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What is DSL?

"DSL" stands for Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is a network access technology. It transforms a traditional phone line into a high-speed digital link to provide broadband Internet access. It uses special modems encode the data and then transmit it over an unused frequency on the phone line. With DSL you have a stable Internet connection that allows you to host your own Web site, connect branch offices of a small business, and to surf the Internet faster at any time of the day or night.

Cable modems are DSLs' closest competitors. They rely on much of the same technology and provide similar service. Both cable and DSL use special modems and Ethernet cards for the same type of always-on connection. People prefer using DSL instead of traditional dial-up modems becuase DSL is much faster. Unlike DSL, cable modem users share lines. The more people connected to the line, the slower the connection speed will be. Many people also prefer DSL to a cable modem because a cable modem is considered to be less secure and less reliable. Sharing lines creates a security risk because it is easier for hackers to gain access to incoming and outgoing files and e-mail messages. One other notable advantage to having DSL is that one phone line can carry both voice and data, so you can use an existing phone line to carry DSL data.

Several factors can affect the quality of your DSL connection, including how close you are to the DSL provider and what security features are available. With DSL, whenever the computer is on you are connected to the Internet. DSL modems typically lack security features so it is important to make the connection more secure. You can easily protect yourself by shutting down after each use, reducing the number of hours you use your computer, and keeping an up-to-date antivirus program running at all times. It is highly recommended that DSL users install a personal firewall (software that prevents certain data from entering or leaving your computer and costs between $40 to $50).

Both DSL and cable services are affordable (most DSL access starts at $39.95 per month), and you can find deals by shopping. DSL service is available from a number of local telephone companies, local Internet Service Providers and resellers (third party companies). With the current situation of dotcom companies, we recommend checking the permanence of the company if you plan to use a reseller for you DSL services.

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