1. How do I know if my DSL modem is the culprit blocking remote access to my computer?
Test with modem in bridge mode, get server [or just a PC / laptop] to do
a PPP login, then the server will have an IP that is directly accessible
from the Internet.
Remotely, perhaps via a friend, see if your connection responds to pings.
Next see if the ssh server on "server" is working, check log files for
login attempts -- it may be that the ISP is not forwarding some ports to
Generally speaking, you probably want to set a modem to be in bridge
mode with a purpose built firewall handling the PPP login and doing the
routing for your network. Some modems (many really), do this quite well.
2. Exactly what is the difference between bridge mode and router mode in a DSL modem? I read that if my DSL modem is blocking remote access to my computer, switching it to bridge mode would remedy this.
If the modem is doing PPP login, then it is likely passing data
(routing) via NAT.
3. Why does switching my DSL modem to bridge mode cut off Internet access, and why does switching it back to router mode restore Internet access?
Bridge mode doesn't handle the ISP login, you still need to login somewhere.
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