DSL Modem Shoppers Guide

dsl modemFinding the right DSL modem for your home or office is becoming increasingly complex.  Thankfully, that additional complexity is due to the wide selection of great offerings that are being placed on the market by a record breaking number of vendors.  The selection is nearly overwhelming, so you need to have a plan of attack if you want to find the right DSL modem to fit your needs.  With that in mind, we have created for you a DSL modem shoppers’ guide in the form of questions you need to ask and answer before making any purchase as well as how those answers will impact your purchase:

Check Your DSL Carrier For Specs – Before shopping for any type of DSL modem, you want to be sure that you know the specifications.  Your best bet is to call your DSL carrier’s support line and ask the technician that answers the phone what sort of specifications are required.  This may be an awkward question for them as they may not be trained to answer such a question, especially since carriers try to sell you on their own modems.

This may be a good time to consider where you purchase and why.  Most ISPs are very shy about supporting third party hardware, but they may not have what you need.  You might want to balance your ability to support your own hardware against the limited options available right here and now.

How Many People Will Use Your DSL Modem?

Some DSL modems come with integrated wired routing capabilities.  If you need 2, 3, or maybe even 4 devices connected to a DSL modem this could be just what you want.  On the other hand, if you are looking to connect an office full of wired computers to the security of a DSL connection, you are going to probably have to get a router, hub, switch, or other device to manage this as there are few DSL modems sold with more than 4 Ethernet ports.

If you are going to go with an external routing device, you want to be sure of the port speeds.  This fact can be very useful information for connecting individual devices to the DSL modem as well.  The reason that this information is more useful for connecting an entire hub or router full of users to a DSL modem is that modern DSL connections used in the business place have already taken aim at exceeding the 100 Mbps standard that budget and/or older office computers and netbooks use.  Gigabit DSL speeds are still at least a ways out, but there is also the argument that any latency intensive applications can benefit greatly from a faster port speed when the traffic gets heavy regardless of how close the connection is to the 100 Mbps mark.

Does Your DSL Modem Need WiFi?

Wireless technology is being integrated deeply into our lives in the form of everything from our phones to our gaming consoles and even our computers and televisions.  Just about everything is being connected via WiFi these days, so knowing what type of WiFi standard these devices use can make a big difference in getting the right DSL modem.  Many of the better DSL modems support different 802.11 (WiFI) standards as well as operate simultaneously at both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz spectrums for greater speed, range, and compatibility.

Does Your DSL Modem Need a USB Port?

Some people like to share and access the same files on different devices, and perhaps even abroad.  If this describes you, then you might want to look at a DSL modem that has a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port on it.  These ports are used differently on different modems, so be sure to understand the way any modem uses it before buying.  That being said, that major uses for these ports are to share file storage devices and/or multi-functional devices/printers.

If sharing such devices over the local network sounds great, wait until you see what some of the newest DSL modems can do by allowing you to remotely access these devices!  Of course both local and remote access can generally be secured with passwords and perhaps restricted in other ways as well, you might want to ask yourself what you want in the way of storage and/or printer sharing before shopping for a DSL modem.