How Fast Is DSL?

DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, is a technology that provides Internet access to homes and businesses over telephone wires. The Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) was patented in 1988 – and since then, the technology has greatly advanced.

With improved technology, DSL Internet speeds have become faster and more consistent. Those who enjoy streaming online content, such as Netflix, and uploading family photos can get high-speed DSL. Light Internet users who browse the web, send emails and occasionally use social media can get basic DSL speeds.

The DSL Internet plan you choose will provide your home with two different speeds –upload speed and download speed. When choosing a plan, you should consider the online activities you do regularly that require both upload and download.

Download vs. upload speed

Upload speeds are necessary when you send a file to another network. For example, when you put photos on your social media profiles or send an email to someone, you are uploading items.

Download speeds are required when you receive a file from a network. Surfing the web, checking your email and watching videos are all activities that require a download.

Because Internet users typically spend more time downloading items than uploading, most Internet plans offer customers higher download speeds and lower upload speeds. This is what makes asymmetric DSL.

How DSL speeds change from one residence to the next

Ultimately, DSL Internet speeds can vary greatly from one home to another. There are a couple of factors that influence how fast DSL is in a specific household.

Because DSL Internet is delivered over the phone line, the quality of these lines is important. Typically, the higher the quality of the phone line, the faster DSL Internet speed. A high-quality phone line allows the data to travel faster to the home or business.

A “central office” delivers the Internet over the phone line that runs to your home or business. Locations close to this office will receive high-speed DSL while residences farther away may receive slower speeds. This is because the performance of a home’s DSL Internet is sensitive to its distance to the provider.