Part of our solution turned out to be replacing our 6-year-old Westell DSL modem with a new Siemens Speedstream 4100 DSL modem. The tech, Ed 364, plugged in the 4100, discussed what configuration we needed (we decided our gateway would manage establishing the Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet connection, which makes the 4100 effectively dumb and invisible), set it up, checked it was working and left.Over the last few weeks we have been discussing our DSL struggles, which started with a technician doing some simple troubleshooting and quickly escalated into our service being disconnected (also see the "DSL Woes" section of Gibbsblog for your comments on this topic).Last week we got reconnected and AT&T is still trying to figure out how it happened in the first place. What we do know is that, according to the AT&T representatives we spoke to, we are an anomaly, an apparently unique event in the world of AT&T and SBC.Given our unusual status we find it remarkable that the Executive Escalation Team and the Executive Appeals people couldn't pick up the phone and say to someone, "Bob, reconnect this DSL circuit before these guys drive us crazy."The connection now appears to be more stable than it has ever been and even VoIP is working pretty well. Oddly enough (or perhaps not odd at all), a supposedly informed AT&T technician contended that VoIP requires 384Kbps. According to our VoIP provider, Vonage, a best-quality call requires 90Kbps, and the company's Bandwidth Saver feature allows you to limit your calls to 60K or 30Kbps (the latter is described as "normal sound quality").Interestingly enough, the normal sound-quality setting is no good with fax calls, so Vonage advises you to dial *99 before your target number to increase bandwidth for the duration of a fax call. Unfortunately Vonage fails to tell you in its FAQs what bandwidth limiting does to incoming fax calls. Ho-hum.Gearhead reader David Strom dropped us a note and asked, "Did you consider trying powerline networking to get a temporary Internet connection via your neighbor's cable modem?" David suggested that this might work if we were on the same transformer as the commander and his lady wife. Until David sent us the suggestion we didn't consider that, but have since tried it with the Netgear adapters and find it doesn't work.Actually we're waiting for review units of Actiontec's MegaPlug 85Mbps Ethernet Adapter and MegaPlug Wireless Network Extender to arrive, which may be more successful. Stay tuned.Reader Edward Keating wrote in to brag about his success with wireless links: "I've used an older pair of Canopy backhaul units . . . between a pair of dedicated PCs to download a 130MB file in less than 5 minutes."Edward continued to make us jealous by noting that the system is capable of "1 mile non-line-of-sight (yes you can go through veggies to some extent)," while "2 miles line-of-sight . . . is pretty robust, and if a dish is used at both ends you can get a 20-mile range."Reader Frank Bulk went even further to make us envious: "I work at a small service provider, where we're able to get 7Mbps at 17,200 feet over three different gauges of telephone wire using an ADSL2+ modem. So getting 3Mbps should not be an issue if their cable plant is in good shape and they are using ADSL2+."Anyway, part of our solution turned out to be replacing our 6-year-old Westell DSL modem with a new Siemens Speedstream 4100 DSL modem. The tech, Ed 364, plugged in the 4100, discussed what configuration we needed (we decided our gateway would manage establishing the Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet connection, which makes the 4100 effectively dumb and invisible), set it up, checked it was working and left.During this process we noticed there was a diagnostics screen, so we reconfigured the 4100 to be a gateway so we could check line quality (my, but DSL modem technology has come a long way).We had downloaded the 4100's manual from Siemens, and when we compared our user interface with the manual, we discovered they were two different devices! So we're now waiting to hear about the differences.Next week, something different, as we've had it with DSL for now. Sighs of relief to email@example.com.