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 Consumer Demand Drives Development of New DSL Technology 
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Post Consumer Demand Drives Development of New DSL Technology
Consumer Demand Drives Development of New DSL Technology
by: Scott Best

With ever growing demand for better and faster access to the internet by consumers, major technology companies are rushing to develop new technologies to meet these demands. But there have been problems along the way.

One of the first problems to be considered in developing new technology is the current infrastructure or currently available equipment on which broadband services are supplied. Most all DSL service in the world travels over standard phone line, which in most cases has been in place for many years. The lines are basically straight copper, in some cases there may be somewhat newer twisted pair copper lines, but none the less still pretty much standard copper telephone wire.

DSL was originally designed to be used over just such lines with the aid of line filtering, and has for the most part done its job very effectively. But with the increase in demand for high speed access, companies are finding it difficult to supply the increases in speed and reliability that consumers are demanding. One of the major limitations of DSL is travel distance. DSL looses speed and reliability the further away from the companies switching or exchange center. At the exchange, a digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM) terminates the DSL circuits and aggregates them, where they are handed off onto other networking transports. Ideally users need to be within 15,000 feet from the DSLAM server, using current copper line technology.

Other transport systems in many cases may well be fiber-optic lines that can handle thousands of times more bandwidth then can standard copper transmission lines. As companies upgrade systems, and more and more DSLAM terminals are supplied with fiber-optic access. DSL service to consumers will get better. The hope is of one day having fiber optic lines in place completely up to consumer use points, or in the home. To have a fiber optic infrastructure in place would open up vastly improved network connection abilities, but it isn’t something that will happen any time soon. Upgrading systems will take many years.

In 2004 a technology was developed by Texas Instruments that helped the world leap ahead onto the internet superhighway. The technology called Uni-DSL which means “One DSL for universal service” brought new elements to the world of DSL. Uni-DSL made it possible to add voice and video to data that could be transmitted effectively over a single digital subscriber line. It also helped local companies stream line their services while adding to the effectiveness of DSL service over all. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol was born of this new technology, as was on demand or live streaming video for the consumer

There are several competing forms of DSL, each adapted to specific needs in the marketplace. Some forms of DSL are widely used standards and some are proprietary. Due to existing infrastructure not all are available in all places. Each standard has its own unique equipment and protocol requirements. ADSL or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line is the most common type in use today. Other types include SDSL or Symmetric DSL and VDSL referred to as Very High-Bit-Rate DSL. Both ADSL and VDSL have new technology associated with them that change their nomenclature slightly to ADSL2+ and VDSL2. These two technologies are both in use and are being further developed. Depending on who you talk to, ADSL2+ is the best for users with distances further then 3,000 feet from the DSLAM center and VDSL2 for those in the short run distances.

The focus now seems to be on the upstream side of Broadband access. With more and more people working from home, and more families communicating over the internet, it doesn’t take long to realize that although down stream speeds might be great, upstream or uploading information is still not meeting the consumer demand level.

If you have every tried to share a video from a camcorder with family members across the internet, you have probably noticed that it still isn’t as easy as you might like. The demand for upstream bandwidth has come to center stage and is a large part of what is driving today’s research and development.

But with every change, time is needed for it to filter into point of use. Every new protocol demands change in every aspect of how Broadband access is delivered to the consumer. From the program that needs to be written that will accommodate the new setups, the machinery that handles every aspect of the physical delivery system, to the modem you have that connects your computer to the internet. Everything needs to work together.

What will tomorrow bring for consumers in the way of Broadband access? Only tomorrow will tell. Some believe that we may have reached the limit of speed that can be achieved using existing infrastructure and until new fiber-optic lines are more readily available that speeds won’t improve much. Yet new ideas and technology are still being developed to help bring better internet access to the world over existing infrastructure.

Will there be fiber-optic lines in every home soon? Someday, most likely, but not in the very near future. At present it just isn’t cost effective for companies to implement the kind of changes needed to upgrade everyone to the latest and greatest types of DSL systems, but slowly as new systems are built and upgrades are made, where possible, fiber-optic cables are being put in place. With each upgrade, with each new system structure built, the goal of fiber-optic lines in every home becomes more of a reality for us all.

So is the DSL connection that you have now as fast as it will get? Today, maybe yes, but most assuredly the future will improve it, and who knows, tomorrow may be the day.

More DSL information at

About The Author

Scott Best is a freelance author in association with You can see more of Scott Best’s articles in the archive at

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This article was posted by permission.

Fri Aug 03, 2007 4:19 pm
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