Products combining modem and router functions for your DSL Internet service have many other features that you may need. You have to evaluate what DSL modem router characteristics are important for the way you use your service and what levels of performance you want. When you get a single unit that takes care of all interfacing between your telephone line and your computer network, you have to make sure it handles issues such as security adequately while delivering the desired speed and range. Top Ten Reviews gives an overview of modem routers.
What Bandwidth Do You Need?
While most modem routers have enough speed to handle the bandwidth delivered by your Internet service, you have to make sure the modem router won’t slow down your browsing and downloading. Find out what the maximum speed of your service is by contacting your service provider or finding out the speed the provider claims on his website or in your contract. Your DSL modem router should have a speed substantially higher than your service.
If you want to connect computers that don’t have wireless capability to the Internet, you need an Ethernet port on your modem router. Ethernet networks can run at different speeds, depending on the capacity of the ports. The speed of the port on the modem router should match or exceed the fastest port on the computers to avoid having the modem router slow down your network. Old Ethernet cards in your computer may still run at 10 Mbps while new models can operate at 100 or 1000 Mbps.
If you have laptops or tablets in your household, your DSL modem router has to include a wireless capability. Wireless networks function using b, g and n protocols and the wireless router function of your unit has to include the protocol used by your laptops and tablets. Old laptops may still work with the b protocol but most recent models support the faster g and n protocols. The n protocol can have different maximum speeds and if your modem router has a high top speed, such as 300 Mbps, it will accommodate the latest laptops and mobile units.
DSL Modem Router Diagnostics
When installing your unit and when your Internet service is not working properly, LED diagnostics are useful for determining where the problem lies. Typical diagnostic lights show when there is power, when the unit is connected to the Internet, when data is being transferred and when the wireless and Ethernet networks are being used. If a network light is off you know the problem is at your end but if the Internet connection light is off or the wrong color, depending on the model of router, you can call the service provider with confidence, knowing that they have to fix the problem.
Some modem routers have security features such as firewalls and packet inspection built in while, for others, you have to install corresponding security functions on each of your computers to achieve the same level of safety. Your wireless network is the other min source of security risk. The available encryption settings to protect your wireless network are WEP, WPA and WPA2. For your wireless network to function properly, all the connected devices must be capable of supporting the same level of encryption. While the WPA2 encryption is the most powerful, check to make sure that all your devices can support it or you may have to use a less secure version.
Some modem routers are customizable and you can change settings to match your requirements, while others feature an automatic installation that uses the most common parameters. If you have specific needs and wan to set up your modem router in a particular way, make sure the unit gives you access to all the required settings. If you are satisfied with the most common configuration, get a modem router that features automatic setup.
If you are technically knowledgeable and can figure out problems, you may need technical support only rarely, but if you are going to need help when the installation does not work or you forget your wireless network password, check to make sure the vendor offers adequate support. A toll-free number, email support and extensive online documentation are a minimum for ensuring you will be able to resolve your problems quickly and reliably.