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What is DSL? (In plain English) Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology is a proven and versatile modem technology that transforms a regular "twisted pair" Copper telephone line into a high speed digital line for ultra fast data transfer. It greatly enhances access to the Internet, corporate networks (Virtual Private Networking) as well as exciting new interactive multimedia applications such as voice and video. Connecting remote offices and thus creating a private Wide Area Network, or allowing telecommuters to work from home or remote locations becomes easy, inexpensive and secure. DSL offers security and performance that exceeds all other technologies. DSL at its best travels over Copper wires and is distance sensitive. The closer you are to the Phone Company's central office, the better the speed. DSL routers are very inexpensive and feature rich, costing much less than their Frame Relay counterparts. There are many different types of DSL. We will be offering the following: SDSL (SpeedLink)- Symmetrical DSL is the most solid and highest quality service. Intended for business users, it will outperform Frame Relay at les than half the cost. Anyone using Frame Relay or ISDN as a dedicated service will enjoy great savings and better performance with SDSL. At present we offer SDSL in guaranteed speeds ranging from 200 K to full T-1 speed (1.544 MB). IDSL - If you are in an area that does not have Copper wiring available, IDSL will work over most Fiber installations. Generally IDSL will work at 144K. It is a great alternative to ISDN connections and priced competitively with no "per minute" charges that make ISDN a ridiculously expensive dedicated connection. ADSL - Asymmetrical DSL is the best solution for the home user. Download speeds of up to T-1 (1.5 Meg) and upstream speeds of approximately 512K, this type of connection blows away cable or anything else. ADSL modems cost about the same as ISDN or cable modems and are about 10 times faster than ISDN and three times faster than cable. ADSL also enjoys a major advantage over cable in that it is a direct "point to point" connection to our network while cable is a shared media. Pricing for ADSL starts at $49.95 per month if delivered over an existing phone line, or $59.95 per month when we provision a special conditioned dedicated data circuit. G.Lite (Available March 2000) - The simplest and cheapest solution for home use. Slower than ADSL, but will be more widely available and will work further from the phone company's Central Office. Pricing will start at $49.95. PLUS SET-UP FEES, INCIDENTAL FEES, EQUIPMENT (DSL MODEM & LINE ) CHARGES EXTRA. GET YOUR FREE DSL NOW AND AVOID THESE CHARGES ALL TOGEHER!
Choices are an important part of the Digital Lifestyle. One great thing about all these new technologies is the competition among them. You should expect competition to lead to higher quality and lower prices. You are the one who should benefit, but how do you make the right choice? What do all the acronyms mean? Can a cable modem really deliver 30 megabits per second? How reliable is an ISDN line? Which is the best choice for you?
What you need are clear, simple facts about all the options. There’s no use trying to hide the fact that we’re in the DSL business. But we figure the best way for you to make the right choice is to know all the facts. If you’d like to know how DSL stacks up against the others, read on.
vs. Analog dial-up modems
Analog modems have reached their technical limit in V90 technology that delivers up to 56.6 kilobits per second. Cheap cost and compatibility with most phone lines have made them the communication technology of choice for individual PC users. It is widely believed that a 56K, V.90 modem squeezes close to the maximum amount of data that can be fit on an analog phone line, and you can only get that bandwidth if your ISP has V.90-compatible equipment on their end. In addition, the modem only achieves its top speed if the signal only goes through one analog-digital conversion and the quality of the line is good, which means that most V.90 modems rarely deliver the full 56 kilobits per second.
The only analog trick left is to bond two 56K modems together for more bandwidth, sometimes referred to as the "shotgun" setup. This increases your Internet access costs, and can be frustrating to set up. If you want to try this, you'll have to find an ISP that can support this method - and you'll need two telephone lines. Even if you can get 112K out of this arrangement, it still has drawbacks when compared to the other technologies. A 56K modem is not good enough if you're more than a casual Internet user. For the near future, you can expect to deal with the problems caused by congestion of the public phone network, which was not designed to carry Internet traffic.
vs. Cable modems
Cable modems are the primary competitor to DSL. They offer high-bandwidth Internet access over cable TV lines, the service is reasonably reliable, and the service costs approximately $40-60/month (plus a $100-175 installation fee). Cable modems are used primarily for residential Internet access because office buildings and business parks aren't usually wired for cable television service.
There are two types of cable modems. The most prevalent is the hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) modem, which runs over HFC cable networks and offers theoretical download speeds from 3 to 30 megabits per second; however, real-world data indicate that you can expect speeds from 400 to 1440 kilobits per second.
The other, older type is a one-way modem that runs over standard cable coaxial networks. These modems offer up to 2 megabits per second download speeds, but they offer no upload capacity because cable networks were not originally designed for two-way communication. With the older system, if you need to send out information over the Internet, you will likely need a separate phone line, modem and ISP. This one-way approach is being dumped as cable companies upgrade to two-way infrastructure.
In order to offer the two-way service, the cable company must first upgrade your neighborhood to hybrid fiber/coax cable lines. As of early 1999, only about 30% of the total cable lines in the United States have been converted to HFC. One reason for the spotty availability of cable modem service is that upgrading lines is very expensive. In addition, cable lines are not likely to be located around office buildings and business parks, so high-bandwidth options for businesses probably won't include cable.
Cable networks differ from DSL networks in their basic structure. With a cable modem, you are sharing access to the Internet, unlike DSL which runs on a dedicated connection. Cable modem service is set up like a local area network (LAN), making it possible for many users to share the same bandwidth. The downside of shared access is security -- experienced hackers may be able to break into other computers on the same cable network in the neighborhood. Also, as more users in a neighborhood send and receive information, it is possible that the available bandwidth for individual users could shrink, slowing speeds similar to the rush hours on a city highway.
It is worth asking about content restrictions before you purchase the cable modem service. If you want to watch video, some cable systems would prefer that you use their cable TV service for that, so they restrict the amount of streaming video you can access with your cable modem! One company is trying to require cable modem subscribers to take its proprietary content. In other words, you would see what the company wants you to see, and you wouldn't be able to venture beyond that area to the whole Internet. The Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America are attempting to stop these practices by convincing the Federal Communications Commission that cable systems are common carriers like phone networks. If they are successful, the FCC could legally prevent cable companies from putting any restrictions on your access to the Internet.
vs. Satellite access
The most widely available high-bandwidth Internet access technology in a geographic sense is Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), also known as Digital Satellite Service (DSS) - a competitor to cable television that 6.6 million Americans were using in 1998. As long as you have a clear line of sight to the southern sky, you can order a special type of Internet access through your DBS service.
DBS service requires a small dish (usually 18 to 21 inches across), mounted outdoors to receive data sent from a stationary satellite. A recent test showed that DBS service providers can deliver download speeds in the neighborhood of 350 kilobits per second.
The downside is that the competitively-priced services are receive-only, much like the one-way cable modem setup. You still need a phone line and modem to request information from the Internet. Also, satellites are slow for Internet usage. Let's say you have a DBS Internet access provider and you click a link to pull up a web page. Clicking that link is actually a request for information that travels out on your phone line, through the ISP, through the normal paths on the Internet, and is finally answered. The information you requested is then sent 22,300 miles up to the satellite, and then back down 22,300 more miles to your DBS dish. Even at the speed of light, this method of communication is slow enough to cause a noticeable lag between click and response. This is not a big problem for downloads, but if you're a chat junkie, or you use the Internet for a lot of live, two-way communications, DBS may not be the best choice for you.
Setup is a bit more of a hassle with DBS, too. Getting the DBS hardware to "talk" to your computer is an issue, and satellites can have technical problems. Historically, they have been very reliable, but when they quit working, there is no quick fix. It's possible that you could be without service for a while, or you may be able to switch to another satellite, possibly requiring you to reposition your dish and/or retune your satellite receiver.
One of the most well-known companies in DBS Internet access services is charging $179 - $229 for installation, and the dish and satellite modem together cost about $350. Monthly service rates range from $20 for 25 hours per month of online usage, up to $110 for 200 hours per month. Additional hours are billed at $1.99. (If you would like to receive DirecTV/USSB television with your Internet access, you can pay $400 - $500 for a dish that can receive both data and television signals. This cost includes the satellite modem, but the TV receiver will cost you more.)
ISDN is a widely available, faster alternative to analog modems. If your area does not offer any of the other high-bandwidth options, ISDN is the way to go. ISDN works over standard copper phone wiring, like DSL, and gives you three data channels to work with. The two B channels operate at 56 kilobits per second or 64 kilobits per second, depending on how your phone company has configured them. These two channels can be "bonded" together to double the speed. The D channel is used to connect your calls and uses only 16 kilobits per second of bandwidth. With the right hardware however, 9.6 kilobits per second of this bandwidth can be used as an always-on Internet connection. This feature is called Always-On/Dynamic ISDN (AO/DI). It is useful for low-bandwidth applications such as e-mail and stock quotes. In addition, when the capacity hits the 9.6 kilobits per second limit, the hardware can bring up a B channel to accommodate it. When the capacity need falls back down, the B channel is dropped.
Always-On/Dynamic ISDN is just catching on. If you are interested, you will have to buy an AO/DI modem, buy a Dial-Up Networking Patch for Windows, and find an ISP that can support it.
Depending on how much high-speed access competition there is in your market, installation and setup charges for ISDN range from $125 to $400 including a good adapter to connect your computer to the network. Monthly service costs range from around $20 to $80.
Now you've got the big picture of your Digital Lifestyle options. So which do you choose? Well, let's put it this way -- if you have a choice, you're lucky. In many parts of the United States, only one or two of these technologies are available. As with most electronic media, bigger cities make more choices possible. If you do live in an area that has more than one, then we hope we've made the job of picking which is best easier for you.
Whichever way you go, the Digital Lifestyle promises to be much easier to use than the dial-up method you're probably accustomed to. Imagine the rich content of the Internet at your fingertips, ready to be accessed with a few clicks and no wait! Think of how much more fun surfing the 'Net will be - graphics popping into place instead of slowly rendering, CD-quality sound, high-quality video, and blazing fast downloads. The options that the Digital Lifestyle opens up are endless! There's just one question that we can't answer - What will you do with DSL?
DSL is short for "Digital Subscriber Line" - a key technology that enables the 2Wire Digital Lifestyle. Let's start with the Internet… you've already discovered its benefits, but sometimes it's like being stuck in a traffic jam - waiting for pages to download, waiting for your modem to connect to the Internet, busy signals, giving up use of the phone line while you're surfing, etc. What if you could bypass the traffic jam, and get to your destination using a different, faster road? That's exactly what DSL does.
DSL is fast! - DSL modems are much faster than analog modems. Different varieties of DSL provide different maximum speeds, from twice as fast to approximately 125 times faster than a 56.6K analog modem. The only speed limit with DSL is the speed of the Internet and all the different computers attached to it.
DSL doesn't tie up your phone line! - DSL doesn't interfere with phone calls, even though it uses your regular phone line. What this means is that you can be on the Internet and you can pick up the phone and make a phone call on the same line. With DSL, you won't have to worry about missing calls, or logging off the Internet to order a pizza, and then logging back on when you're done with the call.
DSL is always on! - Your DSL connection is always there. There's no need to dial up and listen to your modem squawk every time you want to do something online. And there's no frustration about the line dropping when you're in the middle of browsing or downloading. Want to check your e-mail? Set up your computer to check for new e-mail and notify you when you receive something instead of logging in and checking it yourself. Want to look at just one web page? Just open your browser and look. With DSL, you are always online!
DSL is reliable! - Phone company networks are among the most reliable in the world, experiencing only minutes of downtime each year.
What is xDSL? - It is used interchangeably with the acronym DSL to describe all the different variations of the technology. Maybe you've seen them: ADSL, SDSL, HDSL and others. They all fall into one of two categories: asymmetric DSL and symmetric DSL.
Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) reserves more bandwidth going downstream to the user and less going to the Internet. Imagine you're caught in a traffic jam on a highway during rush hour. What if you could take some of the lanes that are not as congested and switch their direction to ease the traffic jam on your side? This is exactly how Asymmetric DSL works, using more bandwidth for downloads to the user and less bandwidth for uploads from the user to the Internet. It is most attractive to Internet surfers and users of remote LANs, because they typically download much more data than they send. Symmetric DSL provides the same rate both ways, and is suited more to Web servers, corporate networks and those who send out large quantities of data.
G. Lite ADSL - G.Lite ADSL is a new standard for DSL service that will be available in mid to late 1999. It is the most consumer-friendly version of DSL. The cost for equipment and service will be less than other varieties. It will also be easier to install than other varieties - you will be able to do it yourself. It is based on ADSL, and offers downstream speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second and a maximum upstream data rate of 384 kilobits per second. Many DSL service providers will let you order lower bandwidths for a lower monthly cost. One common service will include a downstream speed of 384 kilobits per second with an upstream speed of 128 kilobits per second.
G.dmt ADSL - G.dmt ADSL is the other standard for home DSL service. It is an asymmetric technology, offering more downloading than uploading capacity. The big difference between these two technologies is speed. Sometimes called "Full-rate ADSL," the G.dmt variety can download data at -up to 8 megabits per second, and send data upstream at up to 1.5 megabits per second, if the modem is located within 10,000 - 12,000 feet of the phone company's CO (central office). Up to 18,000 feet away from the CO, G.dmt ADSL can reach up to 1.5 Megabit per second downstream. This type of DSL requires the telephone company to install a device called a "splitter" on the phone line, requiring an installation visit to your home.
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