What is the current "official" or recommended modem for Fusion DSL/ADSL service?

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
14 posts Page 1 of 2
by rcoaster » Fri Jun 10, 2022 6:45 pm
Hi all-

I have had Sonic Fusion DSL service for about ten years now (10+ Mb down, 800+ kb up), and I still love it as much as ever, especially having a real phone line and a fixed IP address.

I just replaced a couple of more electrolytic capacitors in my ZTE ZXDSL-831 II modem, the original device provided by Sonic (so, three parts replaced in ten years, not bad!). That got me wondering if there is now a newer or "better" DSL modem that I should consider buying to replace the ZTE?

Note: Before anyone even MENTIONS "upgrading service", please understand that the real/analog phone service with rotary-dial ability and the fixed IP address are -requirements- here, not "optional". Thank you!
by rcoaster » Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:37 pm
Well, there were over 100 views of this post but no replies. Also, it seems that the Sonic Wiki that might have had information like this is now gone, too. I think I have answered my own question, so I will add my own notes here.

-The current/recent Sonic-supplied modems are these models:
Pace 4111N
Pace 5168N discontinued
Pace 5268AC
SmartRG SR515AC

-But, Pace, at least, does not let "owners" of their modems do firmware updates or otherwise have control over them, so it is not feasible to buy them as new devices to be owned by the customer.

-Other discussions have included lists or examples of randomly-chosen or tested ADSL2+ and/or VDSL (or VDSL2?) modems for Sonic Fusion use, but apparently Sonic itself no longer wants to support or provide customer-owned modems, so there "is no" recommended modem anymore.

-In one of those discussions, I saw mention of a Netgear DM200 modem that should work and that includes Annex M support, so I found one on Ebay, and I will try it when it arrives.
by ngufra » Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:02 pm
I have used a zhone 6729 with success with one line.
Someone bought it from me to use as two bonded VDSL lines.

Zhone does not provide firmware updates to customers, only to ISP it seems.
by rcoaster » Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:07 am
Thank you for that response, ngufra.
by rcoaster » Fri Jun 24, 2022 5:26 pm
I got my DM200 and upgraded it to the latest firmware as of June 2022 (v1.0.0.66), but I can only get it to work in the same mode as my ZTE modem (ADSL2+/ATM, no connection if I try Annex M). Based on other discussions, I asked Sonic support to put my line in ADSL/VDSL mode and it apparently already is/was.

I can get the DM200 to connect in VDSL2/PTM, and it and the Sonic status page both say "line up", but I get no actual data through it (in either router or bridge mode). The one obvious difference I see is that in VDSL2 mode, the DM200 status page does not show the two DNS servers, but in ADSL2+ mode, it does.

What is also interesting is that when I try Annex M, the device just does not connect at all (no sync light even flashes), whether I was "connected" in ADSL or VDSL mode. I suppose I could hang a spectrum analyzer on my incoming line to see what is there; I just assumed Annex M was a shifting/rearranging of the RF subcarriers on the line at its core. (The DM200 is listed as Annex M compatible; that was the point of this whole exercise into the new-modem world.)

I will likely post a new topic when I want to fight this stuff more.
by tlp95129 » Thu Jun 30, 2022 3:02 pm
I've been successfully using an Actiontec GT701D modem for many years. It supports ADSL2+ and also Annex M which lets you trade some downstream bandwidth to improve the upstream bandwidth. I get 14/1 performance (12/2 with Annex M), but I'm only 4000 feet from an AT&T central office. I found that performance was considerably improved by using a POTS/DSL splitter (Tii 95S-1-12) in the outside phone box and running a dedicated Cat 5 line from the box to the modem. This lets you dispense with all the DSL filter widgets.
by rcoaster » Thu Jun 30, 2022 5:19 pm
Thank you for your notes and comments, tlp95129. I am less than 4000 feet from my CO, but the best I have got was about 11 Mb down/800 kb up, more typically 9.5-9.7 Mb down/1 Mb up. I did install a setup similar to what you describe (a "central" DSL/POTS splitter in the MPOE box on my house, and Cat 5 cables from there for voice and data to my "telecom room" where I have my modem, router, patch panels, and so on).

I may hang my modem right at the splitter output, or try another splitter such as the one you have, at some time soon just to see what I get. Also, I will keep my eyes open for the modem that you have.
by ngufra » Thu Jun 30, 2022 6:52 pm
Note that you have the option to get 2 bonded lines for an additional cost to double bandwidth.

Unless you use sonic rented and managed modem to enable annex m I believe you need to set it on the modem AND tell sonic to enable it on their end.

Many years ago I also had interferences issues and sonic came and put a filter at the box outside the house (I think they charged me about $20 for it)
by rcoaster » Thu Jun 30, 2022 8:54 pm
I appreciate your ideas! Sonic has a page (Fusion Line Profile) where a customer can toggle Annex M (and another setting, Fast-something) so that is what I tried earlier. I did not see anything in my modem's instructions or menus for manually setting Annex M, but I can always go look again or check with their support (and also look at how Actiontec does it, since tlp95129 succeeded with that brand).

I have considered the Fusion X2 (bonded) service as well. Truly, though, 10 Mb still seems fine for everything I do online, which specifically does -not- include video streaming, or indeed much video at all. In another version of "old tech", I still prefer to buy and own plastic discs for my video and audio content, rather than to pay someone else to use their content.
by ngufra » Thu Jun 30, 2022 9:55 pm
If you enable annex m on the sonic website and your mode does not know about it it won't work. If you enable it on your modem without telling sonic (611 or on web interface) it won't work.
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