What is DSL internet? How can DSL internet service work for your internet needs? Here's a breakdown of DSL internet service.
What is DSL?
On average, we spend over 6.5 hours a day on the internet. For many, it's not uncommon to be digitally connected for the entire day.
For this reason, it's very important that you choose the right type of internet, as well as the right internet service provider (ISP). Most Americans choose to get DSL, which is a type of high-speed connection that's available in many parts of the country.
But exactly what is DSL? Is it a good choice for you? And what are the ISPs that are near you anyway?
In this article, we'll answer all your important questions so shopping for the best internet services is a cinch.
What Is DSL?
What is DSL internet?
Before we can answer that, let's first answer this question: what does "DSL" stand for? "DSL" stands for "digital subscriber line." With that out of the way, we can tackle what exactly this means.
DSL internet is where you get high speed internet through the use of telephone wires. You need a modem to connect to, and if you want wireless service, you'll have to also get a router to broadcast the signal in your house.
For most people, DSL is a great internet choice since it offers pretty decent speeds, lots of coverage around the US, and fair prices in most places. However, there are some places where there is no DSL service, which means you'll have to consider some alternatives (more on that later).
How Does DSL Internet Work?
DSL internet signals are transmitted through telephone wires. This means it uses a copper wire connection, which has been around since the advent of the telephone. This means it's a very reliable method of transmitting signals for telecommunications.
DSL takes advantage of unused telephone wires, which is what gives it a leg up when compared to the old-fashioned dial-up internet. If you've previously used it before, you'll know that whenever you need to get online, the phone line is tied up, which means both incoming and outgoing calls aren't possible. However, with DSL, it uses a separate telephone line, which means you're still free to use the landline whenever you please.
DSL Internet Compared to Other Types of Internet
Now you have a basic understanding of what DSL internet is and how it works. But how does it compare to other types of internet?
In general, your other choices include cable, fixed wireless, satellite, and fiber optic internet. Read on to find out more about how good these are in relation to DSL.
Cable internet is the biggest contender for DSL internet. They get similar speeds, plus they both have wide coverage across the US.
Like with DSL, you need to use a modem to receive cable internet signals. This is attached to the cable wires in your home, which also provide cable TV services. Because of this, you'll usually see these services bundled together from the same provider.
Cable wires need to already be laid by the ISP; otherwise, it can be an investment that's not worth it for them. This is why you won't find cable coverage in some more rural areas. However, for the most part, expect to find cable internet service in the majority of cities.
Fixed Wireless Internet
Unfortunately, you won't always find DSL and cable internet everywhere you go. In that case, you might have to resort to using fixed wireless internet.
This service broadcasts internet signals through radiowaves, which means you don't have to use a modem or router. All you have to do is connect wirelessly, and you're set!
The downside to this is service can be spotty, especially if bad winds or storms go through your town. In addition, speeds won't be as fast or stable just because they're not through a wired connection.
But as we've said, you may have no choice in the matter if you live in a rural area. However, you might have satellite internet as an alternative.
Satellite internet is available in basically every corner of the United States, which makes it a lifesaver if you live out in the sticks. You receive an internet signal through a satellite in space, which is what gives it such great coverage.
To get satellite internet, the ISP needs to install a receiver and some equipment in your home. When you combine these installation charges with the monthly fees, it may be quite expensive for many households.
In addition, satellite internet may offer great speeds, but there are definitely much better options out there. However, it's a fantastic choice for those who live in the outskirts.
Fiber Optic Internet
Fiber optic internet offers some of the fastest internet speeds around. In fact, they can get up to 100 times the speed of cable or DSL internet!
This type of internet uses fiber optic connections, which is a bundle of wires. It's a lot more efficient than copper wires, since light can travel so quickly and reliably. This is how it gets "lightning-fast" speeds.
The main downside to fiber optic internet is it's not readily available in most parts of the country. It takes a huge investment for an ISP to install the lines, and it's not worth it in more rural areas. This is why you'll mainly find fiber optic internet in major cities.
In addition, this service is quite expensive when compared to the others. Cable and DSL should provide decent enough speeds for the average user, so you'll save a lot more money by going with those choices instead.
DSL Internet Providers
After reading the list above, you might have come to the conclusion that DSL internet is what you want for your home. In that case, you should find out about the top DSL providers so you know which companies to look out for in your area.
Below are the best ISPs for DSL in the United States.
EarthLink is the number 1 DSL provider in the country. They serve over 165 million people and provide DSL services in 31 states. You'll enjoy maximum download speeds of 100 Mbps.
The states you'll get the greatest coverage in are California, Texas, and New York. EarthLink's top areas served include Los Angeles, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Brooklyn, Miami, and New York.
With EarthLink's DSL services, you won't have any data caps. Their "HyperLink" services won't have them either.
While many other ISPs offer phone and TV services, this one doesn't. So if you're thinking of getting those subscriptions, you'll have to find another provider.
Unsurprisingly, AT&T is at the top of the list for DSL internet providers. They're a well-known brand that's served the US for many years, so you can expect to get great internet services from them.
This ISP serves over 122 million people and has coverage in 21 states. They also offer DSL speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
AT&T Internet can mainly be found in California, Texas, and Florida. The top areas served by this ISP are Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, and Miami.
AT&T does offer digital landline phone services, as well as digital TV. In fact, they're the owners of DirecTV. So you'll be able to find cost-saving bundles for all 3 services with this ISP.
Third on the list is CenturyLink. Their population covered isn't nearly as high as the other 2; they only serve 49 million people.
However, they have excellent coverage that spans 39 states. In addition, their DSL speeds are slightly faster at 140 Mbps. They also have fiber optic internet in some areas.
The main states CenturyLink serves are Arizona, Colorado, and Washington. The top cities they serve include Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, Tucson, Saint Paul, Las Vegas, and Minneapolis.
CenturyLink also has phone and digital TV services available. Bundle them together to get their "Prism TV" services.
Verizon High Speed Internet
Verizon also serves around 49 million people in the United States. They offer their DSL services across 11 states. Their internet speeds aren't as excellent; their speed tops out at 15 Mbps.
The main states you'll find Verizon High Speed Internet in are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The top cities they serve are Buffalo, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and New York.
While you can certainly enjoy DSL services with Verizon, they only offer phone services in addition to it. If you want TV services, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Frontier Communications covers a population of over 33 million and can be found in 29 states. Their DSL speeds get a maximum of 100 Mbps. They also have fiber optic internet available that's routed through Verizon Fios's lines.
This ISP mainly serves California, Connecticut, and Florida. The big cities you'll get coverage in include Long Beach, Fort Wayne, Lakeland, Durham, Rochester, Saint Petersburg, and Tampa.
If you wish to bundle TV and phone services with your internet plan, you can do so with Frontier Communications.
Windstream is an ISP that serves almost 14 million of the population. What's great is they have coverage in all 50 states and you can get speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps with their DSL services.
The main states that get great coverage from Windstream are Texas, Illinois, and Georgia. The top cities served are Lincoln, Lexington, Charlotte, Sugarland, Concord, Broken Arrow, and New York.
Like with many other ISPs, you can get digital phone and TV services. The TV service is through their partner, Dish Network. Windstream is a great choice for not only DSL in more rural areas, but also for their discounted bundles.
Consolidated Communications is formerly known as Fairpoint Communications. They serve over 4.6 million people and have a coverage area of 24 states. Their DSL speed maxes out at 200 Mbps and they also provide cable, fixed wireless, and fiber optic internet services.
You'll get the greatest coverage from Consolidated Communications if you live in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine. The top areas served by this ISP are Conroe, Katy, Roseville, Nashua, Citrus Heights, New York, and Manchester.
Consolidated Communications does have phone and TV services, which you can bundle with their DSL services. However, you may want to opt for bigger companies outside of internet for better service.
Sonic serves almost 3 million customers in the United States. Unfortunately, you'll only find coverage in 1 state: California. Their DSL internet gives you a maximum download speed of 100 Mbps.
As you'd expect, the top areas served are exclusively in this state. They include Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley, and Oakland. So if you live in Northern California, Sonic is a great DSL option.
This ISP also offers fiber internet services. In addition, you can bundle phone services with your internet package. However, they do not offer any TV services, so you'll have to choose another provider for this.
Get DSL Service for Your Home Today
Now you know the answer to the question: what is DSL? In addition, you have tons more information on how it works, as well as what the top ISPs are.
With this knowledge, you can make a better-informed decision when it comes to getting a smooth and hassle-free internet connection. The next step is to search KonectEaze's huge database of the best internet deals in your area. We'll help you save some money so you can enjoy the best DSL internet services, all without being charged an arm and a leg.
Do you want to get an excellent DSL internet connection for your household? Then start searching now. Our zip code search tool will let you look through thousands of internet plans instantly!