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Frequently Asked Questions - High-Speed DSL

  1. What is DSL?
  2. You offer two types of DSL and several speeds. Which one should I choose?
  3. I have a dial-up connection and get along just fine. Why would I need DSL?
  4. I understand DSL is not available everywhere. How do I know if I can get it?
  5. I'm going to be buying a new computer, is there anything special I need for DSL?
  6. I just got a new computer, why do I need a different modem for DSL?
  7. How does DSL work over regular telephone lines?
  8. Can I connect more than one computer to DSL?
  9. What's a firewall? Do I need one?


Q: What is DSL?
A: DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a technology that provides high-bandwidth (high-speed) network connections to individual homes and businesses. DSL uses the same line as your regular telephone service, but it offers the higher data speeds because of the digital modem it uses. DSL is a relatively new technology and because of current technical limitations and its high cost, remains unavailable in some locations – however we are pleased to offer it as an option to most of our customers.

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Q: You offer two types of DSL and several speeds. Which one should I choose?
A: The answer to this question is difficult: "It depends on what you're going to use your connection for." Most residential users who do general Web browsing, some file downloading and use their e-mail regularly go with the 384K or 512K ADSL service. If you're into online gaming or have a need to transfer large files, the 768K or 1.0MB service is recommended. SDSL is designed for business customers or users who need an equal amount of upload and download speed. SDSL services are also typically more expensive.

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Q: I have a dial-up connection and get along just fine. Why would I need DSL?
A: There are many advantages to using High-Speed DSL, the most important is the fact that with only one phone line you can talk and surf at the same time. If you've got two lines with one dedicated for dial-up access you can eliminate the second line, saving you the monthly expense. Secondly, DSL is a constant dedicated connection so you don't waste time dialing up. Basically, whenever your computer is on, you're connected to the Internet. Finally, DSL connections are much quicker. A 384K ADSL connection is typically 8 to 10 times faster than dial-up service. The speed increase translates into time saved when surfing and downloading e-mail.

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Q; I understand DSL is not available everywhere. How do I know if I can get it?
A: Right now, DSL is not offered everywhere; availability is determined by how close a customer is to the nearest exchange – or switching equipment – that connects the homes and business in that service area to our central office. DSL technology works only over a limited physical distance: At maximum, DSL runs about 18,000 feet (3.5 miles) from our central office or remote switch that serves your area. In addition to the length restrictions, phone lines must be “qualified” for DSL. Even if the connection point is less than 18,000 feet from the equipment, a particular line must also possess sufficient electrical-quality characteristics. The best thing to do is to contact our office.

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Q: I'm going to be buying a new computer, is there anything special I need for DSL?
A: Most computers for sale in electronics stores or by mail order are more than adequate to support a DSL connection. There is one thing to look for when getting a new PC: Make sure it has an ethernet port. Most new computers come with an ethernet jack, but it's something to check on.

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Q: I just got a new computer, why do I need a different modem for DSL?
A: Most PC's come with analog dial-up modems. While this type of modem is all it takes to "dial-up" to the Internet, it won't support a DSL link. DSL service requires a special external, digital modem that connects to your computer's ethernet port.

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Q: How does DSL work over regular telephone lines?
A: The heart of Digital Subscriber Line technology is in fact the modem; the line itself is actually the same telephone wire you’ve always had. The DSL modem that you purchase as part of the service talks to another DSL modem located at the located at our office; in essence, the modems send data back and forth, but the telephone line itself hasn’t changed. The digital modem technology “converts” your line to use the additional, data capacity. As a result, DSL subscribers can “share” the line at the same time both for their digital (data) and analog (voice) calls. Thus, you can surf the Web even as you talk on the phone.

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Q: Can I connect more than one computer to DSL?
A: Yes. The beauty of a DSL connection is that you can connect multiple computers to the Internet with only one connection. You will need to purchase some extra hardware to make this work. Our technicians recommend that you choose a router/switch that will allow you to connect multiple computers via an ethernet interface. The router will also provide some "firewall" protection in addition to functioning as a device to connect you PCs to share the Internet, files and printers. If you need assistance with your computer networking project, please contact our office for equipment pricing and installation.

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Q: What's a firewall? Do I need one?
A: When you use an always-on service like DSL you do need to be more concerned about hackers and the security vulnerabilities present with file sharing. A firewall is a piece of hardware or software program you install on your computer that will prevent hackers from accessing your important personal data. Our technicians recommend that you have some sort of firewall device installed, whether it's a hardware firewall/router or software. You can pick up firewall software at most electronics stores or even order it online. Our motto is that you can never be too safe when it come to protecting your personal data.

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