In the early days broadband access was limited in both its availability and the options open to subscribers. Now, however, access is available to many more people, and the choice of equipment is much greater. The options for ADSL-connection hardware generally falls into two categories – either a USB ADSL modem or a more fully featured ADSL router. The X-Modem is technically more router than modem, and it offers a great budget way to avoid the less-flexible USB modem solution.
The X-Modem offers an Ethernet connection to the Internet for a single computer, much the same way as a USB modem would, but with added benefits. First off, USB connections often aren’t really always on – they need to connect like old dial-up modems. In addition, USB devices need drivers, and Mac drivers can be hard to come by. The X-Modem works just like a router, and holds the connection without needing to connect each time – one of the best features of broadband. It doesn’t require drivers, so there will be no problem with compatibility.
Setting up the X-Modem is as simple as any other connection to the Internet. It comes with all the cables you’ll need, and the box itself is as small as a dial-up modem. You’ll need to know your login and password, but the rest pretty much takes care of itself. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes from start to finish. Once connected, you’ll have broadband access – but only for one machine. If you have more than one machine, there are a number of options open to you.
Sharing your Internet connection is a simple matter; it’s just an option from the Sharing panel in System Prefs. However, because you’re connected using a single Ethernet connection, you need to share the connection using some other method, such as AirPort. Another simple option would be to plug the X-Modem into a simple router.
If you need this functionality from the start, it might be a better idea to buy an ADSL router. But if you think you might add machines to your home network at a later date, you can buy a router without a built in ADSL modem when the time comes.
If you have a single Mac and a broadband connection, the X-Modem is a far better choice than a USB ADSL modem. If you have more than one Mac you can still use the X-Modem, but you’ll need some extra hardware to share the connection. For the price though, it’s by far the best option for broadband connectivity.