What should I look for in a DSL modem?
March 8, 2006 5:13 AM   Subscribe

My DSL modem is fried and out of warrantee. SNET SBC AT&T wants $100 for me to buy a new one, or they'll give me a free one if I sign a new contract. I'll likely be moving in three months, and a hundred dollars is pretty pricey when I can find used ones on eBay for less than twenty. I'm pretty technical, but the problem is that I don't know G.DMT, G.Lite, or T1.413 from a hole in the ground. What requirements should I look for in a DSL modem to be sure that it's compatible? (I'm in Connecticut.)
posted by Plutor to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Response by poster: (And yes, I'm essentially sure that it's the modem. A guy from AT&T came by yesterday and ran some line tests on the DSL line as well as hooking some dongle up to the modem. The modem's getting no DSL signal even though it's there.)
posted by Plutor at 5:21 AM on March 8, 2006

Pretty much all modern modems will support the various different flavors. The bigges tproblem you'll have (depending on your service) is setting up the modem, ie. the VPI/VCI settings, if you have a static ip, and all that sort of information. But I'm pretty sure that the last few modems I've owned have supported all of those standars, and some I've never heard of.
posted by jackofsaxons at 5:37 AM on March 8, 2006

Best answer: I believe that I have an extra one ( SBC connecticut) that I can give you. Email me and I'll check tonight.
posted by horsemuth at 5:48 AM on March 8, 2006

If you've been a long-time customer tell them that you will switch to cable unless they send you a new modem and that you'll do the same if they'll make you sign a new contract. I did this with Verizon about six months ago.
posted by batboy at 6:18 AM on March 8, 2006

You could also buy one off of ebay, should be able to find the same model you have now. For example, I have the Efficient 5260 (SBC/SNET in CT), and ebay had a bunch for sale there.

You're probably already aware of it, but you can also try the DSL Reports SNET forum.
posted by pretzel at 7:11 AM on March 8, 2006

Doh...sorry I saw you mentioned ebay already...nevermind. Need coffee.
posted by pretzel at 7:13 AM on March 8, 2006

If your old one was a Speedstream 5100B, contact me offline - I've got a spare still here from when I was on DSL.
posted by mrbill at 7:20 AM on March 8, 2006

I have a Zoom X4, which is not the POS that Qwest wanted to give me. It speaks all the aforementioned protocols -- getting it to work was several hours of pain, as your ISP generally won't tell you squat. The VPI/VCI was the most annoying part.

But the Zoom was about $100, so it wouldn't save you anything.
posted by teece at 7:59 AM on March 8, 2006

Just about the same thing happened to me in CT with SBC. I ended up calling customer service to ask what dsl modems that they supported. This took a long time on hold, but they eventually told me. Of course I did this after the DSL techician came to my house, ran "tests" and told me the dsl modem was bad. I purchased one of the models from ebay for like 20 bucks and... it did not work. They sent another techician out- this time an actual phone line guy. When he checked he said the guy who came to my house in the first place was on crack and that the problem was with a switch or something half a mile down the road from me. Once he did fix it both of my modems worked like a charm.
posted by Macduff at 12:46 PM on March 8, 2006

Well, first off, you should attempt to go the route that will cost you no money at all. This assumes that you are happy with your AT&T DSL service. Look through the contract. Every DSL or Cable contract I've signed I double checked for the 'move away' portion. All of which stated that if I moved away to a location that their services were not available, there were no penalties for breaking the contract in that case.

So, if the contract has that clause, then sign up, get the modem free, move in 3 months, and they'll probably ask for the modem back when you call to cancel. Easier to go into the local office and cancel and hand it over. Of course, if your new location has AT&T DSL service, you'll have to continue for the duration of the contract. Which won't be a bad thing if you are happy with their service. It'll probably cost you $20 to transfer service. But it would probably cost you the same to start service from a different company anyway.

If they don't have that part of the contract, threaten to switch to cable, like suggested. Maybe they'll give you a free one anyway.
posted by Phynix at 2:13 PM on March 8, 2006

Response by poster: I'm writing this comment using horsemuth's spare DSL modem. Thanks to everyone with advice and suggestions, but his was the easiest and the cheapest. Thanks, horsemuth!
posted by Plutor at 3:43 PM on March 9, 2006

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