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Internet access has been around for a relatively brief period in history, but it is already so important a factor in our world that it rapidly approaches the status of a basic need. It is safe to say that no one living a modern lifestyle can go a day without it. In fact, whether or not it is modern is defined in no small part by whether an area has internet or not.
Although wireless internet has an ever-growing place in the many ‘smart’ objects we use throughout a day, a physical internet connection still offers a range of categorical advantages. A physical connection is faster, more secure, and will not lose signal or strength with range or atmospheric conditions.
These connections are called Digital Subscriber Lines (more commonly known as DSL) and work by means of a modem that connects a local computer to the Internet by changing internet data into a signal that can be transferred via a telephone line. The signals travel in this format from one computer to another, where the receiving modem picks up the incoming signal and returns it to the right format for use in a computer.
Given the essential nature of a DSL modem to a strong physical internet connection, you’ll want to make certain yours is the best one possible. We’ve picked out the top five modems to help you get online.
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|EDITOR’S CHOICE||1. NETGEAR C3000-100NAS N300
|RUNNER UP||2. ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580
|3. Actiontec GT784WN
|4. TP-Link TC-W7960
|5. Zoom Telephonics 5363
Our Best DSL Modem Reviews and Comparisons
1. NETGEAR C3000-100NAS N300
Netgear is a longtime leader in powerful modems and brings its usual excellence to this device as well.
- DOCSIS 3.0
- 340 MB/s transfer speed
- Eight downstream channels and four upstream
- Two Gigabit Ethernet ports
What We Like About NETGEAR C3000-100NAS N300
This modem includes a router as well, meeting your needs no matter how you want to hook up.
What We Don’t Like About NETGEAR C3000-100NAS N300
Netgear’s blazing-fast speeds leave some slower internet subscriptions or devices incompatible.
- Integrated DDoS protection
- Parental control package
- USB connector
- Simple setup
- Highly adaptable to firewalls
- Incompatible with slower devices
- Netgear mobile app required for full setup
2. ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580
SURFBoard modems have been around almost as long as the civilian internet. This model shows why they are so popular.
- Eight download and four upload streams
- DOCSIS 3.0
- 343 MB/s
- IPv6 browsing
What We Like About ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580
This modem is designed with the user in mind, keeping all controls easily accessible even when it is wedged into corners or under furniture.
What We Don’t Like About ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580
This modem is incompatible with some major network providers
- Four Gigabit ports
- Advanced IPv6 browsing support
- 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi channels
- Easy access to controls
- Two year warranty
- Needs reboots to solve relatively minor problems
- Not compatible with AT&T or Verizon
3. Actiontec GT784WN
This modem is both simple to set up and extremely effective when in use.
- 802.11n wireless connection
- 300 MB/s transfer speed
- Four Ethernet ports
- Extensive firewall and encryption settings
What We Like About Actiontec GT784WN
Most of the settings on this modem are preconfigured to the most popular or optimal choices to allow practically instant setup.
What We Don’t Like About Actiontec GT784WN
Much of the hardware, particularly the chipsets, are of the relatively old design and will be vulnerable to more recently developed attacks.
- Beamforming antenna
- Easy setup
- Excellent customer support
- Powerful installation wizard to configure properly
- Strong backwards compatibility
- Older chipsets and hardware
- Hard to change presets
4. TP-Link TC-W7960
This modem offers a strong set of integrated firewalls and parental controls on top of compatibility with most major service providers.
- Four upstream channels, eight downstream
- 150 MB/s transfer speed
- USB file sharing port
- Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
What We Like About TP-Link TC-W7960
With this modem, you have an unprecedented level of security against intrusions and control over what content moves through your connection.
What We Don’t Like About TP-Link TC-W7960
LThe added levels of filtering significantly slow the modem, leaving its speed barely half of other comparable devices.
- USB shared storage port
- Strong parental controls
- Two year warranty
- Easy to set up
- Compatible with major ISPs
- Slow transfer speeds
- Not suitable for heavy loads
5. Zoom Telephonics 5363
This modem prioritizes speed with multiple wireless and cable connections.
- DOCSIS 3.0
- 343 MB/s transfer speed
- IPv6 browsing support
- 4 Gigabit Ethernet connections
What We Like About Zoom Telephonics 5363
With three wireless antennae and Gigabit physical connections, this modem moves significantly faster than the competition.
What We Don’t Like About Zoom Telephonics 5363
There is no USB port, limiting connectivity and making it hard to use this as a local shared drive.
- Relatively quick connection
- Three wireless antennas for better reception
- Dual band to divide loads better
- Integrated filtering against common cyber attacks
- Capable of processing complicated VPN traffic
- Confusing instructions
- Poor customer service
A cable modem can be a welcome boost to connection speed and security and is often cheaper and more convenient than a wireless connection. Pick one of these modems and you can start taking advantage of these benefits immediately.
It is worth noting that many of these devices are also wireless routers. While this will save the usual clutter associated with having a separate modem and router, buying one will mean replacing either or both of those devices currently in use.
Any consumer looking to buy a new modem or router should keep in mind that while both service providers and the modems themselves tend to offer screening or firewalls, the user should still be careful to keep their connection away from illicit or unwholesome websites. The security