[clug] DSL connection: modem or router?

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Tue Sep 28 03:43:32 GMT 2004

On 28 Sep 2004, at 11:55, Drew Parsons wrote:

> Assuming I proceed with a new DSL connection rather than TransACT, 
> would
> you have any clear recommendation for choosing a DSL modem in 
> preference
> to a DSL router?

Some pros and cons from my PoV, having been on the ISP end of things at 
one time:
  + modem/router combined means one box, less to go wrong
  - it's all or nothing, if something goes wrong you replace the whole 
  + modem/routers are good for "normal" (baa-aah) consumers
  - if you're not a sheep... sorry, "normal" consumer, it's often hard to
    get the m/r to do what you want
  + m/r can do NAT
  - m/r traditionally do NAT poorly - too many connections and their RAM
    fills up. Sometimes you can just wait for the connection tracking to
    fade away, sometimes you have to powercycle the equipment
  + many common problems are documented, workarounds exist, or patches
    are in place
  - you can't diagnose the uncommon problems, because you don't even have
    something as simple as tcpdump
  + you can experiement with a m/r, then switch it into "dumb modem" mode
    when you exceed its capabilities.

My choice would be to get an ADSL modem separately.
  + I can connect it to whatever I want that speaks PPPoE
  + If I change technology, I keep the router intact and
    only swap the modem

If you go wireless, make sure it supports WPA and RADIUS at the very 
least, and run your own RADIUS server. On top of that, stick a 
NoCatAuth captive portal between the consumer wireless router and the 
Internet connection. Give yourself a free account, and only allow other 
people access to the Internet if you know them - regardless of the cost 
of traffic, you're still responsible for their usage.

"If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we 
can solve them."  --Isaac Asimov
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