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Best DSL Modems In 2021 – Top 7 Rated Reviews

Back in the day, buying a modem used to be very expensive, because only a couple of popular brands provided them. Nowadays, with improved technology, we see an increase in the number of brands and a wide variation in the best DSL modems. The two main factors for the rise are that prices have fallen, and the quality has increased.

However, with the added number of modems, it becomes harder to find the perfect one.

Best DSL Modems

Therefore, we decided to test seven high-quality modems, each offering something different. So, let’s go through them and find the perfect DLS modem for your needs…

Top 7 Best DSL Modems In 2021 Reviews

  1. CenturyLink Prism Technicolor C2100T Modem – Best Low Internet Speed DSL Modem
  2. Motorola MD1600 VDSL2/ADSL2 Modem – Best Frontier DSL Modem
  3. NETGEAR N600 DGND3700 – Best Gaming DSL Modem
  4. Actiontec 300 Mbps Wireless-N ADSL Modem Router (GT784WN) – Most Secure DSL Modem
  5. Zyxel C3000Z – Best Fast DSL Modem
  6. NETGEAR Broadband High-Speed DSL Modem – Best Basic DSL Modem
  7. NETGEAR AC1600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL D6400 Modem Router – Best All Round DSL Modem

1 CenturyLink Prism Technicolor C2100T Modem – Best Low Internet Speed DSL Modem

The most significant difference between the CenturyLink modems and high-end modems is that CenturyLink works on low browsing speeds. If you suffer from low internet speeds, the C2100T is the best modem you can buy. It handles low rates and has a CBRAS connection, which allows multiple sources of internet traffic.

Enjoy smooth online gaming…

The C2100T is an 802.11ac modem but allowed us to play and enjoy online games without much hassle. It can download content at a surprisingly fast rate, and we could stream without any buffering. It also has a lot of user-friendly features that automated the setup. Thanks to the WPS button, we could connect new devices without entering the password every time.

It’s a capable modem, mostly because it supports VDSL. Unfortunately, it isn’t backward-compatible with ADSL, which is a shame. The router could be better, and honestly, even though it’s a dual-band, it isn’t imposing. But if you have a bonded VDSL, you are out of options.

A great selection of ports…

If you want to connect a wireless bridge, you can use the four Ethernet ports and USB 2.0 ports to connect a NAS device. We even used the WAN port as a fifth LAN port. Because there are so many ports, the modem-router is bulky. It also has a lot of LEDs on the front. Also, the almost sickening green color from the LEDs will keep you up at night if you keep it too close to your bed.

The 2T X R2 antennas provide adequate coverage but offer faster speeds. We didn’t manage to find any dead zones either, but that depends on where you place the router.

Security features…

When it comes to security, CenturyLink recently updated the C2100T with Ethernet firewalls. These worked well, and they kept a sharp lookout for suspicious content and weird pop-ups. More than that, it offers everything from forwarding to guest network setup and more.

Some modems tend to lose performance and speed in bad weather. But thanks to the VDSL2, you don’t have to worry about that; it still provides a stable, smooth connection.

Our verdict

The C2100T is best if you have a bonded VDSL setup. Although quite expensive, it delivers OK speeds and stable connections. It works well on low internet speeds as well. We enjoyed playing different online-games because it kept a stable connection. It’s a good modem-router for average users. However, if you’re a dedicated gamer or streamer, you should take a look at our Best Wireless Routers for Multiple Devices Reviews.


CenturyLink Prism Technicolor C2100T Modem

Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • WPS button for easy connections.
  • Easy tech support with the TR-069 Remote Management.
  • Many ports.
  • Works with low internet speeds.

Cons

  • Quite expensive.
  • Not ADSL backward-compatible.
  • Not so nice green-colored LEDs.

2 Motorola MD1600 VDSL2/ADSL2 Modem – Best Frontier DSL Modem

Unlike the previous C2100T, the Motorola MD1600 is an excellent choice if you’re using a Frontier connection. Even if it works with Windstream, TDS Telecom, and FairPoint, it also supports many non-bonded ADSL and VDSL services.

It combines VDSL2 and ADSL2 and provided us with speeds of up to 100 Mbps, which isn’t bad for a DSL modem. But of course, that depends on your internet speed.

Excellent design and an easy setup…

The MD1600 is appealing and keeps things nice and tidy. Configuring the modem/router combo was fairly easy as well because of the setup wizard.

Connecting other wireless devices was also a piece of cake. Even wired devices were easy to connect with the four Ethernet ports. The high-speed internet link works excellent for Smartphones, HDTVs, computers, tablets, and even consoles.

Security and sharing…

It also features NAS alongside DNLA media sharing. The DNLA makes it easy to share files between all your connected devices. Simply plug any storage device into the USB port and start sharing.

Security on the MD1600 is clearly prioritized. A built-in firewall, WPA/WPA2, IPV4 and, IPV6 support are just a few security measures.

Our Verdict

A good modem/router combo that makes it easy to connect multiple wireless devices. A bonus is the customer service and that the MD1600 looks nice. The setup wizard was surprisingly good, and we were online in no time. If you have a Frontier connection, this is the absolute best option for you. It is a little pricy, though.


Motorola MD1600 VDSL2/ADSL2 Modem

Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Setup wizard.
  • Customer service.
  • The design.
  • DNLA media sharing.

Cons

  • Pricy.
  • It could be a little faster.

3 NETGEAR N600 DGND3700 – Best Gaming DSL Modem

Next, in our Best DSL Modems reviews, we have another excellent modem router combo that ranks high on our list is the NETGEAR N600. This 802.11n modem is compatible with ADSL2. It works well in both small and big spaces. It’s a dual-band router capable of speeds up to 600Mbps. But since it’s only compatible with DSL and not with cable providers, you need to be alert. It doesn’t support VDSL but works with ADSL providers like AT&T, Qwest, Verizon, etc.

Easy to set up and configure…

Setting up the N600 was child’s play, thanks to the free Genie app. More so, the app lets you manage your network, search and play media files, and makes any printer AirPrint compatible. It works on all smartphones. The featured EZ mobile connect lets you scan a QR code to connect to the network. This feature also worked on all smartphones.

Packed with features like DLNA Media server, ReadySHARE USB, and the WPS button for easy connections, make this one of the best modems we tested. There are four easily accessible Ethernet ports to connect your wired devices and two USB ports.

Great for playing games…

Playing online and multiplayer games were smooth and reliable. Streaming and downloading was fast and enjoyable as well.

Security is good with parental controls and guest network setup. They could have added more security features, but it will do.

Our verdict

A capable modem. Easy setup and easy to connect devices to the network through the Genie app and the WPS button. The price is suitable for a modem of this caliber. Gaming, streaming, and downloading was fast and smooth because of the built-in features—an excellent modem for any household that uses ADSL connections. But be aware that it isn’t compatible with VDSL.


NETGEAR N600 DGND3700

Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Easy configuration.
  • Built-in DSL filter.
  • Outstanding range.
  • Good speeds 300 + 300.

Cons

  • Not VDSL compatible.
  • It could have better security.

4 Actiontec 300 Mbps Wireless-N ADSL Modem Router (GT784WN) – Most Secure DSL Modem

The Actiontec GT784WN is not the fastest of the modems we have tested, but with speeds up to 300Mbps, it is good enough to do most necessary tasks like web browsing and downloading. The range is excellent thanks to the dual MIMO Smart antennas, which extend the range and eliminate dead spots. Plus, it is backward-compatible with older devices since it uses 802.11n technology.

Three in one…

The GT784WN is three components in one. An ADSL 2/2 + modem, 4-port switch and dual antenna, and a 300 Mbps router.

Setup is straightforward with the AutoDetect wizard, making it into a plug and play device. Yet again, this is a modem only compatible with ADSL and not VDSL. There are also certain limitations to which providers it is compatible with, so make sure that it works with your specific provider before buying it.

Great security features…

Security on the GT784WN features options like AES encryption, Pre Shared Key, MAC address filtering, built-in firewall, and parental controls. It’s one of the most secure modems we have tested.

Four Ethernet ports plus one USB port gives you a range of connection options. Since it only provides speeds up to 300Mbps, online gaming can be challenging but worked fine for most games we tried.

Our verdict

The GT784WN is a budget modem router combo and cheaper than most modems in our review. You often get what you pay for, but the added security features make up for the lack of speed. If you only intend to use it for web browsing and spontaneous downloading, it works. But if you consider a lot of online and multiplayer gaming, you’d be better off with the NETGEAR N600.


Actiontec 300 Mbps Wireless-N ADSL Modem Router (GT784WN)

Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • High performance.
  • Great security.
  • MIMO Smart antennas.
  • Pre-configured for easy setup.
  • Cheap.

Cons

  • It isn’t compatible with a lot of providers.
  • A bit bigger and bulkier than other DSL modems.

5 Zyxel C3000Z – Best Fast DSL Modem

The Zyxel C3000Z is best used with static IP addresses. It is compatible with CBRAS, which makes it easy to setup LAN subnets and static IPs. It supports VDSL2 bonding with vectoring. That means that it increases the performance and range of the modem.

C3000Z is one of the fastest modems we reviewed, supporting speeds up to 1.7 Gbps on the 5Ghz, and 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz. It’s a dual-band and supports both 802.11n and 802.11ac.

Good connections and pre-configurated…

Apart from the four Ethernet ports, it also has a dedicated Gigabyte WAN port for higher speeds. If the CPE is working in DSL mode, you can use the WAN as a Gigabyte LAN port. The USB port is used for sharing files and media to all connected devices.

The pre-configured network settings make it easy to setup. And you can remotely monitor and manage the network through the TR-069.

Excellent connectivity with the WPS button…

It’s not the most beautiful of modems, but it does its job. There are a lot of useful built-in features like the WPS button that gives you a great experience. The C3000Z works great for gaming, downloading, and streaming.

The enhanced security includes dual firewalls, which can identify and eliminate malicious content and applications before it harms your network. It supports IPv6 and URL blocking.

Our verdict

The Zyxel C3000Z is capable of faster internet speeds than any of the other modems in this review. It’s great for gaming and streaming. The price is ok, considering what you get, and it won’t disappoint. Security is high, and VDSL2 bonding is a plus. We, therefore, highly recommend this modem.


Zyxel C3000Z

Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros

  • Faster than most DSL modems.
  • CBRAS connection.

Cons

  • Best with fast DSL technology.

6 NETGEAR Broadband High-Speed DSL Modem – Best Basic DSL Modem

Next in our reviews of the Best DSL Modems, we have the DM200 from Netgear, a cost-effective ADSL and VDSL modem. It is compatible with most DSL providers, but it doesn’t support bonded ADSL or VDSL. The maximum speed is 200Mbps, which is enough for everyday use but falls short for enjoying fast-paced gaming.

It only has one Ethernet port and not a single USB port. It’s simple in its design, with only three LEDs on the front. You don’t need more because of the lack of ports.

Easy installation

The Smart wizard makes it easy to install, but that’s about it. It lacks security features and other features too. Since it doesn’t have any features that enhance speed or performance makes this an under-average modem.

Our verdict

There honestly isn’t much to say about this modem/router combo. It was quite disappointing, and there are better modems on the market at the same price. Speaking of the price, it’s quite expensive for what you get, but if you are satisfied with 200Mbps and don’t use your computer for much other than web browsing, it’s a good fit for you.


Zyxel C3000ZNETGEAR Broadband High-Speed DSL Modem

Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Easy setup.
  • Supports ADSL and VDSL.

Cons

  • Slow.
  • High priced.
  • Lack of ports.
  • No bonded ADSL or VDSL.

7 NETGEAR AC1600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL D6400 Modem Router – Best All Round DSL Modem

This modem is almost the complete opposite of the DM200. It’s hard even to imagine they come from the same manufacturer. This small but yet powerful dual-band modem possesses the ability to deliver 300Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz.

It may not be the fastest, but well over the standard of other DSL modems. Most modems have antennas to send the Wi-Fi signal in all directions, but the D6400 isn’t concerned about that. It has an internal antenna and uses beamforming to enhance the performance and range of the signal. It’s perfect for anyone with a big house.

A stable connection no matter what…

We always had a stable connection with the D6400, even when we connected ten different devices simultaneously. We could even enjoy our gaming session without any disturbances.

Like most Netgear routers, it comes with the Genie app, which makes installation and configuration easy.

Nice design

The design is slick and small, but it tends to attract fingerprints and dust. The glossy finishing needs taking care of, which can be a hassle for some. The purple band doesn’t have any function but looks nice in combination with the black finish. The extra ventilation on the side is a great feature to keep it nice and cool.

All the necessary features are there, as well as two USB ports and four Ethernet ports.

Our verdict

A great modem for everyone. It delivers stable connections and fast speeds. The design looks nice, even though it needs some maintenance from time to time; the D6400 is affordable and is a great modem. One of the best all-around modems we have tested, which makes it easy to recommend.


NETGEAR AC1600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL D6400 Modem Router

Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Beamforming.
  • Nice design.
  • Good speeds.
  • Stable connection.

Cons

  • Attracts dust and fingerprints.

Best DSL Modems Buyers Guide

If you use a DSL service for your internet, you usually have two different options. Either you can lease your modem from your ISP, or you can buy one. Most leased models are sufficient for downloading, web browsing, and looking at social media, but they often don’t have the same speed and performance that purchased modems do. So, most people prefer to buy a modem. And if you haven’t done so, it’s about time you did.

However, it can be hard to find the right one, especially since all the tech-speak can get very confusing. We’ve listed seven great options above, and this useful guide should help you decide on which one to choose. We will start by explaining why it’s better to buy a DSL modem, followed by how you find the best one.

So, Why Should You Buy A DSL Modem?

First of all, you save money over time! Most people that lease a modem pay anywhere from $5 to $10 per month, sometimes even more. They continually pay month after month. Sometimes for years. So, the providers are making a lot of money by leasing the modems.

Aren’t you paying enough for the DSL service anyway? Granted, you will pay more upfront if you buy a modem, but potentially it can save you hundreds of dollars. And you get a better product for your specific needs.

CenturyLink Prism TV Technicolor C2100T 802.11AC Modem Router Gigabit DSL Fiber 2.4/5GHz

Another reason for buying one is that the modems leased by providers often run out-of-date firmware, especially if you have leased it for a couple of years. And many times, it can be hard to update the firmware. We have even seen examples where the providers prevent their customers from using the web-based interface to make changes and updates.

So, let’s now focus on finding the best one for you!

  • Compatibility!

Not all DSL providers provide the same “type” of DSL. The standards vary, and individual modems may only work with a specific type of standard. You can check what standard your provider uses by going to their website or call them. Most businesses use either VDSL or SDSL. And most consumers use ADSL, ADSL2, or even the newer ADSL2+.

Most modems are backward compatible with older standards, so you need to buy a modem that supports the more recent standards. Therefore, if your provider updates their service, you are already prepared.

  • Speed

The speed the modem is capable of can be crucial in your decision. For example, if you are a gamer, you want a dual-band modem that can support high-speed internet. You also want a bonded ADSL or VDSL if your service provides that. A non-bonded modem will use the same channel for both downloads and uploads, affecting the speed.

  • The number of ports

This decides how many wired devices you can connect. We recommend a minimum of four Ethernet ports and one Gigabyte WAN port for your wired connections. USB ports aren’t as important, but they are suitable for sharing media and other content between your connected devices. Make sure the modem has at least one USB port.

How Easy Is It To Use?

The ease of use is essential, especially if you aren’t a technician. Setup and installation can be tricky if you don’t have a good, simple guide. Most models come with an app, which makes this easy. It should also be simple to connect your devices to the network, so ensure that the modem has a WPS button.

Wi-Fi Settings And Range

These vary a lot from person to person, but you should at least be able to configure the settings to optimize speed, range, and other crucial settings.

How far do you plan to be from your modem? Most people think they need a long-range modem, but if you live alone in a small apartment, you don’t need a vast amount of range. Just make sure it covers your needs!

Looking For More Superb Tech Products?

NETGEAR High-Speed Broadband DSL Modem (DM200-100NAS). Compatible with CenturyLink, Verizon, and Frontier)

For more router options, check out our Best Router for Charter Spectrum Reviews and our Best Small Office Routers Review for 2021.

You may also be interested in our in-depth Netgear CM700 32×8 Cable Modem Review, our TP Link Archer C7 AC1750 Review, our ASUS RT AC88U Wireless AC3100 Review, our Netgear CM1150V Nighthawk Cable Modem Review, and our ASUS RT AC68U AC1900 Review.

Plus, our Best Wireless Access Points Review might also come in useful.

So, What Are The Best DSL Modems?

The modem you choose will determine what you can and can’t do, no matter if it’s work-related or not. A long-range modem like the…

Zyxel C3000Z

…is an excellent option for offices, with high speed and long-range. While the…

Netgear D6400

…is our best overall choice. It’s a great option for anyone who enjoys high speeds and a consistent, stable connection. The price is also very good, and overall, it’s the best modem we tested.

Happy surfing.

About Paul S. Brunet

Known as the "Tech Lover", Paul is an expert of current and trending technology. Here at TinyGrab, he makes "tech" easy to understand for the average person.

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