Choosing a good DSL modem for your home or small business doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need is a basic understanding of how a DSL modem connects you to the internet through your internet service provider (ISP). This guide contains helpful information on DSL technology, simple broadband configuration, what kind of modem you might need, and why you may want to add a router to create a wireless network.What is a DSL modem?
A DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modem is an electronic device that allows you to receive the signals your DSL provider sends over the copper telephone lines coming into your home or business. You typically need to rent or buy a modem to receive broadband service from companies such as Verizon, CenturyLink, AT&T, and BellSouth that specialize in delivering the internet over phone lines. The modem translates the electrical pulses into data that the modem then sends to your computer via an Ethernet cable connection (using a Fast Ethernet port), or the data may be broadcast to multiple devices simultaneously in your network setup using a separate wireless router.How does a wireless router work with your DSL modem?
A router takes the signal your modem receives and distributes it wirelessly to your entire network setup (computers, tablets, smartphones, wireless streaming TV receivers, and so on). Wireless brand routers such as Linksys or Motorola use Wi-Fi wireless technology to broadcast to other compatible equipment within range of the router signal. You don’t need a router that’s wireless to use DSL, but you do need a DSL modem to make everything work.How do you choose the right DSL modem?
Make sure the modem model you’re considering matches your DSL provider's specifications. Different DSL services require different types of modem configurations. One of the most common is ADSL, Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line, which means more bandwidth is allocated for downloading data than uploading data. In some markets, speed upgrades such as ADSL 2 and ADSL 2+ can achieve DSL download speeds of 24 Mbps and upload speeds of 3.3 Mbps. There are over a dozen DSL configurations, including SDSL, HDSL, and super-fast VDSL (300 Mbps downloads/100 Mbps uploads). Your DSL provider will be able to tell you which modem configuration you need and may even give you a list of compatible modems that may include a Westell model such as the Westell 6100 modem.