To get High Speed Internet service in your home, you need a modem. To get a wireless network or to share your Internet connection among several devices, you need a router. Actiontec offers the DSL GT784WN model that combines the modem and router functions, is easy to set up and offers high wired and wireless networking speeds. If you just want basic router functions without high level security and performance configurations, the Actiontec router can handle several devices streaming video and movies at the same time, while showing web pages as fast as your DSL provider can deliver them.
As well as including a DSL modem, this particular Actiontec router features wired Ethernet connectivity with four RJ-45 ports and wireless networking supporting b, g and n protocols. CNET has a review and user ratings for the router. Wireless speed is up to 300 Mbps and the unit supports WPA2 encryption. On the DSL side, the modem can handle Internet provider speeds of up to 24 Mbps.
The router operates with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. You have to have Internet Explorer 7 or a more recent browser version installed. You need the TCP/IP network protocol installed and must have Java script enabled. Your computer needs an Ethernet port and it must have a network adapter, which supports b, g or n wireless network protocols, if you want to set up wireless networking.
Actiontec Router Setup
Plug in the power cord and check that the green power light is on. Connect an Ethernet cable between one of the yellow Ethernet sockets on the back of the router and your computer. Make sure your computer is switched on and check that one of the Ethernet lights on the router is green.
Connect the phone line from your wall socket to the phone line socket on the back of the router. Make sure there are phone filters on all devices connected to your phone system except this one. Check that the DSL indicator light is green.
This Actiontec router has an automatic configuration detection system. Once you have connected it, you can log into the router interface by opening a browser window and typing http://192.168.0.1 into the address box and hitting Enter. You are presented with a choice of AT&T or “All Other Service Providers.” If you are with AT&T, follow the corresponding instructions or, if not, click “Auto Detection,” and follow the instructions.
For manual configuration, the default user name is “admin” and the default password is “password.” When you have completed either the automatic or manual setup, the Internet indication light will flicker green, indicating Internet traffic.
Unless you are in a remote area where outsiders are unlikely to access your network, you should set up your wireless connection to be encrypted. The Actiontec router supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption. It is not recommended to use WEP since the encryption is no longer considered secure. The best choice is WPA2, as the strongest of the three possibilities. Older computers and other devices on your network may not support WPA2, so you have to first verify that their network adapters support the strong encryption. If not, you may have to settle for WPA. If you have devices that only support WEP, it is probably time to replace them or at least replace their network adapters.
You can choose the type of encryption during the router setup. Once you indicate which encryption you want to use, you have to enter a password. When the router is in operation, each device connecting to the wireless network for the first time will ask you for the password. You normally only have to enter it once. The device will remember it and connect automatically.
The Actiontec router operates on the 2.4 GHz band and is a single-band router. It has protection against denial of service attacks and an integrated firewall to protect against unauthorized access to your network. For additional protection or to limit access, the router has URL and IP address filtering. A quality of service feature helps keep critical packets, such as streaming signals or IP phone signals from being delayed.
Price and User Reviews
For overall value and user convenience, the Actiontec router is hard to beat. It delivers the modem function and a complete set of basic router features for an attractive price. As of fall 2013, online prices ranged from below $60 to just over $80.
On Amazon, over 600 user reviews gave the Actiontec router an overall rating of four out of five stars. Users were especially satisfied with the speed they obtained, the Actiontec customer service, and the low price. Users who had problems were often unable to use the automatic configuration and had to perform a manual setup which sometimes required information they didn’t have, such as their ISP user name and password. In general, users agreed that the unit represented good value for the price paid.