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What is a DSL modem router?

A Guide to DSL modem routers in 2020

Nowadays we automatically connect to the internet the instant we open our phones or laptops. We take it for granted without even realizing the various of ways internet access is commonly made available, like WiFi, mobile data, or broadband connection to name a few.

When it comes to broadband access, xDSL technology is one of the most widely used technologies. In this post, we’ll explain the DSL modem router that supports this technology and its functions, how it works, and the benefits of using it. We will also make some comparisons and suggestions.

What is DSL Modem Router?

A modem router is a combination device that functions as both modem and router. You usually need a modem and a router to connect to the ISP and provides internet to other devices. A DSL modem router has both built into one box. DSL is an initialism for "Digital Subscriber Line", which is a technology that enables high-speed data transmission on ordinary twisted-pair telephone lines.

In short, a DSL modem router converts the DSL line to an Ethernet connection and shares the wireless network directly.

Who Needs a DSL Modem Router?

DSL modem routers are particularly useful for the following applications:

DSL Internet Access

With the functions of both modem and router, DSL compatibility lets you enjoy stable internet access, meeting the connection needs of your home.

Bundling home phone service with an internet plan

With 2 FXS ports as well as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, users can make or receive phone calls over the internet simply by connecting the device to their existing telephone setup.

How Do DSL Modem Routers Work?

A DSL modem router combines the feature of a DSL modem and a router, which enables multiples connection types.

1. DSL Connection

Typically, a DSL modem router uses the phone line as the medium to connect directly to your ISP and provides internet to your other devices via wired or wireless connection. It also allows you to use the phone service while online. You just need a DSL Splitter to help connect both your modem router and your phone to the DSL port.

2. Fiber/Cable Access

The WAN port of DSL modem routers also accepts connection from a Cable Modem or Fiber Modem. The modem router woks purely as a wireless router in this scenario, so it needs another modem to connect to your ISP and then provides internet connectivity to your other devices.

3. 3G/4G Dongle Connection

Some DSL modem routers with a USB port also support 3G/4G dongles. A 3G/4G Dongle provides internet access wherever you are, serving as a perfect main connection while on the go, or a backup connection when there is something interfering with your connection from your ISP.

What are the Benefits/Features of DSL Modem Routers?

Versatile connectivity

DSL modem routers support DSL, Fiber/Cable, and 3G/4G Dongle (USB-port equipped) connections (as illustrated above), meeting your needs in different networking scenarios.

Compatibility with most service providers

TP-Link DSL modem routers support mainstream ISP profiles, which means they can work with most service providers.

High-quality telephone calls

VoIP-supported DSL modem routers allow users to make/receive phone calls over the internet. They also support cordless telecommunications (DECT) that enable simultaneous connection for multiple phones without phone lines.

With the TP-Link tpPhone app, you can easily turn your smart phone into convenient handset.

Multiple functions to meet different needs

TP-Link’s modem routers have multiple functions like Parental Controls, QoS, Port Forwarding, etc. Configure the function according to your needs to better manage and protect your network.

Easy management with the Tether app

TP-Link offers an easy way to manage your modem routers via the Tether app .

6kV Lightning Protection

Lightning protection shields your devices from electrical damage caused by thunderstorms, so even in bad weather, you can enjoy internet with peace of mind.

What’s the difference between modem router and WiFi router?

Modem router: all-in-one

Compared with WiFi routers, modem routers also have the functions of a modem.

A modem router can work as modem and router at the same time—converting the DSL line to an Ethernet connection and sharing the wireless network directly. You can perform both functions with only one device instead of a modem connected to your WiFi router.

A modem router can also be used purely as a modem, with a stronger router connected back-end. A modem router is especially suitable when you need to switch between DSL line and NBN line to get internet connectivity, as is frequently necessary in Australia. It can be used as first layer equipment in the user's home to get the network from different lines of different ISPs.

Easy to manage and space-saving

You only need to configure one device to get internet connectivity with a modem router. It makes the setup process much easier. Simply follow the instructions of the intuitive web interface or in the powerful Tether app, to install your modem router and manage it in minutes.

What’s more, using an all-in-one device can also be a space-saving choice. Without another modem device, your wire arrangement will be neater and you’ll save an outlet which you can then use to plug in another device.

What’s the difference between VDSL and ADSL modem router?

VDSL-Upgraded ADSL

There are many different types of DSL technologies (such as HDSL, SDSL, ADSL, and VDSL) which are collectively referred to as the xDSL protocol family.

The main differences between the various technologies are reflected in the signal transmission rate and distance, as well as symmetric and asymmetric characteristics. In short, VDSL (Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line) is the quick edition of ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)

Speed Capabilities: ADSL Vs VDSL

Transmission speed is inversely proportional to transmission distance: the higher the transmission rate, the shorter the transmission distance. VDSL has the fastest transmission speed in the xDSL protocol family.

In the following chart, you can see the speed capabilities comparison between ADSL and VDSL:

Version Standard name Downstream rate Upstream rate Approved in
ADSL ITU G.992.1 Annex A 12.0 Mbit/s 1.3 Mbit/s 2001
ITU G.992.1 Annex B 12.0 Mbit/s 1.8 Mbit/s 2005
ADSL2 ITU G.992.3 Annex J 12.0 Mbit/s 3.5 Mbit/s 2002
ADSL2+ ITU G.992.5 Annex M 24.0 Mbit/s 3.3 Mbit/s 2008
VDSL2-Vplus ITU G.993.2
Amendment 1
300 Mbit/s 100 Mbit/s 2015

The speed of VDSL profiles:

Profile Bandwidth
Carrier bandwidth
17a 17.664 4.3125 100 50

Super VDSL: New Generation

Super VDSL (VDSL2 Profile 35b) is the next generation of VDSL technology with download speeds up to 350 Mbps.

It is a variant of ADSL and VDSL technology. In some scenarios, there is a requirement of high network speed, but upgrading to fiber is difficult. Users can upgrade their traditional ADSL / VDSL to Super VDSL immediately to increase their speed by 2–3 times to 350 Mbps, and the speed greatly exceeds ordinary 100 Mbps ONT modems.

How to set up a DSL network?

TP-Link DSL modem routers are easy to set up. All you have to do is:

1. Connect the hardware.

Note that the device depicted below is only for demonstration. You can go to TP-Link Support to search for the User Guide of your device for detailed instructions.

2. Launch a web browser and type in http://tplinkmodem.net or Then follow web instructions to complete the setup.

Now you can enjoy a high-speed network to stream video and play online games.

TP-Link’s Best DSL Modem Routers in 2020

  • Archer VR2100

    AC2100 Wireless MU-MIMO VDSL/ADSL Modem Router

    Get in the Fast Lane

    AC2100 Dual-Band Wi-Fi

    1733 Mbps (5 GHz) + 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz)

    Lightning-Fast Wired Connections

    Full Gigabit Ports and USB 3.0

    Super VDSL

    350 Mbps VDSL Access

    High-Efficiency Network

    4×4 MU-MIMO

  • Archer VR400

    AC1200 Wireless MU-MIMO VDSL/ADSL Modem Router

    Fast AC Wi-Fi

    AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi

    867 Mbps (5 GHz) + 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz)

    High-Speed Internet Access

    Gigabit WAN Port

    High-Efficiency Network

    2×2 MU-MIMO

  • TD-W9970

    300 Wireless N USB VDSL/ADSL Modem Router

    Fast, Everyday Wi-Fi

    N300 Wi-Fi

    300 Mbps (2.4 GHz)

    Fast Wired Connections

    Fast Ethernet Ports and USB 2.0

  • Archer VR600v

    AC1600 Wireless Gigabit VoIP VDSL/ADSL Modem Router

    Lag-Free Internet, HD Telephoning, and Advanced Entertainment

    AC1600 Dual-Band Wi-Fi

    1300 Mbps (5 GHz) + 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz)

    Lightning-Fast Wired Connections

    Full Gigabit Ports and USB 2.0

    High-Quality Telephony

    6× DECT + 2×Analog Telephone +
    270 Min Storage for Voicemail

  • TD-W9960v

    DSL Internet Box

    Fast Daily Wi-Fi with HD Telephoning

    N300 Wi-Fi

    300 Mbps (2.4 GHz)

    Fast Wired Connections

    Fast Ethernet Ports

    High-Quality Telephony

    6×DECT + 1×Analog Telephone


DSL modem routers, with its two-in-one system, offer multiples connections types, meeting diversified networking needs. Click TP-Link DSL Modem Routers to choose a suitable DSL modem router for you.

*Maximum wireless signal rates are the physical rates derived from IEEE Standard 802.11 specifications. Range, coverage, and maximum quantity of connected devices are based on test results under normal usage conditions. Actual wireless data throughput, wireless coverage, and quantity of connected devices are not guaranteed and will vary as a result of 1) environmental factors, including building materials, physical objects, and obstacles, 2) network conditions, including local interference, volume and density of traffic, product location, network complexity, and network overhead, and 3) client limitations, including rated performance, location, connection quality, and client condition.

Common Questions about DSL Modem Routers

Can I connect a router to a modem that already has a router?

Yes. But the two routers are of different networks.

What can I do if I want to extend existing network coverage?

TP-Link DSL modem routers work with most range extenders and powerline devices, so you can extend your network with those devices. Most TP-Link DSL modem routers support OneMesh™ , which can easily create a more flexible and cost-effective Mesh network for seamless whole-home coverage when used in conjunction with other OneMesh-supported devices.