What is DSL Internet

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It’s the type of high speed Internet connection that is available over a wired telephone backbone. The majority of telephone companies in the United States do offer DSL Internet access. So if regular telephone service is generally available in your area, there are high chances that DSL connection will be available, too. And even if your current local phone company doesn’t offer Internet DSL service you can contact their local competition and set up this type of Internet access with them.

How does DSL work

DSL connection is done via regular telephone jack just like with dialup connection. So you don’t need any additional DSL cable to be mounted. But unlike dialup, DSL is always on, its speed is much higher and the bandwidth is broader. If you use dialup Internet access, your telephone line is busy while you are online. DSL gives you an ability to surf the Internet and use your telephone line simultaneously. However, the price for DSL Internet is higher than for dialup Internet. But since any DSL connection creates a “noise” on your phone line you will have to additionally install a filter to eliminate that noise. Such filters are usually provided by your DSL company.

Comparing to other most popular type of wired Internet connection (cable Internet) even the fastest DSL has in most cases lower speed and bandwidth. Speaking about cable Internet there is usually a cable hub with a particular bandwidth. And all users, who are connected to this hub, share this bandwidth. That’s why in some cases the speed of your cable Internet may also vary – the more users share the bandwidth the less bandwidth you get. With DSL Internet you don’t share the bandwidth because you have a dedicated circuit, but the DSL Internet speed often depends upon how far you are located from the switch. The distance to your telephone company’s switch is critical in this case.

Always ask your potential Internet provider how fast is DSL connection provided by them. And if your actual DSL speed will not correspond to the declared values, do not hesitate to submit your claim.

Types of DSL connections

There are two most common types of DSL available with the majority of providers. Here are their brief descriptions:

  • ADSL or Asymmetric DSL

  • Asymmetric DSL means that your download speed will be much higher than your upload speed. This is the most popular type of DSL connection for home use. If you are using your computer mostly for watching videos, listening to music and downloading various types of content, you don’t care much about your upload speed. But if you like to play games online, the upload speed also matters.

    Nevertheless, the majority of current Internet providers offer ADSL Internet packages that will be enough to comfortably play games online. But if you have any doubts about your ADSL speed you can check it via online speed checkers.

  • SDSL or Symmetric DSL

  • With this type of connection you get symmetric download and upload speed. It usually costs more and is used for hosting servers that actively upload various content.

Two other types of DSL include IDSL and RADSL. IDSL is also known as ISDN DSL. It is based on ISDN technology which provides quite low speed (up to 144 kb/s) but reaches much farther distances from the telephone company switch. RADSL stands for Rate Adaptive DSL. It features variable speed depending upon your line conditions.