Home > Articles > Networking

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Weighing In on DSL

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a technology working hard to catch up to its potential. DSL is popular because of its speed and always-on connections (more about that later). But in a TechTV broadband user survey, the complaints most frequently cited by DSL users were "failure to receive advertised connection speeds and frequent inability to connect to their service." DSL could be great, but it's still getting there.

DSL connects your computer to the Internet by sending high-speed data through copper phone wires. DSL isn't offered everywhere, but phone companies are working hard to add DSL service to their offerings.

Even if your local phone company offers DSL service, you might not get hooked up right away. The number of ports in each of the phone company's central offices determines the number of DSL users the system can support. If no port is available in your area, you won't be able to get DSL service until the company adds more ports, or a current user unsubscribes.

Upload, Download—What's the Dif?

TIP

When you start researching broadband connection options, you'll see speeds rated for uploading and downloading. Those terms refer to the direction of the data transfer through the connection. Data passing from your computer to the Internet is being uploaded; information feeding into your machine from the Internet is being downloaded. The speeds for the two types of transfers are always different, because uploading is slower than downloading. Because most Web activities—from surfing to e-mail—require both actions, both upload and download speeds matter.

DSL Pros and Cons

DSL is becoming one of the most popular Internet connection methods. Some experts predict that by 2002, more than half of all Internet users will receive broadband transmissions, and DSL and cable modem are the two current technology leaders in broadband delivery. Here are some of the good things about DSL:

  • DSL is fast; from most services, you should look for speeds up to 384Kbps for downloads and 128Kbps for uploading.

  • Most DSL connections are "always on" (though some, like Earthlink, use PPPoE or point-to-point protocol over Ethernet, where you're assigned an IP address and have to connect, just as in DUN).

  • DSL works through dedicated lines—no line-sharing or security worries, like those you have with cable modem.

  • Even though DSL works through phone lines, it doesn't tie up yours. You can be online and talk on the phone at the same time, without adding a second line.

Now, take a look at the DSL "dark side":

  • Offerings and services vary, but DSL can be expensive. In addition to the hardware costs, your phone company might charge you a monthly DSL fee (the amount varies, but it's usually between $40 and $50) and a separate ISP charge of $10 or more. Again, the pricing and "packaging" of DSL varies from area to area, so be sure you determine exactly what your DSL deal provides.

  • The farther you live from the phone system's "hub," the less speedy your connection will be.

  • If your system goes down, you might have to wait a long time for service. Many phone companies launched DSL services without knowing how much maintenance and repair the services would require. As a result, they got off to a rocky start, with lots of down time and slow service response. Look for this issue to resolve itself as the systems—and providers—get "broken in."

"Free" DSL Might Not Be

TIP

You might see ads for free DSL, but take a close look at the details of the contract (and they will ask you to sign one). Some services offer free DSL because they pump continuous advertisements onto their subscribers' screens. You'll pay an additional fee if you don't want to be bombarded with ads. Other companies want you to sign up for an extended period—say five years—and charge a hefty fee if you break the contract. Or they might require you to take on additional phone services the company offers in your area. As always, read the fine print before you sign anything. And if it looks too good to be true...well, you know the rest.

Can You Use a DSL Connection?

Most modern home computers can handle DSL with little modification. You need a DSL modem (about $200, but often included free by the provider when you sign a contract) and an Ethernet card (anywhere from $10 to $50) if you don't already have one. In some cases, you still need an ISP. The phone company charges about $10 a month for theirs. Most companies will install your DSL equipment and service for a fee.

Maybe You Don't Want to Install Your Own DSL

Lots of DSL providers encourage new subscribers to install their DSL system, providing a reduced start-up cost and a "self-install" kit that includes instructions, a DSL modem, and a number of microfilters you need to install to keep the DSL signal from interfering with your phones. Those microfilters are important parts of your DSL setup; they also prevent your telephones from interfering with your DSL service.

The problem is that self-install doesn't always work. Problems ranging from poor house wiring to lighting dimmers can slow down or even stop your DSL performance. And you can run into problems getting the special software that DSL demands to run on your computer. If you give in to the self-install "lure," be prepared to spend some time arranging for a service technician visit if you run into problems.

More importantly, you also need to live within three miles or so of a telephone switching station if you want your DSL connection to be at all speedy and reliable. For a basic monthly DSL fee, you should get downloads at about 384 Kbps and uploads at about 128 Kbps. Those speeds work great for most users, but not everyone gets the same speeds.

DSL providers farm the service out to you through a central hub. Users located close to the hub receive great speeds; move on down the line, and the quality of your service degrades. Pack a large number of users on the hub, and you lose even more quality. In other words, you get no guarantee that you'll get the DSL speeds you pay for.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020