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I need a DSL contract, and the hardware for it. Everybody I know (as well as myself in old contracts) just buys a standard modem/router/phone-switchboard combo from their DSL provider commonly refered to as "the router" and plugs it in, period. But the provider I have chosen now only offers a €170 device which seems to have a very enhanced phone/VOIP part and rather boring router capabilities. As I don't use the stationary phone line, and want to play around with the network a bit, I decided to look around for a better router for less money.

The model I like the most until now is a gigabit router from Buffalo, the WZR-HP-G300NH. It has modern hardware, fetches decent evaluations on reviews, and runs some insanely function-rich OS firmware. Also, it only costs €70.

But as I read the bullet list of features, I noticed something strange: "works with 3G modems". Does that mean that it isn't a combined device and that I need to purchase a DSL or 3G modem separately and plug it in together? Or does it mean that it already has a DSL modem built-in just like any other router I've seen, and has an interface for a 3G modem as a backup feature in case the DSL connection is busted?

If it needs a separate modem, could you please give me a hint where to look for one? Who produces pure modems for home use?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It seems to be an 802.11n access point and Ethernet 4-port router.

Overpriced (for running that firmware and being able to handle 3G stuff like cheap Huawei modems by it), using pretty common chipset. Has no 'DSL' at Features tab.

It indeed has a WAN port, which will be shared over 802.11n and may be used for connecting to another DSL router, or any other kind of router including Linux PC with multiple ethernet ports which receives internet connectivity by ham radio.

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Are you sure that it is overpriced? It is gigabit capable, the 100 Mb version sells for €34. Plus, prices in Europe 1) contain all taxes, 2) are generally somewhat higher. – rumtscho May 26 '11 at 13:58
BTW, is there any difference between "802.11n access point" and "wireless router"? I think not, but sometimes a company will say "router and access point" for one model, and "wireless router" for another one. – rumtscho May 26 '11 at 14:05
@rumtscho: AP is just a bridge between WiFi and Ethernet; router at least does routing between LAN and WAN and usually has lot of extra features, like providing NAT, DHCP server, firewall and DMZ etc. – vartec May 26 '11 at 16:17

Most routers nowadays don't come with integrated modem . Rather, they have "WAN port", which is Ethernet port through which you connect to your cable modem, 3G modem, whatever. This is the case with the one you mention.

I'm not sure if there are integrated modem/routers still in retail, I haven't seen any for quite a while. The problem is that there is no one universal DSL technology, so it's rather hard to have universal DSL modem.

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In contrast, most cablemodems available for sale in my area are integrated modem/routers...which means it's a pain to get custom f/w on 'em. – Broam May 26 '11 at 13:28
YMMV, my cable company provided me with "dumb" cable modem (one Eth only). – vartec May 26 '11 at 13:33
My cable company provides 'dumb' ones if you don't get their VOIP package - but I always buy my own modems. – Broam May 26 '11 at 13:35
@Broam, @vartec, all DSL companies here (in Germany) offer DSL/router combos for their customers. So somebody must be still producing and selling them. And because everybody uses them, I haven't seen a pure modem in retail. – rumtscho May 26 '11 at 14:04
@rumtscho: somebody is selling them to cable companies, doesn't mean that they also sell it in the consumer market. Basically you always get/buy some modem from cable company, so who would buy these combos? – vartec May 26 '11 at 14:30

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