best dsl modems – Motorola Netopia 2210, 2017

The Netopia 2210 from Motorola is a well-made and dependable contender in the field of DSL modems. It has security features equal to the D-Link DSL-2320B but D-Link Corporation provides a one-year warranty where Motorola provides 90 days. Motorola is an excellent brand with a large installed base of DSL modems and a good reputation for quality and reliability, earning the Netopia 2210 our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.


If you are thinking about buying a modem then you probably weighed the decision carefully before you decided to swim against the stream. The majority of people allow the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to provide the equipment as part of the contract or through leasing or sales options. Some who purchase a modem are trading the security of ISP product support and ongoing equipment upgrades in order to save money after a calculated break-even point of approximately one year. Others who buy modems want a capability in the modem that the ISP???s standard issue does not include. The Netopia 2210, for example, includes a firewall and VPN (Virtual Private Network) passthrough, features that might be lacking in the DSL modems supplied by an ISP.

The Netopia modem has all of the essential features in the DSL modems category and more. It covers the basics with a Fast Ethernet port, an RJ-11 ADSL port, lights that show link status and a reset button. The modem goes beyond the basics to include security features to support a single user.

An integrated firewall discovers and blocks malware and denial-of-service attacks because it uses Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) technology. SPI keeps track of the state and history of a network connection. When SPI discovers traffic with hostile intentions, the traffic never gains entrance through the firewall. A telecommuter who accesses a remote network by way of the public internet can run a VPN client and it will pass through the modem, tunnel securely through the public internet without being interrogated by intervening network devices and connect to a corporate VPN. The Netopia supports Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) passthrough. For those who connect the modem to a router that has a firewall and VPN passthrough, the security features included in this modem are not necessary. However for a single PC in a routerless home, a modem with a firewall and support for VPN would be beneficial.

The modem supports ADSL2+ (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line). It is asymmetric in the sense that the downstream rate exceeds the upstream rate. ADSL2+ supports 18,000 feet as the maximum distance from the switch to the modem, but the speed decreases as the distance increases. If an ADSL2+ modem is 5,000 feet from the ISP???s switching equipment (DSL Access Multiplexor), it supports a theoretical downstream data rate of 24Mbps and an upstream rate of 2Mbps. Plain old ADSL, in comparison, is theoretically less than 10Mbps downstream and less than 1Mbps upstream (assuming that the ISP???s switching equipment is 9,000-18,000 feet from the modem). Many variables conspire to reduce theoretical speeds to real-world performance: the distance from the ISP???s switching equipment, noise on the line because the twisted copper pairs are not shielded, and the type and quality of the media that carries the signal transmission.

Installation does not require a CD, which makes it easier to install the modem on Macs and Linux machines. The modem complies with TR-069, an industry-standard protocol also called CWMP (Customer Premises Equipment Wide Area Network Management Protocol), which supports automatic configuration and remote management. As the ISP makes updates and firmware available, the modem updates automatically. The modem also supports TR-064, a protocol that complements TR-069 by automatically installing and configuring the device at the local level prior to handoff to the remote TR-069 processes.

Ease of Use

If the ISP does not support automated provisioning, manual device configuration is available via web user interface or Telnet command-line interface. After typing the provided IP address into a browser, the user selects a language preference: Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Latin American Spanish and Italian. After the user creates a password and logs into the modem, the system prompts for the user ID and password that the ISP supplied. By default the modem serves dynamically assigned IP addresses. Windows Vista and Windows 7 obtain IP address automatically by default so no client configuration is necessary. For XP users, the final step is to configure the computer that connects to the modem to accept a dynamically assigned IP address (DHCP). Mac users go to System Preferences>Network and select ???Built-in Ethernet??? and then ???Configure Using DHCP.??? Any changes to the modem???s configuration require a save and a restart in order to take effect.

Motorola maintains advanced configuration instructions online along with answers to frequently asked questions and full product documentation. Support via email and telephone is included. The hardware is covered by a 90-day warranty.

The 2210 is compact, secure, easy to set up and highly compatible with ISP equipment infrastructure. If not for the fact that the D-Link DSL-2320B has a one-year warranty, the Netopia and the D-Link would have equal ranking. Unlike the D-Link, the Netopia does not include a USB connection, but USB is not, after all, the best choice for data communications.

What???s not to like? Some users express concern that the units run a little hot. A few years ago a batch of Netopia DSL modems suffered from premature failures due to a bad capacitor on the power input. Motorola extended the warranties and replaced the affected units. The 90-day hardware warranty seems lacking in comparison with the competition. But with a strong brand such as Motorola, the short length of the Netopia 2210 warranty does not seem to be hurting market share.

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