Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) modems allow you to have an always-on connection to the Internet through your existing phone line. DSL broadband service requires an account with a telephone service provider, but allows you to use the telephone and Internet at the same time, because the DSL and telephone data are kept separate. When buying a DSL modem, you’ll need to consider cost, service availability, your distance from the service provider, the attributes and features you’ll require and the levels of after-sales support available from your vendor.
1DSL:DSL technology lets you get broadband Internet speeds using your telephone line. The data are transmitted via copper wires from the telephone company to your modem. Your DSL modem converts the data coming from the telephone company to a format your computer can understand and converts data from the computer in a similar manner. You need a special modem to convert your DSL signals. The most commonly used modems for home use are ADSL (Asymmetric DSL) modems, on which the download speed is much faster than the upload speed.
2Attributes: DSL home modems are mostly similar and typically contain an ADSL port, an Ethernet port and LED lights to indicate connectivity to the Internet. They use the Ethernet port to connect to your computer, although some also allow you to connect using a USB cable. You’ll need a router if you plan to share the Internet connection among multiple devices. Some DSL modems come with an integrated router, although these may cost more. You can also find firewalls and VPN passthroughs integrated in some routers, so these may be a better choice for you if you have high-level security needs or conduct business over the Internet.
3Support: When purchasing a DSL modem, ensure that you’re capable of doing the installation yourself. DSL standards support plug-and-play features, so you should be able to connect the modem and go, but if you’re technically challenged, check that the supplier offers installation support or clear guidelines before committing to a purchase. Some providers add the cost of the modem and technical support to your service contract, so check whether purchasing the modem outright suits your circumstances before purchasing. Also ensure that the modem you purchase will work with your provider's DSL service.
4Considerations: DSL has a limited range. The quality of service declines within two miles of the data center. Check that you’re within a suitable range before purchasing a modem, as other forms of broadband service may be more suitable if you live in a remote location. There are very few differences in features and costs between DSL modems, so your decision whether to purchase online or in-store depends on your personal preferences and shipping costs.