The 7 Best DSL Modems

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This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in May of 2019. If you live in an area where cable or fiber optic access is limited, you might still be relying on a phone line to get connected to the internet. These DSL modems maximize the amount of data you can pull from a traditional phone jack without interrupting service every time somebody picks up the receiver to make a call. We've ranked them here by their speed, connectivity, and ease of use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

2. Netgear Nighthawk D7000

3. Motorola MD1600

Editor's Notes

January 07, 2021:

It isn't a secret that DSL is becoming an outdated technology, and, as such, most companies aren't making new modems for it. However, in many areas of the United States it is the only type of high-speed internet service people have access to. We have done our best to identify the best options in what is, admittedly, a dated category, and have even had to resort to including a couple of discontinued models. Generally, most people will be best served by something that offers dual-band Wi-Fi, such as the Actiontec CenturyLink C3000A and Motorola MD1600, as these will provide the best service in locations with a lot of interference, which is pretty much everywhere these days. However, we do realize that some people need to stick to a tight budget, which is why we included the TP-Link TD-W9970, despite it only offering single-band Wi-Fi. The Netgear DGN2200 is another model that only offers 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, but it is known for providing a stable connection, decent enough speeds, and good security features.

May 17, 2019:

A lot of the market is still pushing some outdated tech for DSL consumers, even among some of the brand names that made it onto our list here. Some of the more popular brands among cable modems and routers don't have a showing at all, though, as they've phased out production on DSL equipment due to the prevalence of cable and fiber optic services. We wanted to make sure we kept our ranking relatively current, with many of the top models being produced more recently to help ensure they offer the best security features and the strongest Wi-Fi connections. The Netgear model at number one and the Motorola at number three are great examples of this, as they're both newer additions to the marketplace that have a lot of modern features to offer users, from stronger firewalls and VPN services to wireless signals that will actually cover an entire home. Moving down the list, you might see some older models, but these are still solid pieces of hardware that often serve as a way for people to save money on the tech they need to get connected. A big bottom line was compatibility, however, and most of the models here work with the top providers of broadband internet.

4. Netgear DGN2200

6. Zyxel C3000Z

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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