What Is DSL Lite?

By Si Kingston

DSL Lite can be configured with a router.
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DSL Lite is attractive to many Internet users because of its lower cost and promised higher speeds. Unlike traditional DSL service, many customers can save between $10 and $20 per month with DSL Lite. This cost is significantly higher than dial-up service, but will satisfy many of those yearning for higher Internet speeds on a budget.

DSL Lite Versus Dial-Up

DSL Lite is significantly faster than dial-up Internet service. The maximum speed of dial-up Internet is 56 Kbps (or Kilobytes per second). The speed is further limited by FCC restrictions on line noise and the bandwidth of the copper phone lines. The maximum speed of DSL Lite, on the other hand, is up to 768 Kbps.

Faster Versions of DSL

Many Internet providers now offer a few different DSL packages, one being DSL Lite. In addition to Lite, AT&T, for instance, offers DSL Ultra and Xtreme. The Ultra and Xtreme cost between $12 and $20 extra per month for speeds as high as 6.0 Mbps, or Megabytes per second. (There are over 1,000 kilobytes in a single megabyte).

Speed Considerations

Many providers offer up to 768 Kbps of downstream, and 128 Kbps of upload speed. Downstream refers to the speed at which data can be downloaded from the Internet. This affects the time it takes to load a Web page or download a media file. Upload or upstream speed is the speed at which you can upload data to the Internet or send e-mails. Faster DSL products will offer downstreaming at speeds between 1.5 Mbps to 6.0 Mbps.


DSL Lite is broadband and will require the installation of a broadband modem. A broadband modem can be connected to your computer with a single Ethernet cable. It must also be connected to the phone line using an additional Ethernet cable. In addition to the modem, DSL Lite users, unlike dial-up users, have the option of configuring the modem with a router for wireless Internet.