DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a technology for bringing high- bandwidth information to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines. xDSL refers to different variations of DSL, such as ADSL, HDSL, and RADSL. Assuming your home or small business is close enough to a telephone company central office that offers DSL service, you may be able to receive data at rates up to 6.1 megabits (millions of bits) per second (of a theoretical 8.448 megabits per second), enabling continuous transmission of motion video, audio, and even 3-D effects. More typically, individual connections will provide from 1.544 Mbps to 512 Kbps downstream and about 128 Kbps upstream. A DSL line can carry both data and voice signals and the data part of the line is continuously connected. DSL installations began in 1998 and will continue at a greatly increased pace through the next decade in a number of communities in the U.S. and elsewhere. Compaq, Intel, and Microsoft working with telephone companies have developed a standard and easier-to-install form of ADSL called G.Lite that is accelerating deployment. DSL is expected to replace ISDN in many areas and to compete with the cable modem in bringing multimedia and 3-D to homes and small businesses.
How It WorksTraditional phone service (sometimes called POTS for "plain old telephone service") connects your home or small business to a telephone company office over copper wires that are wound around each other and called twisted pair . Traditional phone service was created to let you exchange voice information with other phone users and the type of signal used for this kind of transmission is called an analog signal. An input device such as a phone set takes an acoustic signal (which is a natural analog signal) and converts it into an electrical equivalent in terms of volume (signal amplitude) and pitch (frequency of wave change). Since the telephone company's signalling is already set up for this analog wave transmission, it's easier for it to use that as the way to get information back and forth between your telephone and the telephone company. That's why your computer has to have a modem - so that it can demodulate the analog signal and turn its values into the string of 0 and 1 values that is called digital information.
Because analog transmission only uses a small portion of the available amount of information that could be transmitted over copper wires, the maximum amount of data that you can receive using ordinary modems is about 56 Kbps (thousands of bits per second). (With ISDN , which one might think of as a limited precursor to DSL, you can receive up to 128 Kbps.) The ability of your computer to receive information is constrained by the fact that the telephone company filters information that arrives as digital data, puts it into analog form for your telephone line, and requires your modem to change it back into digital. In other words, the analog transmission between your home or business and the phone company is a bandwidth bottleneck.
Digital Subscriber Line is a technology that assumes digital data does not require change into analog form and back. Digital data is transmitted to your computer directly as digital data and this allows the phone company to use a much wider bandwidth for transmitting it to you. Meanwhile, if you choose, the signal can be separated so that some of the bandwidth is used to transmit an analog signal so that you can use your telephone and computer on the same line and at the same time.
Splitter-based vs. Splitterless DSLMost DSL technologies require that a signal splitter be installed at a home or business, requiring the expense of a phone company visit and installation. However, it is possible to manage the splitting remotely from the central office. This is known as splitterless DSL, "DSL Lite," G.Lite, or Universal ADSL and has recently been made a standard.
Modulation TechnologiesSeveral modulation technologies are used by various kinds of DSL, although these are being standardized by the International Telecommunication Union ( ITU ). Different DSL modem makers are using either Discrete Multitone Technology ( DMT ) or Carrierless Amplitude Modulation ( CAP ). A third technology, known as Multiple Virtual Line ( MVL nother possibility.
Factors Affecting the Experienced Data RateDSL modems follow the data rate multiples established by North American and European standards. In general, the maximum range for DSL without a repeater is 5.5 km (18,000 feet). As distance decreases toward the telephone company office, the data rate increases. Another factor is the gauge of the copper wire. The heavier 24 gauge wire carries the same data rate farther than 26 gauge wire. If you live beyond the 5.5 kilometer range, you may still be able to have DSL if your phone company has extended the local loop with optical fiber cable. backbone network, the telephone company uses a Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer ( DSLAM ). Typically, the DSLAM connects to an asynchronous transfer mode ( ATM ) network that can aggregate data transmission at gigabit data rates. At the other end of each transmission, a DSLAM demultiplexes the signals and forwards them to appropriate individual DSL connections.
Who's Offering It WhenDSL is now offered in most parts of the United States, in the UK, and elsewhere. The availability of DSL service depends on whether a local company has made the necessary investment in equipment and line reconditioning and on your own proximity to the telephone company.
Companies offering DSL service in various parts of the United States include BellSouth, Covad, Primary Network, Qwest, SBC Communications, and Verizon. In general, a faster and more expensive is offered for business users.
Types of DSLduplex bandwidth is devoted to the downstream direction, sending data to the user. Only a small portion of bandwidth is available for upstream or user-interaction messages. However, most Internet and especially graphics- or multi-media intensive Web data need lots of downstream bandwidth, but user requests and responses are small and require little upstream bandwidth. Using ADSL, up to 6.1 megabits per second of data can be sent downstream and up to 640 Kbps upstream. The high downstream bandwidth means that your telephone line will be able to bring motion video, audio, and 3-D images to your computer or hooked-in TV set. In addition, a small portion of the downstream bandwidth can be devoted to voice rather data, and you can hold phone conversations without requiring a separate line.
Unlike a similar service over your cable TV line, using ADSL, you won't be competing for bandwidth with neighbors in your area. In many cases, your existing telephone lines will work with ADSL. In some areas, they may need upgrading.G.Lite (also known as DSL Lite, splitterless ADSL, and Universal ADSL) is essentially a slower ADSL that doesn't require splitting of the line at the user end but manages to split it for the user remotely at the telephone company. This saves the cost of what the phone companies call "the truck roll." G.Lite, officially ITU-T standard G-992.2, provides a data rate from 1.544 Mbps to 6 Mpbs downstream and from 128 Kbps to 384 Kbps upstream. G.Lite is expected to become the most widely installed form of DSL.
|DSL Type||Description||Data Rate
|IDSL||ISDN Digital Subscriber Line||128 Kbps||18,000 feet on 24 gauge wire||Similar to the ISDN BRI service but data only (no voice on the same line)|
|1 Mbps downstream; less upstream||18,000 feet on 24 gauge wire||Splitterless home and small business service; similar to DSL Lite|
|DSL Lite (same as G.Lite)||"Splitterless" DSL without the "truck roll"||From 1.544 Mbps to 6 Mbps downstream, depending on the subscribed service||18,000 feet on 24 gauge wire||The standard ADSL; sacrifices speed for not having to install a splitter at the user's home or business|
|G.Lite (same as DSL Lite)||"Splitterless" DSL without the "truck roll"||From 1.544 Mbps to 6 Mbps , depending on the subscribed service||18,000 feet on 24 gauge wire||The standard ADSL; sacrifices speed for not having to install a splitter at the user's home or business|
|HDSL||High bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line||1.544 Mbps duplex on two twisted-pair lines;
2.048 Mbps duplex on three twisted-pair lines
|12,000 feet on 24 gauge wire||T1/E1 service between server and phone company or within a company;
WAN, LAN, server access
|SDSL||Symmetric DSL||1.544 Mbps duplex (U.S. and Canada); 2.048 Mbps (Europe) on a single duplex line downstream and upstream||12,000 feet on 24 gauge wire||Same as for HDSL but requiring only one line of twisted-pair|
|ADSL||Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line||1.544 to 6.1 Mbps downstream;
16 to 640 Kbps upstream
|1.544 Mbps at 18,000 feet;
2.048 Mbps at 16,000 feet;
6.312 Mpbs at 12,000 feet;
8.448 Mbps at 9,000 feet
|Used for Internet and Web access, motion video, video on demand, remote LAN access|
|RADSL||Rate-Adaptive DSL from Westell||Adapted to the line, 640 Kbps to 2.2 Mbps downstream; 272 Kbps to 1.088 Mbps upstream||Not provided||Similar to ADSL|
|UDSL||Unidirectional DSL proposed by a company in Europe||Not known||Not known||Similar to HDSL|
|VDSL||Very high Digital Subscriber Line||12.9 to 52.8 Mbps downstream;
1.5 to 2.3 Mbps upstream;
1.6 Mbps to 2.3 Mbps downstream
|4,500 feet at 12.96 Mbps;
3,000 feet at 25.82 Mbps; 1,000 feet at 51.84 Mbps
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