Facts About DSL

by Amy S. Jorgensen

Digital Subscriber Line, or DSL, is a common form of high-speed Internet service for homes and small businesses. DSL uses standard phone lines for connection, and your computer will always be connected to the Internet, unlike dial-up connections that force you to dial a connection point every time you want to surf the Internet.

How It Works

Your phone line is essentially a pair of copper wires connecting your home to the telephone station. Copper wires have limitless bandwidth. Using frequency separation for voice and digital data, DSL operates at high speeds over the same connection. At the station, digital data is separated from voice data and is sent over the Internet.

Common Connection Types

The most common connection type in homes is ADSLor asymmetric,, which has higher download and lower upload rates. In businesses, SDSL, or symmetric, is common and provides the same upload and download speeds. ISDN-DSL, which provides DSL over an existing ISDN connection, is most common in areas where other forms of more popular DSL connections are not available, such as rural communities.


DSL provides high-speed service over a standard phone line at a reasonable price. The maximum dial-up speed is 56kbps, but DSL can go up to 10Mbps, nearly 200 times the speed of dial-up. Setting up DSL is a matter of connecting a DSL modem to your phone line and connecting your computer to the modem. Oftentimes the initial setup is performed by your Internet service provider.


DSL depends on the quality of the phone lines. A good connection will deteriorate the farther you are from the telephone station. It also requires a direct connection to the station and will not work on intermediate systems such as signal amplifiers or interchange with optical fibers. This makes it unsuitable for remote areas.

Connection Requirements

Along with a DSL-enabled connection; you must have a DSL modem, which connects to both the phone line and home network. The phone company will charge a small installation fee and a monthly connection fee. You also may need a DSL filter attached to any phone that is on the same line as the modem. The filter reduces data noise from the modem that can be heard during phone calls.

About the Author

Amy Jorgensen has ghostwritten more than 100 articles and books on raising and training animals. She is also an amateur dog trainer. She has also written more than 200 blog posts, articles, and ebooks on wedding and party planning on behalf of professionals in the field.

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