DSL FAQ

Q:
Are the filters important?
A:
Yes, they are very important. Without the proper placement of DSL filters, you may experience a troublesome DSL connection or problems with your voice communications and other telephone devices.
Q:
Where do the filters go?
A:
There are two ways to filter your phone line:
  1. Have Sierra Telephone install a whole house splitter (also called a whole house filter), to isolate the one jack being used for DSL from the rest of your internal phone wiring.
  2. Install individual filters on each and every phone jack other than the one currently in use by the DSL modem. This includes answering machines, telephones, fax machines, Satellite TV units, Credit Card machines, medical monitors, 56k modems, propane monitors, external ringers, and CallerID boxes. These filters work in only one direction, so plug the filter into the wall jack, not into the device.

Q:
Do I need a separate phone jack for the DSL Modem?
A:
The DSL modem does need to plug into a phone jack. If no phone jack is available, Sierra Telephone can arrange to add a jack at the same time your DSL service is started. If you prefer, you may contact any qualified technician or contractor to perform the wiring work.
If you already have a phone jack available, the DSL modem can share a jack with a telephone by using the type of DSL filter that combines both filter and splitter functions. Be careful to plug the modem into the correct side of such a filter.

Q:
I installed something that needs a port to be opened. What does that mean?
A:
Ports can be forwarded (a more applicable term than opened), meaning that the DSL modem is configured to send certain traffic to a specified device on your network. If you are using a DSL modem from STI without an additional router, STI Technical Support can forward the port for you. Please have the port number(s) and the destination IP address available when you contact us. If you are using your own router, you will be responsible for making changes in your equipment.
Q:
What can I do about a “strict NAT” situation?
A:
You can often get an “open NAT” reading by following a few simple steps.
  1. Turn off the DSL modem and every device that connects to it.
  2. Turn the modem on and let it connect.
  3. Make sure the first device you turn on after the modem is the one that was giving you the NAT error.
If the problem persists, find out which ports need to be forwarded and call Technical Support with that list and your device’s internal address. Or we can provide login instructions to allow you to do your own port forwarding.
Another option is to have us bridge the modem, if you are willing to configure your own router to handle routing and PPPOE authentication.

Q:
How fast should my DSL connection be?
A:
Our DSL Basic Plan is perfect for entry level high speed access, for general browsing and checking of email. If you are interested in watching streaming video or if you often download full movies, please consider one of our faster plans. See DSL for a list of available Plans and their pricing. Contact us if you wish to upgrade to a faster plan.
Distance factors and overhead can affect your speeds so we generally consider a DSL connection acceptable when a reliable speed test (such as speedtest.net) reports a connection speed of at least 60% of your Plan’s rating.

Q:
What can I do to improve my modem’s efficiency?
A:
First, make sure all devices plugged into a phone jack are properly filtered. One easy test is to run some speed tests, unplug all phone devices, and run more speed tests. If the results of the second group of speed tests show a marked improvement, plug the devices back in, one at a time, testing after each addition. See DSL Speeds for more information about other contributing factors.
Q:
What should the lights on my modem be doing?
A:
Since each model is different, there is no one answer to the question. See DSL Modem Lights for pictures of our common modem models in action.
Q:
My DSL modem doesn’t seem to be working properly. Can I exchange it?
A:
Please contact us before bringing a modem in for exchange. We can often save you a trip by diagnosing and solving a problem remotely. If your modem is still under warranty, we can provide an authorization number for exchanging the modem for a refurbished model. If your modem is not under warranty, we can make arrangements to test the modem and its power cord at no charge to you.
Q:
I’m shopping for a new modem. What specs should I look for?
A:
STI strongly recommends that all modems on our service be provided by STI. Contact us for rental and purchase information.
Q:
Is there a minimum commitment to keep DSL service?
A:
If you cancel your DSL account within the six months of service you will be charged a $25.00 Early Termination fee (account becomes month-to-month after six months). See STI Terms of Service for full details.
Q:
What happens to my DSL service if I move?
A:
If you are moving to another location within Sierra Telephone’s service area, please contact Sierra Telephone and at least three weeks before the move.
If you are moving out of our area, contact Sierra Telephone to disconnect your phone and DSL services. We will also want to discuss keeping or forwarding your email address.

Q:
What if my question isn’t answered here?
A:
STI’s Technical Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you with Internet-related problems. If you are having any trouble with the DSL service, your email, or browsing the web, we want to hear from you.