AT&T currently offers three different models of DSL modems for use with its DSL Internet service. Which of these models is the best for you will depend upon your needs: what features you are looking for, whether you have or want to provide your own wireless router, and how much you would like to spend.
AT&T DSL Modems
The three modems currently offered by AT&T for its residential customers are the 2Wire DSL Gateway Model 2701HG-B, the Motorola DSL Modem Model 2210, and the Westell DSL Modem Model F90-6100. Although it is possible to use other models of DSL modems with AT&T's DSL service (and the those with special technical needs may choose to do so), these modems have the advantage of full technical support provided by AT&T. The company also offers an advanced Motorola Wi-Fi Business Router Model 3347 modem, but this modem works only with AT&T's business DSL service for the time being.
AT&T generally refers to the 2Wire DSL Gateway Model 2701HG-B as a "Gateway." This modem is the default modem for AT&T's DSL customers. If you are purchasing one of AT&T's upper-tier DSL plans, the Gateway may well be the best choice for you because it usually comes free when you sign up for service. The Gateway also has the great advantage of serving a dual role as a modem and a router, providing Ethernet and Wi-Fi signals to multiple computers.
The Motorola DSL Modem Model 2210 is priced lower than the Gateway, and thus may be advantageous for cost-conscious customers purchasing AT&T's more basic DSL service. But the Motorola does not serve the dual role of the Gateway: it is only a modem, not a router. This means that the Motorola provides Internet service to only a single computer, and only via Ethernet (not Wi-Fi). Customers who need or want Wi-Fi or wish to use multiple computers would need to obtain and use a separate router.
The Westell DSL Modem Model F90-6100, like the Motorola DSL Modem Model 2210, is priced lower than the Gateway. But, also like the AT&T Motorola modem, the Westell does not serve as a router or wireless router, so customers who want Wi-Fi or even Ethernet home networking will need to provide their own router. Additionally, the Westell is currently compatible only with DSL service in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Customers in other states cannot use the AT&T Westell modem.
- Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images