DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a form of internet service provided to consumers in different parts of the country, competing with other types of broadband internet services such as cable. Broadband network delivery makes use of a copper phone line, with DSL internet service being categorized as either symmetric or asymmetric. Subscribers choose the best one to suit them based on details such as whether they’ll be doing a lot of streaming, or need a connection that supports video and voice communications at the same time.
Some of the largest providers of DSL internet in the country are AT&T® Internet, CenturyLink®, Verizon® High Speed Internet, and Frontier Communications®. You can get a longer list if you search online for ‘DSL internet providers near me’.
Providers of DSL services often advertise their speeds as a double number, where one stands for the download speed and the other signifies the upload speed. For example, if the speed is shown as 1.5 Mbps/128 Kbps, then the maximum bandwidth a user can get for downloads is 1.5 Mbps, and the maximum bandwidth for uploads is 128 Kbps.
Under downloads, you have activities such as browsing websites, getting files over P2P networks, and checking your email. Under uploads comes publishing to websites, sending emails, and sending files over P2P. You often get higher download bandwidth than upload bandwidth from residential DSL services. Such a type of DSL is called ADSL, as explained below.
This type of DSL connection works to provide more bandwidth for downloads from the ISP to the subscriber’s machine, than for uploading, which works in the other direction. This reduction in the available upstream bandwidth lets service providers offer better downstream speeds, which is what the typical internet user wants. Asymmetric DSL is popular among home internet users, who mainly use downloads over uploads.
This type of DSL connection is notable for giving equal speeds when it comes to downloads and uploads. It is a popular choice for businesses, as they almost regularly need to transfer data in both directions. It is also the type of DSL consumers stick with when they have the need to carry out video and voice communications simultaneously.
IDSL or ISDN Digital Subscriber Line, which is a mix of ISDN and DSL technologies. While this was developed alongside the other DSL types, it isn’t put to much use these days, owing to the fact that the speeds it supports are relatively low (144 Kbps at maximum). IDSL is different from ISDN in that it provides an always-on connection.
DSL has always been slower than cable internet, but recent technological advancements have narrowed that gap considerably. With DSL, you get a range of speed choices, from as high as 3 Mbps, to as low as 128 Kbps. A cable modem would typically have speeds double that. However, cable makes use of shared bandwidth, so the speed is bound to fluctuate based on how many people are using it at a given time.
DSL gives you full use of the connection without having to share it with other users. Whichever you choose, you generally pay a one-time fee for the setup. DSL installation usually costs more.
DSL provides an “always-on” connection, which among internet users is considered to be the most reliable option. This will only get interrupted if your phone line gets damaged in some way. Satellite, meanwhile, relies on signals instead of wire, which means the reliability of a connection is based on the subscriber’s location. These signals can get waylaid dues to natural causes such as mountains, trees, and bad weather.
With regards to availability, DSL can only be enjoyed by customers located within 22,000 feet from the central office of the phone company, because DSL signals deteriorate over distances. Satellite internet, on the other hand, can be accessed in even many of the most remote areas. It may even be the only option if a subscriber’s home or business is located in a remote rural area, where phone service isn’t available.
DSL speed can be affected by various factors, including the quality of the phone line you have installed at your residence, how far you are from the phone company, and how frequently your provider experiences glitches.
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