What Is DSL

Have you ever wondered, what is DSL? Is it another overnight delivery service? These days, there are many ways to connect to the Internet. DSL is one of them. Let's take a brief look at how it works and why it's different from other ways to use the internet.

What is DSL? It's Dial-up's Quicker Cousin
In the not-too-distant past, people connected to the Internet through a dial-up modem. This meant the modem would dial into servers over your phone line. This also meant you couldn't make phone calls when you were connected to the Internet, unless you had more than one phone line.

When cable companies started offering Internet connections through their cable wires, the phone companies came up with an alternative to save their business. What is known as DSL was born. DSL, short for digital subscriber line, splits your phone line into more than one frequency, allowing you to access both your phone and the Internet at the same time.

One of the advantages of home DSL over dial-up is the increased speed. When you make a voice call, the information gets converted digitally over the telephone wire and then transferred back into words to the person on the other end of the line. Since computers are sending information digitally, this information doesn't need to be converted over the line. Eliminating that digital to analog conversion allows DSL to be much faster than dial-up connections.

What is DSL's Drawback?
One drawback to home DSL can be the number of subscribers. If there are a lot of subscribers in one area, they are essentially all sharing the same line. This reduces the amount of information that can be passed through the line by each subscriber, known as bandwidth. If someone is using a lot of bandwidth, all the users on that line might experience a slower Internet connection.

Even in the best scenarios, DSL isn't as fast as cable. The older wiring used for telephone lines simply doesn't have the same capacity to transmit information as newer coaxial and fiber optic lines. When it comes to viewing Web pages, you might not notice the lower DSL speed. Download a large file from the Web, such as a movie or TV show, and you'll find that cable and fiber optic connections are much faster.

On the plus side, every home has a telephone line, which means that once you know the answer to, "what is DHL?" you'll learn that it is available even in rural areas where cable TV can't be found.  DSL is often significantly less expensive than cable Internet service, making it a good choice for budget-minded Web users who don't download a lot of large files.

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