What is DSL?
DSL provides a high-speed Internet connection.
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Broadband Internet connections have made surfing the Web faster and easier than ever. What once needed to be done via a slow dial-up connection is now a part of everyday routine thanks to the availability of DSL connections to the majority of homes in the country. So happy were people to ditch their old modems for the faster speed that many paid little attention to what having a DSL connection really means, beyond the obvious implication that they don't have to suffer through those annoying dial-up sounds.
What is DSL?
DSL is an acronym for Digital Subscriber Line and is the technology that is responsible for bringing high-speed Internet service to homes and small businesses. Using the same standard copper lines that are used for normal telephone service, DSL connects to the Internet 50 times faster than the old dial-up modems. Even though it uses the same wires as the dial-up connection, some types of DSL allow a user to surf the Internet and talk on the phone at the same time. Also, unlike the old modems that required a user to dial in when they wanted to use the Internet, DSL is always connected.
Types of DSL
There are two main types of DSL: ADSL and SDSL. They differ in how fast they can send and receive information. ADSL, which stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, provides a large amount of download speeds and smaller amounts of upload speeds. SDSL, or Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line, provides the same amounts of download and upload speeds. Because many home computer users don't require the need to upload large amounts of data, ADSL is the most commonly used type of DSL connection. In addition, because SDSL provides the high bandwidth for both uploading and downloading, there is not enough space onthe existing wires to allow for telephone use while online. With an SDSL connection, a separate telephone line is needed. Other types of DSL connections include the High bit-rate DSL (HDSL), which provides speeds comparable to a T1 line, and the Very high speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL), which offers extremely fast speeds over a short distance.
DSL vs. Cable
Another type of broadband connection is through the use of cable modem services. Like DSL connections, cable services provide download and upload speeds much faster than regular dial-up connections. However, unlike the DSL connection, which uses telephone lines, cable modems use cable television lines. While cable modems offer speeds that at times can be twice as fast as a DSL connection, they are also subject to outside forces that other connections aren't. Cable modem technology uses shared bandwidth, which means that the number of other users accessing the cable network can slow things down for individual users. DSL operates on its own bandwidth, making the download speeds much more consistent. Additionally, a cable modem's speed can be affected over time as more houses add more connections to the network, such as video game systems and other Internet-connected devices. In the end, both DSL and cable connections offer lightning-quick connections, meaning each user must decide which is right for them based on a number of factors including their preferred download and upload speeds, the price of the service and the reliability of the service provider.