DSL Modem

This particular device is familiar to everyone as most of us have used it in the past, and some continue to do so today as well. The simplest definition would be that it is a modem that allows one to connect to the internet over a digital subscriber line (DSL). Before the DSL connection came along, our option for connecting to the internet was through the telephone line. Today, we’re not in such a position – we can easily establish an internet connection with or without lines. However, back when DSL came around it was a revolution. It offered everything that its precursor, the phone line, did and more without any of the drawbacks.

The DSL modem and connection was revolutionary in that it offered:
1. A working phone line and internet connection simultaneously
2. Higher speed compared to the dial-up connection
3. No need to install new lines, your current phone lines would work just great.
4. The DSL modem usually came complimentary with the DSL connection, depending of course, on how nice your service providers were.

The way DSL accomplished this was by utilizing the unused capacity of a phone line. Phone lines typically have a large bandwidth, literally millions of hertz (sound travels in hertz per second – hertz = cycles). The human voice, on the other hand, requires a frequency between 0 – 3400 hertz. So the remaining frequency is used by DSL to transmit digital signals. Also, DSL has a great way to keep the phone frequencies from mixing up or interfering what the data you’re sending over the internet. The job of sending the data is that of a DSL modem.

Although we will not go into the details of how DSL modems do what they do, there are certain unique points to DSL that are worth knowing before you go ahead and choose it. Firstly, DSL is a distance sensitive medium, which means the closer you are to your main provider, the faster your speed is going to be. Closer, in this case, could mean anywhere within 18,000 feet of the provider. However, 18,000 feet is quite a long distance, considering Mt. Everest is about 29,000 feet. The smaller this distance between you and the provider, the better your download speed will be. However, most providers will state much less than 18,000 feet as their maximum coverage area, since they would like to maintain capacity. If you’re close enough to the provider, let’s say within 10,000 feet you would get speeds of 6-8 Mbps (megabits per second). Better versions of DSL keep improving speed.

Typically, you will notice while using a DSL modem that your upload speeds is much smaller than your download speeds. This is because DSL makes use of a simple common-sense principle, and that is that users download far more data than they upload. Therefore, getting more on the download speed makes sense while the uploading speeds can be compromised a little. This is called ADSL or Asymmetric DSL (since there is no symmetry between the upload and download speeds).

A DSL connection is pretty easy to get hold of. Your telephone company will be providing it in your area, and you will have to contact them and ask for an installation. Usually the DSL connection will come with packages – so you will be entitled a certain number of downloads for a monthly fee plus some rental fee. Most companies give you the DSL modem along with the installation for a little extra charge. There is never any need for rewiring.

However, you might want to check if the DSL modem they provide is a USB or an Ethernet one. Typically, USB DSL modems work better on personal computers but the Ethernet ones are supposed to provide better speeds for networked computers – like in an office building. If you’re getting a DSL line for your PC only, it’s best to stick to a USB modem. Or, you could buy a DSL modem that can connect both ways.

This DSL Modem Review is Written/Updated on Jul 30th, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed