Ethernet Modem Problem


I am running OS 10.3.8 on a 400MHz G3 power book and am trying to connect to the Internet via a D-Link 302G Ethernet modem. I've moved from Canada, where I regularly connected to other Macs and at least 4 different ADSL modems without any trouble.
I plugged the modem in as instructed and have not been able to seen the Ethernet (LAN) light come on. My ISP sent me another modem and the same thing is happening. The USB connects fine, the power comes on and the ADSL status is blinking on and off.
If I check the network status I get the following series of messages

Yellow Light: "The Cable for built-in Ethernet is connected, but your computer does not have an IP Address and may not be able to connect to the Internet."

then after a few seconds...

Yellow Light: Built-In Ethernet is currently active. Built-In Ethernet has a self assigned IP address and may not be able to connect to the Internet"

then after a few seconds...

Red Light "The cable for Built-In Ethernet is not connected."

I took the computer and modem to the local mac store and the modem can connect to a newer laptop there

any ideas?