I'm back baby, and I take back all those bad things I said about DSL for now. I guess the installer didn't need to come out. They must have provisioned the line at the CO. My self-install kit came yesterday with an Efficient Networks Speedstream 5260 DSL modem, a NIC, and six or so line filters. I installed the modem per instructions minus the line filters. It powered up fine with the Sys and Ethernet lights green but I couldn't get the ATM or DSL light to go green. That meant no phone connection and no data. So I went to bed. Always a good idea when faced with a baffling and frustrating technical problem.
This morning I installed filters on all the phone jacks and tried again. This time, all the lights came on solid. Was I provisioned overnight? Or do the filters do more than clean up the line for voice? At least I knew I had data. But I faced another baffling question. My ISP didn't provide me with a PPPoE dialer. I knew I could download one, but instead I tried installing my new Linksys Ehterfast router and use its PPPoE dialer. No luck. I couldn't connect. So I called my ISP (not PacBell - Sonic.Net, a small local ISP in my area) and surprise, surprise, surprise. They don't use PPPoE! Just a static ADSL connection. That's very good news. PPPoE is ucky.
I put in the IP address and gateway numbers and boom. I'm online!!! I'm going to patch the Airport into the Linksys to get the Macs online, too (I have a new G4 cube in addition to my old Powerbook) and I'll be back to normal.
The speed is fairly good, too. DSL Reports is reporting 1240 kbps down and 80 up from its West Coast server and 1288/77 from its East Coast server. I was able to upload a large file to Leoville at 14 KBps (112 kbps) which is pretty much the same as I was getting on the cable modem. Knock on wood, it'll stay that way.