Question: What is DSL and how does it compare to dial-up?
Answer: DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, is a service that carries digital data transmission over standard twisted pair phone cable. The signal is carried in the unused frequency ranges on the copper wires. This means that it doesn’t interfere with voice communication over the same line. Depending on a variety of factors, the latest DSL standard is capable of providing bandwidth of up to 24 mbps, over 400 times faster than a dial up connection. However, the speed of a DSL connection is directly dependant on the distance of the DSL modem to the DSLAM or ‘digital subscriber line access multiplexer’ usually controlled by the local phone company. It is also dependant on the speeds advertised by the ISP. The typical DSL connection can be anywhere from 128 kbps (2.5 times faster than dial-up) to 5 mbps (almost 100 times faster than dial-up). This again would depend on the ISP and your distance from the DSLAM. Unfortunately, if you don’t live within approx. 3 miles of a DSLAM, you may not qualify for DSL at all. The infrastructure for this technology is growing rapidly in most areas, but can seem a little laggard when you are waiting to qualify. Along with the obvious speed advantage, DSL also enables you to talk on the phone and be online simultaneously, unlike dial-up modems. All factors considered it is a far superior way to access the internet than dial-up.
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