Glossary of Terms


Like any industry, ours uses a variety of terms. If you want to find out what they mean, you are in the right place! Simply click on a letter to see its list of terms. If the term you are looking for isn't listed in our glossary feel free to contact us so that we may help you as well as add it to our list.

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Digital Subscriber Line

Digital Subscriber Line, or DSL, is a family of technologies that provide a digital connection over the copper wires of the local telephone network. Its origin dates back to 1988, when an engineer at Bell Labs devised a way to carry a digital signal over the unused frequency spectrum. This allows an ordinary phone line to provide digital communication without blocking access to voice services. Bell's management, however, were not enthusiastic about it, as it was not as profitable as renting out a second line for those consumers who preferred to still have access to the phone when dialing out. This changed in the late 1990s when cable companies started marketing broadband Internet access. Realizing that most consumers would prefer broadband Internet to a second dial out line, Bell companies rushed out the DSL technology that they had been sitting on for the past decade as an attempt to slow broadband Internet access uptake, to win market share against the cable companies.

As of 2005, DSL provides the principal competition to cable modems for providing high speed Internet access to home consumers in Europe and North America; although on average, cable is much faster than DSL in most commercial situations. Older ADSL standards could deliver 8 Mb/s over about one mile of copper wire. The latest standard ADSL2+ can deliver over 20 Mb/s per user over similar distances. However many copper lines are longer than one mile reducing the amount of bandwidth that can be transmitted. Modern cable systems, on the other hand, can provide 30 Mb/s downstream, but this bandwidth is shared between all the users on the cable segment (which could be 100-200 households).


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