Broadband DSL. What does DSL stand for and How Does it Work?

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Jun
06
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DSL stands for “Digital Subscriber Line”. It is a family of technologies that provides digital data transmission over the wires of local telephone network. The connection speed of DSL varies greatly ranging from 128 Kbps to 24 Mbps depending on service plans and ISP.

Most DSL internet providers offer ADSL service to home users. ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line which indicates a difference in upload and download speed (the upload speed is usually lower than the download speed). In contrast, Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) offers equal download and upload speed.

How does DSL work?

DSL technology transfers data from the computer to the phone line via a DSL modem. The DSL modem converts digital data from the computer into a voltage signal of a suitable frequency range which is then transmitted over the phone wire. DSL technology allows simultaneous transmission of digital data and voice services, so phone and fax usage is not affected when you are connected to the internet.

Unlike cable internet which offers service to multiple users by sharing the same cable, DSL provides a dedicated connection. However, the distance of your phone line from the ISP operation center could affect the connection speed.

Advantages of DSL

  1. Connection speed is much faster than dialup internet access.
  2. You can use the same phone line for internet and phone services, that is, your voice / fax services are not affected while you are connected to the internet.
  3. More and more phone lines are now equipped for DSL services. DSL is available in more service areas than cable internet.
  4. Dedicated connection. Connection speed is not affected by the number of users in your neighborhood.
  5. Easy setup. Service plan does not need to be tied with cable TV service.

Disadvantages of DSL

  1. Slightly higher cost than dialup internet access.
  2. Higher security risk than dialup connection. A personal firewall is needed to protect your computer.
  3. Not all phone wires are equipped for DSL service. May not be available in rural or remote areas.
  4. Connection speed is affected by the distance between your phone line and ISP operation center.
  5. Usually, you can only get special discount or activate your DSL service when you use the same ISP for your local phone service.

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