How to Install a DSL Modem


Authored by Dave Mallisk in Computer Hardware
Published on 11-15-2009

Installing a DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modem is easy. You need only order DSL service through your local phone company, and then install your modem by connecting a few cables and installing its software. DSL high-speed internet service uses the same copper wires as, and simultaneously with, POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). However, you need not have standard (phone company, land line) phone service before you order DSL because it requires only a physical connection to an external phone line. The exact DSL plan you can select varies according to your particular phone company. For more information, see DSL With or Without Phone Service.

After you order DSL and install its modem, you can probably save money by connecting your phone through a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone service, and then eliminating your standard phone service. VOIP providers include ITP and Vonage. Although standard phone service rates seem reasonable, the actual rates are higher because they usually include per-minute local charges, and always add many ridiculous taxes and fees. In contrast, VOIP providers currently add only state sales taxes to their rates.

DSL provides neither broadcast nor premium TV programming. If you want phone, internet, and TV through the same service, you must order either cable or fiber-optic service. For more information, see Comparing Verizon FIOS and Comcast Cable.

When you install a DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modem, you actually install an ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) modem. For more information, see Encylopedia Britannica – DSL.

Ordering DSL Service

To order DSL service, do the following:

  1. Contact your phone company to determine what DSL plans they can provide in your area. Generally, plan costs vary according to internet speeds. The faster upload and download speeds are more expensive.
  2. Select a DSL plan that suits your needs.
  3. Make sure the supplied modem is compatible with your computer and operating system.

    Note: Although you can purchase a DSL modem separately, you can usually save money by installing your phone company’s modem, which is often included in their DSL service price.

  4. Determine when the phone company can deliver your installation kit.
  5. Set your DSL-service start date to one or two days after the phone company plans to deliver your installation kit.
  6. Make sure you can cancel your DSL service (or delay its start date) if the phone company does not deliver your kit when planned.
  7. Finalize your order.

Installing Your DSL Modem

These general procedures can help you plan your DSL modem installation. While actually installing your DSL modem, you should follow your phone company’s exact procedures.

Connecting DSL Modem Hardware – To connect your DSL-modem hardware, do the following:

  1. Open your DSL installation kit, and make sure it contains a quick-installation document, a DSL modem, phone-line filters, all necessary cables, and a CD through which you can view documentation and install modem software.
  2. Connect the phone-line cable between the modem and the closest phone jack.
  3. Connect the appropriate cable (ethernet or USB) between the modem and your computer.
  4. Connect the power-supply DC output cable to the modem.
  5. Plug the power-supply AC input cable (or the power supply itself) into an AC outlet.
  6. According to the quick-installation document, view the modem indicators to see whether the modem has started correctly.

Installing DSL Modem Software – To install your DSL-modem software, do the following:

  1. On your computer, save your latest data, and then close all applications.
  2. Insert the installation CD into a disk drive, and then wait for its first prompt or menu.
  3. Follow the menus and prompts to install your DSL-modem software.
  4. Download and install all available software (and firmware) updates for your DSL modem.

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