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Posted 04/25/2020 in Basic Help

How does DSL internet services work?


How does DSL internet services work?

How does DSL internet services work?

DSL (digital subscriber line) internet service is one of the first internet service platforms that was introduced and really started using the service and equipment back in the early 2000's. Although the idea of data transmissions over phone lines has been around since the 50's.

Here is the skinny on how todays DSL service works.

  • The phone company has equipment that injects the DSL service onto a twisted pair of telephone wires to your house.
  • The average DSL equipment can produce transfer speeds in the range of 22 meg down x 1.3 meg up. But that is only if you were to hook up right on the equipment. 
  • The further your home is away from the phone companies equipment the less data transfer rate you will have. Lets say you live right next to the phone company and your modem inside your house has a total of 700 feet of wire from the phone companies equipment to your modem, you could have a good transfer rate of 20 x 1.1 speed. But if your house is 10,000 feet away from the equipment you will get around 10 x 1 speeds. As the line gets farther away from the phone company equipment the rate will drop faster and faster. Max distance on a perfect pair of wires for DSL service is around 15,000 feet and you can expect to get speeds of around 3x1. You need to also figure into these distances the amount of phone wire going through your home to all the phone jacks.
  • Now that you know DSL speeds and how far they can reach, now you need to know how to budget your data. If you are getting 10 x 1 speeds (Which is an average speed for DSL services.) you should be able to stream a HD video from a service provider like Netflix or YoutubeTV. But if you start any other devices like facebook or a second tv stream you could have problems.
  • Download speed is important, BUT the upload speed is what will knock your DSL on it butt. As devices are asking for data (that's an upload) or sending data (upload) like a camera or a cell phone uploading to the cloud, the service can get overloaded and start to have errors. This is one of the reasons you get buffering on your tv streams.
  • At your home you will have a DSL modem that removes the DSL signal from the phone line. If you have dial tone also on the line, you will need to have DSL filters on every piece of equipment that is plugged into the line. (phones, alarm systems, gate intercom, satellite boxes, outside ringers, ect...) BUT do not filter the DSL modem!


In today's world you don't need a good router, you need a GREAT router to handle all the wifi equipment that is "talking" to your router.

As your router sits in your home, it is reaching out and "talking" to all electronics with WIFI that it can reach. Even if it is not connected, it is still talking to all the equipment saying here I am, lets connect.

The more WIFI devices you have running on your router the bigger CPU (central processor unit) the router will need. If you are running any cameras like a Ring doorbell camera on your front door, you will have trouble with your router and internet service, as it is constantly "talking" to your router via WIFI.

If you are using a low cost router (free modem/router from the phone company) you will want to replace it with a better one. One thing you can do with the low cost router is unplug it from the power regularly to reboot it. This will clear out any bugs and old cache it may have saved.

If you are looking for a new router, you should expect to pay upwards of $200 for a router that can handle the WIFI traffic that we are flooding our homes with these days.

One problem that people do, is to put a second router behind the modem/router without shutting off the first routers DHCP server. If this is done, the devices like cell phones, computers ect. do not know which router to get an IP address from, you could end up with ip conflicts.

If you are having trouble with your dsl service, start troubleshooting by turning off all the devices that are connected to the service and you should see the service improve. IT IS ALL ABOUT BUDGETING YOUR DATA!