What Is DSL internet?  What are my internet options?

What Is DSL internet? What are my internet options?

DSL internet is a digital subscriber line,and it allows you to access the internet over your phone lines. Along with cable,satellite,and ... Read More

Update February 10, 2020   02/10/2020:  

Since we published this article several years ago not much has changed.  DSL internet is still available and unfortunately the only option for many Americans who are simply looking for high speed internet for their homes. Companies like AT&T, CenturyLink and Earthlink still offer DSL service.  Many customers are stranded looking for options to be able to stream their favorite shows from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon amongst other sources.  Since the latest speed test done across the country show that DSL only has the ability to operate at a speed of 1Mbps or less, DSL is simply not an option for today's internet user.  

There is good news for folks who are either moving to a new area looking to set up service and find DSL is one of the only options or existing DSL customer from AT&T, CenturyLink and Earthlink who are simply not getting the speed, and service they are looking for.  Viasat Satellite internet service and HughesNet satellite internet service offer speeds almost 25x higher and give many customers a truly high speed internet option.  Check out to see if you have better options in your area by using our zip code lookup tool here Zip Code Lookup Tool

DSL internet is a digital subscriber line, and it allows you to access the internet over your phone lines. Along with cable, satellite, and fiber optics, DSL is one of the four main types of connections used by internet service providers.

How Does DSL Internet Work?

Traditional phones lines are made of copper wires that carry analog signals. When you talk on a landline phone, the acoustics of your conversation are converted into analog signals that run along the phone wires. Similarly, these wires can also carry analog signals from computer to computer. However, you need a modem to convert the analog signals into digital signals. Finally, subscriber line simply refers to the fact that you subscribe or pay a monthly fee to access the line.

Can You Use the Phone With DSL?

In the early days of internet popularity, dial-up service also used phone lines to carry the internet into your home. With these old systems, however, you could not use the phone at the same time as the internet. With DSL, that has changed. The signal is split coming into your home, allowing you to access the internet and use your landline at the same time.

How Fast Is DSL Internet?

The telephone companies that offer DLS internet use digital subscriber line access multiplexers -- imagine a small building full of constantly buzzing equipment and servers. These multiplexers connect to a network to access data, and from there, the data is forwarded to individual subscribers. In most cases, to get DSL internet, you must be within a certain distance of the multiplexer, and generally, the closer you are the faster your internet service is. DSL speeds range from 128 kbps to 12 Mbps. However, in some cases, you can get DSL speeds up to 20 Mbps or even 40 Mbps — those speeds are typically only available in areas where the existing phone lines have been reinforced or bolstered with fiber optics.

Can You Bundle DSL Internet?

Generally, phone companies offer DSL. For example, AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon, and Frontier Communications all offer DSL internet as well as phone service. In most cases, if you want to have DSL and a landline, you have to get both services from the same company. However, discounts for booking multiple services is standard practice in the industry. Some DSL providers also pair with television, cell phone companies, and others to offer bundling discounts.

Where Is DSL Available?

DSL service is available around the county. However, it is not strictly available everywhere that has phone lines. As indicated above, the service can only work in areas where the phone company has invested in digital subscriber line access multiplexers and upgrading the phone lines as necessary. If DSL is offered in your area, you may want to consider it. Compare the price with other options, and then, make sure the potential internet speeds are up to your needs. For more on internet speeds, check out our post "What Internet Speed Do You Need?".