Lately, I’ve been exhausting all of the possibilities why I’m constantly getting disconnected in my expensive DSL connection. The main problem it seems is that I’m getting a low signal noise margin and high attenuation from my DSL line (noise margin downstream: 6 db – normal > 12; attenuation downstream: 57 db – normal < 42). I've installed microfilters on all of our phones and the attenuation is still high. I've already called tech support and they've sent in a technician to check the line: the guy didn't see any problem with our wiring. This leaves only a few possibilities, one of which is a faulty modem. Now, the correct approach here is to request for a replacement modem from the technician (especially if you’re a guy who doesn’t have a steady source of income at the moment). But I felt like an irrational person and set out to look for a cheap ADSL modem myself to get my second opinion.
I originally planned to buy a modem/four-port wifi router from CD-R King because it’s practically a modem and a router at the price of a router. Even if the modem is not the cause of my DSL problems, having those two on the same machine means that I could reset the DSL line without having to stand up/reach for the modem.
I browsed 4 stores in Ayala but they don’t have any of those on stock. What they had was this ADSL kit in a Spanish/Portugese/romance language package. Curious at the advertised “router”, I asked to take a look at the contents of the kit.
It was a freaking ZyXEL Prestige P-660HW-61 modem/wifi-router!
Okay, I’d admit that I didn’t know what that meant at that moment. :P I didn’t have PAT (my iPod Touch) on hand so I made a quick trip to a nearby internet cafe to look at the specs.
And apparently, CD-R King is selling a highly awarded modem/wifi-router for only PhP 880. Where the hell did they get/smuggle this stuff?!?
The low price convinced me to buy one, even though I was not sure if it would even work for PLDT myDSL.
The good news is it works. Don’t bother with the manual and software, they’re in Spanish and anyone with experience in playing with ADSL modems and routers should be able to set it up with only a few problems.
The bad news is Telefonica, the broadband company based in Spain selling the ADSL kit, modified the device to use their own firmware version. This is kinda expected, even PLDT modified the firmware for their modems. But the problem is that they didn’t just modify the firmware, they pretty much castrated it. A lot of features are missing–port forwarding, firewall, etc. Even ADSL2+, the line version used by new PLDT myDSL lines, isn’t on by default and you need to telnet to the modem to activate it (I think… I did the steps before connecting it to my phone line to be sure).
What’s worse is that you can’t upgrade the firmware to use the official ZyXEL version because of the built in firmware. There is a way to override this, but you’ll have to do a lot of freaky geeky stuff to make it work.
Oooh… tempting. :D
Before I forget, getting this new modem didn’t help with my noise margin or my attenuation problem. Oh well, off to look at those other alternatives…