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Chapter 17. How a Modem (Really) Works > Digital Subscriber Line

Digital Subscriber Line

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is another broadband technology that, like cable, uses your existing infrastructure to pipe high-speed Internet access into your home or office in a continuous, always-on connection—no dialing up. However, instead of using your cable service's coaxial cable, DSL uses traditional twisted-pair copper telephone lines. This saves a lot of time, trouble, and money by eliminating the need for costly infrastructure upgrades common with other technologies. This makes DSL a practical alternative to cable Internet access for small businesses and residential homes.

How Does DSL Work?

Just like a coaxial cable can simultaneously carry television signals and provide Internet connectivity, DSL performs a similar feat via phone lines. DSL utilizes the available bandwidth of common twisted-pair analog lines to connect digitally on both the downstream and upstream connections at speeds greater than 8 Mbps and 640 Kbps, respectively (as much as 2.3 Mbps in both directions). This kind of bandwidth is far greater than standard 56K or ISDN dialup modems and is in direct competition with cable Internet access providers in many areas.


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