What is ADSL Broadband?

N. Madison

Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) broadband is a type of high-speed Internet service that is provided through existing telephone wires in a home or business. When a person has ADSL broadband, he connects to the Internet via an always-there Internet connection instead of dialing up using a computer modem. The name for this type of broadband includes the word asymmetric because the upload and download speeds for this type of broadband Internet service are not identical. Instead, download speeds are typically faster than upload speeds, though speed can be influenced by the distance the Internet signal has to travel.

Standard ADSL broadband has download speeds that are considerably faster than upload speeds.
Standard ADSL broadband has download speeds that are considerably faster than upload speeds.

ADSL broadband Internet makes use of the existing telephone wires in a person’s home or place of business. In many places, telephone wiring includes a pair of wires made out of copper. ADSL broadband service is possible because copper wires can handle not only a person’s telephone conversations, but also a large amount of extra data. Since telephone calls usually fail to even come close to using up telephone-wire capacity, copper telephone wires can be used for both voice calls and Internet data.

An ADSL modem.
An ADSL modem.

When a person has ADSL broadband, his Internet speeds typically differ a bit, depending on whether he is uploading to or downloading from the Internet. In most cases, people spend much more time downloading from the Internet than they do uploading data. For this reason, ADSL broadband typically divides frequencies to allow for faster downloading speeds and accommodate the average Internet user. Upload speeds are still faster than those offered by dial-up service, however.

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ADSL connection speeds often depend on how far away from the line provider’s central office the Internet user is located. The closer the line is to the office, the faster the speed is likely to be. Likewise, the quality of the connection may decrease with distance as well. Often, distance is at fault when an Internet service provider (ISP) is unable to offer ADSL broadband to a particular area. If the connection speed will be too low and quality significantly diminished, an individual may need to choose a different Internet service instead.

In order to use ADSL broadband service, a person needs a transceiver, which is typically referred to as a DSL modem. This transceiver serves as the connection from a computer to an ADSL line. It may connect to a computer using a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection in some cases and an Ethernet connection in others.

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