Found a replacement for my DSL modem that lightning fried. It was a Siemens SpeedStream 4100b, known for being pretty much the best DSL modem ever produced (and the replacement is the same thing).
I still wish I didn’t have to deal with horrible service from CenturyLink out here in the middle of nowhere, but you do what you have to do… at least with this modem I’ll have a 1-2dB higher SNR margin over the regular SpeedStream 4100 I’m using now (I’ve collected 2 or 3 of them as backups over the years), which is pretty useful when you have an ISP that sends out line techs who don’t even know what what I just said even means. Yeah, I’m not even exaggerating there… the last guy they sent out was very, VERY nice, but all I got when I mentioned things like the SNR margin or CRC errors on the line was a blank stare. Ugh. He did a great job of repairing the physical lightning damage and clearly knew all about the copper infrastructure that DSL runs over, but it would have been nice if they had sent a buddy along with him who knew ANYTHING about what actually goes over those lines.
Anyway, here’s hoping the FCC transition from subsidizing POTS to subsidizing rural broadband does something to help me out sometime within the next few years! At this point I would kill to even be able to get shitty service from Cox instead.
To anyone else in the same situation (rural location with DSL on a very marginal line), grab a SpeedStream 4100b if you can find one. Not only does it deal with line noise better but it also has TCP ACK prioritization right in the modem firmware. What does this mean to you? Simple… it means your BitTorrent uploads won’t lag the shit out of your downloads. :p