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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

1.3 The Family of DSL Technologies

Several species of DSL have resulted from the evolution of technology and the market it serves. The earliest form of DSL, 144 kb/s basic rate ISDN, was first used for ISDN service in 1986, and then was later applied to packet mode ISDN DSL (IDSL), and local transport of multiple voice calls on a pair of wires (DAML: digital added main line). Basic rate ISDN borrowed from earlier voice band modem technology (V.34), and T1/E1 digital transmission technology (ITU Rec. G.951, G.952).

As shown in Figure 1.4, DSL transmission standards have evolved from 14.4 kb/s voice-band modems in the 1970s to 52 Mb/s VDSL in the year 2001. This has been an evolution, with each generation of technology borrowing from the prior generation.

Figure 4Figure 1.4 Evolution of DSL Technology (Note: Dates indicate publication of relevant standards.)


High bit-rate DSL (HDSL) was introduced into service in 1992 for 1.5 Mb/s (using two pairs of wires) and 2 Mb/s (using two or three pairs of wires) symmetric transmission on local lines. HDSL greatly reduced the cost and installation time required to provide service by reducing the need for midspan repeaters and simplifying the line engineering effort. HDSL is widely used for private line services, and links to remote network nodes such as digital loop carrier remote terminals and wireless cell sites. In 2000, HDSL2 was introduced to accomplish the same bit-rate and line reach as HDSL but using one pair of wires instead of the two pairs required for HDSL. Both HDSL and HDSL2 operate over CSA (carrier serving area) length lines consisting of up to 12 kft2 of 24 AWG wire, 9 kft of 26 AWG wire, or a proportionate length of mixed wire gauges. HDSL2 is spectrally compatible with other services in the same cable within the CSA line lengths but may not be spectrally compatible if a midspan repeater is used to serve longer lines. HDSL4, using trellis-coded pulse amplitude modulation (TC-PAM) for two pairs of wires, achieves spectral compatibility for 1.5 Mb/s transport on longer loops. By reaching up to 11 kft on 26 AWG lines without repeaters, HDSL4 further reduces the need for repeaters. The complementary pair of technologies—HDSL2 (for CSA lines) and HDSL4 (for longer lines)—provide a lower cost and spectrally compatible means to provide symmetric 1.5 Mb/s for nearly all lines. Chapters 4 and 6 discuss HDSL2 and HDSL4, respectively. Chapter 6 also addresses the symmetric SHDSL technology.

Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) service was introduced in 1995 and employed the following new technology aspects:

  • Higher downstream bit rates are achieved via transmission asymmetry, using a wider bandwidth for downstream transmission and a narrower bandwidth for upstream transmission.

  • Near-end crosstalk is reduced by partial or full separation of the upstream and downstream frequency bands.

  • Simultaneous transport of POTS and data is achieved by transmitting data in a frequency band above voice telephony.3

  • Use of advanced transmission techniques (trellis coding, Reed-Solomon codes with interleaving, and DMT modulation).

  • Rate-adaptive transmission that adjusts to the highest bit rate allowed by the unique conditions for each line.

ADSL is widely used for applications benefiting from the bit-rate asymmetry, for example, high-speed Internet access and workstation access for small business offices and home work offices (SOHO). ADSL supports downstream bit-rates up to 8 Mb/s and upstream bit-rates up to 900 kb/s on short lines (less than 6 kft) with moderate line noise. However, to assure service to more lines with more noise, ADSL service is most often provided at bit-rates of 2 Mb/s or less downstream and 128 kb/s or less upstream. At mid-year 2002, there were 26 million ADSLs in service worldwide, with approximately 80 percent of the lines serving residential customers and 20 percent of the lines serving business customers. The early deployments of ADSL employed a splitter at both ends of the line to combine the 0–3.2 kHz analog voice signal with the ADSL signals in a higher frequency band. The development of the "G.lite" (ITU Rec. G.992.2) standard introduced the concept of enabling customer self-installation without a splitter at the customer end of the line. This reduced the labor cost to install the service. Field trials of G.lite demonstrated that an in-line filter must be inserted in series with most types of telephone sets to prevent problems for both the voice transmission as well as the digital transmission. Subsequently, it was determined that the in-line filters permitted effective operation of the full-rate ADSL (T1.413 and ITU Rec G.992.1), whereas G.lite is restricted to about 1.5 Mb/s downstream. As a result, the large majority of current ADSL installations use full-rate ADSL self-installed by the customer, placing an in-line filter by every telephone in their premises. Because ITU Recs. G.922.1 and G.992.2 were derived from the earlier T1.413 standard, all these ADSL standards are very similar, and most ADSL equipment supports all three standards. Chapter 3 discusses ADSL in more detail.

Single-pair high-bit-rate DSL (SHDSL) products were available by the end of 2000 based on the ITU Rec. G.991.2 standard. Like the nonstandard 2B1Q SDSL systems, SHDSL supports symmetric transmission at bit-rates from 192 kb/s to 2.32 Mb/s while providing at least 2,000 feet greater line reach than SDSL. Furthermore, the SHDSL specifications provided for the use of multiple pairs of wires and midspan repeaters to achieve greater bit-rates and line lengths. SHDSL uses trellis coded pulse amplitude modulation (TC-PAM), which is also used for HDSL2 and HDSL4. Chapter 6 discusses SHDSL in more detail.

Prestandard very high-bit-rate DSL (VDSL) systems were used in field trials in 2000. VDSL supports asymmetric bit-rates as high as 52 Mb/s downstream or symmetric bit-rates as high as 26 Mb/s. The key distinction of VDSL is its limitation to very short loops, as short as 1,000 feet for the highest bit-rates or up to about 4,000 feet for moderate data rates. The very short line length operation depends on shortening the copper line by placing an optical network unit (ONU) close to the customer site and then connecting one or more ONUs to the network with a fiber. Like ADSL, VDSL is a rate adaptive system that provides for simultaneous transmission of data and an analog voice signal. Chapter 7 discusses VDSL in more detail.

The term xDSL applies to most or all types of DSL technology. Chapter 5 discusses ITU G.994.1 (g.handshake), which DSL transceivers use to negotiate a common operating mode.

Figure 1.5 shows the upstream and downstream rates supported by the various DSL technologies with the symmetric technologies (ISDN, SHDSL, HDSL) residing along a line of symmetry, and the rate adaptive technologies (ADSL, VDSL) covering a broad range of bit-rates with the corresponding maximum line lengths indicated.

Figure 1.5Figure 1.5 DSL Data Rates


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