purpose of enhancing performance and compatibility across a wide connectivity spectrum. It is also Wi-Fi compatible to speeds as fast as 300 Mbps and delivers a maximum ADSL download speed of 27Mbps. It also benefits from a wireless distribution system support for wireless repeater networks.
9Zoom Telephonics AC1900 Cable Modem/Router
With the AC1900 from Zoom, you get a 343 Mbps DOCSIS modem and an AC1900 wireless router with 4 GigE ports combined into one, versatile device. Equipped with a variety of ingenious technologies like an advanced firewall, 3 dual band antennas, and a four-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, this particular modem stands out for its unique versatility. Among its many features, we also find a parental control function that enables you to restrict access to inappropriate or undesirable websites, a function every parent needs nowadays.
8NETGEAR AC1200 WiFi DSL Modem Router
It isn’t just its functionality that recommends this high-end DSL Modem from Netgear but its unique design as well. Compatibility-wise, it works equally well with AT&T, CenturyLink, and Comcast protocols so as to eliminate monthly DSL modem rental fees. It also enables you to set up secure WiFi connections using the highest levels of wireless security via WPA/WPA2. Also worth mentioning is that it incorporates an advanced QoS platform for optimized HD streaming and gaming purposes.
7TP-Link TC-W7960 DOCSIS3.0
Capable of 343 Mbps download and 143 Mbps upload speeds, the TC-W7960 from Tp-Link is seen as one of the fastest modems out there. Thanks to its impressive speeds, it allows you to game, stream, and download anything off the internet in above optimal conditions. What’s interesting about this particular modem is that it offers channel bonding of up to 8 downstream and 4 upstream channels, which is bound to improve your overall experience by some margin.
6Actiontec 300 Mbps Wireless-N ADSL Modem Router
This wireless-N ADSL modem router from Actiontec is compatible with all major DSL service providers, a versatility that recommends it for all kind of users. Preconfigured for a simple setup, this modem will automatically detect your specific service settings. As you would expect, it also includes a high-grade firewall, parental controls, and a variety of protection protocols along with a reliable encryption feature.
5Motorola SURFboard eXtreme Cable Modem
With the Motorola SURFboard eXtreme, you get a highly versatile and compatible modem, one that guarantees download speeds of up o 343 Mbps. What’s more, it isn’t just a modem but a 2-in-1 device that incorporates a DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem and an AC1750 WiFi Router in the same package. Along with all that, the modem benefits from a Gigabit Ethernet Router setup that allows you to satisfy all your Ethernet-related needs.
4NETGEAR CM500-1AZNAS DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem
This capable, all-inclusive DSL modem from Netgear features a 16×4 channel bonding that you can use to boost your connectivity. Its ingenious engineering enables you to reach speeds up to 16 times faster and is compatible with all major ISPs out there. This makes it ideal not just for achieving faster download speeds but also for streaming HD videos and high-speed online gaming, thanks mainly to its DOCSIS 3.0 capabilities.
3NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900
Compatible with most ISPs with only a couple of exceptions, this DOCSIS 3.0 modem works with most operating systems and has almost no limitations to speak of. It boasts a powerful 1.6 GHz processor to boost performance for streaming and gaming purposes, which makes it ideal for streaming 4K HD videos, faster download speeds, and high-speed online gaming. This is owed to the fact that it can reach 960 Mbps speeds without any issues to speak of.
2ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580
You want a modern DSL modem to not only deliver speed but a certain degree of versatility as well. Such is the case with the SURFboard SBG6580 from Arris which benefits from a 2-in-1 design that incorporates a DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem and an N300 WiFi Router in the same package. What’s more, the DOCSIS 3.0 modem features 8 download and 4 upload channels and can reach speeds of 343 Mbps download and 131 Mbps upload with almost any data plan. Not just that but it also features a 2.4/5.0 GHz dual-band switchblade to provide you with an added standard of connectivity.
1NETGEAR C3000-100NAS N300
Few other DSL modems can reach the operational standards of the C3000-100NAS N300 from Netgear, a popular modem with a very diverse set of functions. Among them, a DOCSIS 3.0 technology that allows you to reach speeds 8 times faster than older protocols, WiFi routing capabilities, and a Gigabit Wired Switch for good measure. It is also compatible with most ISPs and can eliminate modem rental fees almost completely regardless of your provider. Furthermore, it also features a Netgear Genie App that enables you among others to restrict content based on specific parameters and to manage your network remotely if needed.
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DSL Modem Buying Guide
Whether you’re setting up a network or connecting to an already existing one provided by your ISP, you need a DSL modem to rely on in order to get a good download speed and reliability. Seeing how far modem technology has come over the years, you can nowadays expect such a modem to do a lot more than just connect to the internet; not to say that this isn’t still their primary purpose, but they do tend to boast a host of other features as well. Before getting into the specifics of what makes a good DSL modem, we should perhaps take some time to learn a little more about them.
What Is A DSL Modem?
To put it bluntly, a DSL modem connects a computer or router to a DSL configured line so as to access a broadband internet connection. The purpose of a modem is to connect the user to the ISP through a DSL Access Multiplexer (also referred to as a DSLAM) via the phone line. This connection can vary in speed and general performance, not just depending on what the ISP delivers on their end but also depending on the reliability of your hardware.
How Do DSL Modems Work?
When connected through a telephone network, a connection can be expected to be a whole lot cheaper than fiber link or other types of connections, yet still dependable for all your online needs. It has to be said, however, that DSL connections only perform within a specific radius from the nearest DSL junction, meaning that farther connecting points usually get a gradually slower internet speed. In principle, a DSL modem makes use of the unused frequencies on the copper wire system used by telephone services, in the sense that such connections are always running despite how many telephone calls are being made at any given time.
Why Get A DSL Modem?
Although some of the people who invest in a DSL modem do so to improve their internet speed, there is also the issue of modem rental you have to think about. It is common for ISPs to charge a monthly rental fee for any modem they provide at the beginning of your contract, a fee you have to pay for the duration of your contract. You can, of course, avoid that by replacing the modem they provide with one of your own; a modem that isn’t just faster but brimming with a host of other useful technologies as well.
Modems VS Routers
Many are those who confuse modems and routers but when you get into the specifics, it is easy to see exactly how they differ. While a modem allows you to connect to the internet, a router is tasked with directing the connection to multiple devices. In a way, a router cannot function without a modem whereas a modem can definitely be used without a router. Also worth mentioning is that some broadband modems come with a combination of features commonly found in other devices like wireless access points or switches. Interestingly enough, the market also has quite a lot to offer in regards to modem/router combos that pack all the functions of both devices in a single unit.
What To Look For When Buying A DSL Modem
- Compatibility – The first thing you need to consider when buying a DSL modem is whether it is compatible with your ISP, the DSL service being used, and the connection protocol. These connections include ADSL, SDSL, HDSL, and VDSL, which may vary depending on your service provider. The best thing to do in this respect is to ask your ISP about the recommended modem type or at least to do some research into the type of connection you have.
- Connections – Another thing to look for is whether it can connect to the devices you already own. This is particularly useful if you intend to connect it to a router or access point you already have and how it might affect your ability to connect it to even more devices in the future. On a related note, make sure that the modem has an Ethernet port to allow you to connect it to a wired or wireless router. Bear in mind that some of these modems also come with usable USB ports that you can employ for roughly the same purposes.
- Attributes – You also want to make sure that whatever modem you’re looking at has RJ-11 DSL ports (at least one) and a fast Ethernet port for obvious reasons. At the same time, look for a reset button and LED lights to tell you whether the connections are active or if they are running properly. If possible, look for a modem with integrated firewall and virtual private network passthrough capabilities, mostly for security reasons.
- Ease Of Use – A good modem should be very easy to operate and equally easy to set up straight out of the box. Given their versatility, most DSL modems work with PCs, MACs, or any other device equipped with Ethernet ports. Remember that these modems usually come with installation software in the shape of a CD, DVD, or USB stick, software that you will have to run in order to set up the modem and ensure that it bodes well with whatever devices you already own.
- Speed – A modem’s connection speed is of a vital importance, no matter how much you know or do not know about the subject. Let’s just say that you shouldn’t go for anything that cannot guarantee at least 100 Mbps in regards to download speeds, although most of the good ones deliver 200 Mbps or more. Even if you don’t intend to use your connection to its fullest, however, you still need a modem that can handle the data packets exchanged between your modem and the ISP. For that, you need a fast and responsive DSL modem that you can rely on at any given time.