I had mine configured at one time for no arrows in the tray and it worked OK so I don’t think you have to have them visible, but are the lights on the modem itself on?
Have you tried an uninstall and reinstall of the AOL BB software and modem?
Are you able to get anywhere at all with logging on? If you can get online long enough, try the Computer CheckUp (through the ‘Safety’ drop down) – it goes through its paces on its own altering various settings. I think there's a broadband check up there as well.
If you can post back with any error messages you are getting we might be able to find the solution in AOL help.