I've been told by verizon that I can connect a Westell 6100 modem to a computer via a USB port. I've got an older system that only has a serial port. I can use a serial to USB adapter, but would like to know how if this would degrade the DSL speed or cause problems with the connection.
Currently an old courier dial-up modem is on the serial port and works with no problems.
There is no such thing as a "serial to USB" adapter; there are "USB to Serial" adapters, which is NOT what you need.
While the Westell 6100 can be used with USB, it is not very reliable when used that way, which I know from personal experience. It also requires installing a special driver that simulates a network card over the USB. This is a complication, which does NOT always go smoothly.
Here is what you need to do:
Go to Staples/Radio Shack/Circuit City/Local PC shop and purchase an Ethernet card, also known as a Network Interface Card, or "NIC". This will run you around $10-15, or you can find them on Ebay for half that. Install it into a free slot in your PC. Practically all versions of Windows will detect it and install the drivers for you; at worst, you will have to feed in the CD that will accompany the card.
Staples is selling a Belkin NIC for $13.98 Radio Shack is selling the same card online for $12.74 + S&H. Circuit City is selling a D-Link NIC for $14.99. Amazon has hundreds of new and used ones at Electronics?Computers & Add-Ons?Computer Add-Ons?Networking & Online Communication?Wired Networks?Desktop Adapters?PCI Network Cards
If you have any computer geek friends, they probably have a few lying around...
The Westell will come with a yellow ethernet cable, which has plastic modular plugs on both ends, resembling those on telephones, only wider. Plug that from the ethernet jack on your Westell to the ethernet card in your PC. The Westell also comes with a silver satin telephone cable to plug into your phone jack.
Reboot your computer; the Westell will automatically assign your PC an "Internet Protocol", or IP address. You can use your web browser to connect to the Westell; there is a built-in set of web pages to configure your modem to work with your DSL account, so that the modem will automatically log on for you whenever it is powered up.
Thanks for your help, Gene. I do have an ethernet card but it's sitting in my closet because I don't have any free irqs. My old system is maxed out with cards and peripherals. I was hoping usb to serial might be a solution. Alas, it is not. But you have saved me all the time I would have spent trying to get it to work and I thank you.