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Prying Eyes: Opening up a DSL gateway

09 May 2016  | Brian Dipert

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Back in June 2014, my then-fiancée had received a new DSL modem-plus-router, a CenturyLink-branded ZyXEL PK5001Z, was covered by a clear plastic protective sheet that also happened to obscure the air vents. Had I not seen and removed it prior to plugging it in, thermal effects likely would have prematurely ended the device's operating life.



My then-fiancée is my now-wife, and our new residence is Comcast cable broadband-serviced. Anyway, I'm not a big fan of integrated gateways, regardless of whether they're cable or DSL-intended. So perhaps obviously, this particular unit became a prime teardown candidate.

Removing two screws and gently unsnapping a few front-panel plastic clips enabled easy disassembly. Here's what the upper half of the enclosure looks like after removal (I replaced the screws in the second shot, to show you where they came from):




And here's an underside shot, with all unique-identification details intentionally blotted out (the paint splatter was caused by a distracted sprayer pre-home sale):



Flip the bottom half over, and the system PCB comes into view:



A PCB closeup enables easier IC discernment:




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