This is a collection of DSL tips. The emphasis is on information specific to NCF that might not be elsewhere on the internet, or of special interest to NCF members. If you have something that would be good to add, please mention it to the NCF office.
Great sources of DSL information are:
Using a ST516 with router: De-activate your router's idle timer
If you have a ST516 DSL modem connected to a router, it is best if the router's idle timeout feature (if it has one) be disabled. Otherwise your DSL connection may go up and down every five minutes.
To see if you have the problem, log into the NCF StartPage and then click on the link Your recent DSL use. Scroll down to 'Connection details'. If there are many session of short duration (eg., 5 minutes), you probably have a router with an idle timer running.
To fix this there is a router setting usually called something like "Maximum Idle Time" which will cause the internet DSL connection to be dropped after a period of no internet use. As long as you are using the internet, this setting does nothing, but when you stop using the internet, after the period specified by this setting, your router will tell your DSL modem to disconnect and reconnect. This usually acceptable, but pointless, although it often causes grief for members. It is best to disable it. Change the number to something larger than 3 days (eg., set it to 5000), or, on some routers, you can disable it altogether (try entering 0).
So if you are getting regular DSL cuts, check that your router idle time is set to a large number of minutes (eg., 5000). Some routers may have an "always connected" setting which will override all of the foregoing and leave your DSL connection in permanent connect mode, which is the ideal solution!
You can check that it worked by waiting a day for the DSL use page to be updated (it is updated nightly).
'SpeedTouch' modem name change
The SpeedTouch brand of DSL modems was developed by Alcatel, who sold that product line to Thomson. Thomson carried on with the SpeedTouch name until 2009, when they started naming newer models "Thomson Gateway". The model numbers reflect that, for example, the ST585 became the TG585. Thomson was then bought out by Technicolor in January 2010, although in 2011 they were still using the TG designation for most models.
Technically, Thomson/SpeedTouch DSL modems are DSL gateways (because they include a DEL modem and a router, in one box), but most people seem more comfortable using the term 'modem' so NCF calls them that too. If 'gateway' gains traction, maybe NCF will switch back to calling them 'gateway'. Meanwhile, NCF calls them 'DSL modems'.
DSL modem firmware upgrades for Speedtouch modems
Firmware on the Alcatel/Thomson/Technicolor SpeedTouch series of modems can be upgraded, but only within the same version, due to hardware driver compatibility. For instance a ST585v6 can only accept version 6 firmware and not version 7 or 8.
Because most firmware changes incorporate only minor updates of a non-critical nature, most average NCF members will gain no advantage in upgrading the firmware on most modem versions. Firmware upgrades do carry the risk of disabling the DSL modem if they are not done right, so for this reason they are not recommended by NCF.
Advanced users who wish to upgrade their own firmware should download the new firmware and instructions from the Canadian distributor's website. Note that firmware can only be upgraded using a Windows PC, as firmware upgrades are all ".exe" files and thus cannot be upgraded from Mac, Linux, BSD or Unix computers.
- NOTE: Firmware upgrades done are at your own risk as, if they are not completed correctly, they may disable your modem.
DSL modem firmware upgrades for TP-Link modems
Unlike SpeedTouch modems, upgrading the firmware is relatively easy on TP-Link modems, provided that you are comfortable downloading and installing files and then resetting your modem to factory settings and reprogramming it yourself.
If you are unsure how to accomplish an upgrade and reprogram after reading this section then it is recommended that you do not carry out a firmware upgrade. Most firmware upgrades are just minor updates and the modem will keep working without updating. The TP-Link firmware webpage for each model details what each upgrade includes.
Here are general instructions for all TP-Link modems:
- Check the TP-Link website to see if your model has a firmware upgrade available:
- If there is a new upgrade then download the Zip file and extract the contents to your computer.
- Sign into your DSL modem web interface.
- Unplug the modem from the phone wall jack during this process.
- Navigate to the firmware page (On the TP-Link 8901G for instance it is at Maintenance→Firmware)
- Use the browse buttons to locate the firmware .bin file and .rom file (if applicable to your model).
- Click upgrade.
- The modem will upgrade the firmware and reboot itself.
- In most cases the modem will need a reset to factory defaults and then be reprogrammed with your connection credentials to connect and operate correctly. See Modem Configuration (DSL) for details on how to do this for each model.
- Once complete, plug the modem back into the phone wall jack. If it does find the internet service by itself then you may need to reboot the modem to enable it to connect.