It can get tough trying to keep up with the various updates and changes in the world of technology. Knowing which devices to buy and keeping up-to-date with various features can get frustrating. You can get your modem from your ISP or you can buy it yourself online or from a store. But how do you choose the best DSL modem? Once you understand the basics of DSL broadband technology, the buying process gets easier.
A DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modem uses the copper wires present in your telephone lines – these copper wires can handle more than just your phone conversations. DSL utilises the extra ‘space’ in the telephone line capacity to transmit data on a different bandwidth/ frequency so as to not interfere with your telephone exchange. A DSL modem helps you to access the internet via these copper wires in the telephone live which is configured to provide broadband internet access.
Choosing the best DSL modem from the abundant choices available can be tricky business. You should keep the following factors in mind when choosing the best DSL modem to buy:
· Compatibility: Make sure that the modem you are considering is compatible with your ISP such as CenturyLink. There are various types of DSL services such as ADSL, SDSL, HDSL and VDSL. Confirm with your ISP to check the modem’s specifications required by your ISP and be aware of modems recommended by your ISP.
· Availability of Connections: How much usage will you be expecting out of your modem? Do you have many devices you want connected? You should look for a modem with Ethernet connections instead of just USB.
· User Friendly Usage: Is that modem compatible with your electronic devices? Is it easy to set up?
· Technical Support: Check for warranties and modems that offer after sales customer support.
· Speeds: If you have basic requirements such as checking your email and browsing, your choice will vastly differ from another person streaming HD movies and playing online games.
· Life Cycle: Technology updates at a fast rate and you don’t want your modem to be obsolete a few months after you’ve bought it. Get a model which is up-to-date or has regular firmware updates.
In this guide we’ve tested out the 5 best DSL modems available in the market, so that your decision making becomes easier.
#1. Netgear AC1900 DSL Modem
4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
#2. Netgear AC1600 DSL Modem
4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
#3. Actiontec ADSL Modem
4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
#4. Netgear N600 ADSL Modem
4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
Netgear has proven itself to be a reliable brand when it comes to internet accessories and the Netgear D7000 tops our list of best DSL modems to buy. The Netgear Genie App, extreme speeds and range, the readyCLOUD feature as well as being a modem router combo gives it super brownie points.
We tested this in a three storied house and the Netgear D7000 passed all of our expectations which makes this the best DSL modem router combo in the market. The signal strength was strong and stable on all floors, allowing us to really test it out. We streamed HD videos on all floors on multiple connected devices with a few colleagues playing a few online games and none of us faced any glitches. In fact, don’t be surprised if you get speeds above what you paid for, even with several wireless devices running simultaneously.
This DSL modem has a built in iTunes server for those who are Apple fans and it also boasts a ReadySHARE USB port offering super speeds which means you can connect and stream your personal media anywhere in your home. This 802.11ac device offers improved connectivity and the powerful antennas and Beamforming feature allows you to access your internet at a farther range, without compromising on speed and stability.
The Netgear Genie App also gives you the freedom to control, manage and monitor your home network when on the go. Get automatic PC backups with the ReadySHARE Vault as well to keep your data safe and secure. In addition, it's the best modem router for CenturyLink that is currently available on the market based on our testing.
You can get speeds up to 1900 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and you can take gaming to a whole new level with the 1.0GHz dual core processor, 6 antennas and Gigabit wired port.
The Netgear D6400 is designed so that it does not have to be hidden behind a shelf and its glossy surface along with its compact size, makes it look very attractive. Being able to broadcast on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands makes it useful if you have a mixture of old and new devices in your home. This makes it a great option as an entry level DSL modem router for your home.
While the D6400 definitely is a step higher from the standard wireless routers, we had to keep in mind that Netgear has two distinct lines – the Nighthawk which is the state of the art, top of the line premiums models and the D6400 does not fall in that category. Made to be affordable, it does have certain features that have been cut to make the price attractive.
When we tested the D6400, we found it to be more of a down-to-Earth DSL modem router combo which did offer excellent speeds at certain ranges. The 2.4GHz band didn’t offer top speeds, but when we switched to the 5GHz band, we got 100 Mbps and more up to a distance of 25 meters, which suggests this modem router combo is great for small to medium sized homes.
However we were happy to find that we could still steam videos and game away to our heart’s content even with ten devices connected. That’s saying something for this nifty gadget.
The Netgear Genie App, proprietary to Netgear offers great parental control as you can remotely manage and monitor your home network. It has 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports and internal antennae and surprisingly, it has 2 x USB 2.0 ports but no 3.0 ports. It does offer guest network features which is good if you always have company and want to protect the security of your private home network.
Although this DSL modem router theoretically offers speeds up to 1600 Mbps thanks to the dual band system, what you actually get could be a whole different picture. The wireless speeds were alright, but nothing to write home about. It offered 9 Mbps at a distance of 10 m and that dropped to half as the distance doubled on the 802.11n mode. The 802.11ac mode offered faster speeds reaching 160 Mbps.
For those of you who are on a budget, but want a DSL modem and router combo should look no further than the Actiontec GT784WN. This offers the all in one solution to your internet needs. With a built in firewall to protect your laptops against malware and absolute ease in the installation process makes this a great modem router to have. The 802.11n wireless standard ensures that you can get top speeds while being backward compatible so that your older devices don’t get the boot from being connected to the internet.
Even though this is a budget buy, it can handle a lot. We wanted to test to see just how much it could handle and we were impressed. Imagine 4 smartphones, 3 laptops connected to various websites either downloading, streaming or just browsing and Netflix with 2 Xbox 360’s linked at the same time – with no lags or drops! This DSL modem is a dream for those who want value for money without shelling out a lot. The Auto set up also made it a dream for those who were a little technology challenged. The machine more or less set it up itself!
The 300 Mbps wireless n router has a 4 port switch and is also backward compatible with older wireless standards. The parental control features along with the high grade firewall makes this great for people who don’t want to compromise on the security of their home.
As it runs only on the 2.4GHz range and does not offer 5GHz band, you will not get super fast speeds as compared to a top-of-the-line model. But with decent speeds and 11 channels, you can still surf the net and watch your favorite shows with no problems. You can connect both through the wired and wireless connection and can enjoy theoretical speeds reaching up to 300 Mbps.
Netgear is back on the list with the DGND3700. It offers speeds up to 600 Mbps and the easy share USB allows users to share personal data and media with ease on your network. When compared to other DSL modem routers in its category, the N600 still sailed far above its competition.
Being an avid player of World of Warcraft and being addicted to Netflix meant that the connection had to be solid as well as offer great performance and the Netgear N600 did not disappoint. The whole family managed to do their own thing, the kids streaming their shows on Netflix, while playing online games and none of us faced any dropped connections. For the first time in ages, the only time my video stopped was when I hit pause. No buffering at all! Netgear N600 DSL modem does cover a large area so unless you live in a castle, you should do just fine with the N600.
The UI of Netgear’s N600 auto detects your devices and while this is great for the tech noob, it may be frustrating for someone who wants to access advanced levels. The security offered with the WPA2PSK in the N600 ensures that you are always protected and you can use the Netgear Genie App to control your network remotely.
It can reach speeds of up to 600 Mbps on the dual band technology. It is also Gigabit wired for those who want to take advantage of fast speeds for their internet needs.
When it comes to the world of the internet, you get a certain peace of mind when you know that your internet connection is stable and reliable and this is exactly what DSL modems offer. This form of an internet connection works through the existing telephone lines and most individuals can access the internet at no steep cost as compared to cable or fiber optics.
DSL modems don’t restrict you from using your phone, which is great news if you want to browse and chat with a friend at the same time. For those who work from home, you are always connected at any time of the night or day and you will always have access to the internet as well as your phone.
Using your existing phone lines means that you do not have to shell out money for expensive upgrades and no extra installation of lines is required. You end up saving time as well as money. You never have to compromise on security as you get your own dedicated phone line for internet usage instead of sharing it with many other unknown computer users as what happens with cable.
As most internet users either stream videos, play games or browse, a DSL modem is best because it offers more download speeds than upload. Not many people upload a lot of data as compared to downloading data. But you can also opt for a more balanced download/ upload speed if you opt for asymmetrical instead of symmetrical service.
Also, when you use a DSL modem, the biggest advantage is that it is widely available everywhere, so if you want to be connected, chances are that you will have access to high speed internet before you know it. Or at least before you can tap that pair of red shoes.
DSL is definitely more popular all around the world. But as we get more used to technology and the number of electronic devices in our households grow, so do our internet needs. Cable is catching up and is overtaking DSL users as it offers faster speeds which have become the norm for today’s internet generation.
As your connection can deteriorate depending upon how far your home is from your ISPs home base, you could find that your speed may not always be consistent. But if you live in close proximity to your internet provider, then you’ll be one happy camper. This is because you’ll always enjoy a steady and stable connection, and will have no cause for complaint.
There are many great DSL modems available in the market, but it can take a lot of time and research to know which one works for you. With the four modems mentioned in our list, we hope this helps narrow down your work, no matter your budget, internet needs or more. Knowing which one to purchase will make a difference to internet performance in your home. And our aim is to make your lives easier.