— 3 —
The “ABCs” of ADSL Service Installation
Digital subscriber line (DSL) is a generic term used todescribe a wide range of data transmission technologies usingstandard copper telephone wiring (i.e., “last mile” localloops). Generally, DSL can be classified as either asymmetricor symmetric. Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) yields higher datathroughput downstream (from the network to the end user)than upstream. Symmetric DSL (SDSL), on the other hand,provides the same transfer rate in both directions, making itmore suitable for applications like business networks, Webservers, and users that transmit and receive data in roughlyequal amounts.DSL services commonly deployed in the U.S. today includeADSL, SDSL, HDSL (High bit-rate symmetric DSL), andIDSL — a hybrid of DSL and ISDN (Integrated ServicesDigital Network). Table 1 summarizes the most commonDSL variations in use today.
Ultimately, the ability to provide DSL service to a subscriber,as well as the quality and maximum data rate of the service, isdependent on the condition of the copper loop and the spectralcompatibility with other services carried in the wire bundle.Critical factors affecting the loop’s suitability are line balanceand loading. Voice-grade repeaters and load coils canseverely degrade transmission characteristics of highfrequency DSL signals, putting additional restrictions on looplength, bridged taps, and spectral compatibility with otherservices in the wire bundle.
A primary limitation for DSL service is cable propagationloss, which can reduce the maximum bit rate. Propagationloss varies unpredictably as a function of frequency, and istypically caused by poor splices, low-quality drop cable, orwater ingress.
Crosstalk or Metallic Noise
Crosstalk or metallic noise consists of signals that are coupledto the DSL signal on the intended service pair. The sourcemay be other pairs in the binder group or even pairs inadjacent binder groups. Ideally, if capacitances are perfectlybalanced between each wire in the pair and the rest of thecable, all disturbingsignals will coupleequally and theresulting signal willbe zero. Ultimatelythough, some signalbleed occurs, andthe amount of crosstalk increasesas a function of higher frequency.
Table 1: Prevailing DSL Technologies
G.Lite or “splitterless” ADSL (asymmetric)
DSL ServiceSpeed(s)Max. LoopLength (ft)Notes
1 to 1.5 Mbps downstream,64 to 384 Kbps upstream18,000Based on carrierless amplitude phase (CAP) encoding.G.DMT or “full-rate” ADSL (asymmetric)0.5 to 8 Mbps downstream,64 to 800 Kbps upstream18,000Based on discrete multitone (DMT) encoding. Requires a“splitter” at customer premises to separate data and voice traffic.RADSL (rate-adaptiveasymmetric DSL)0.6 to 7 Mbps downstream,128 to 1024 Kbps upstream25,000Same bandwidth as ADSL. Adjusts speed on the fly to matchline quality, like an analog modem.HDSL (high bit-rateDSL, symmetric)768 to 1.5 Mbps,(2 Mbps with three lines)12,000Requires two wire pairs. Often used as an alternative to T1service. Longer distances can be supported with a signal repeater.SDSL(symmetric DSL)384 to 768 Kbps10,000The forerunner to HDSL-2. Common configurations include784 Kbps (2B1Q line coding) and 400 Kbps (CAP line coding).HDSL-2(symmetric)1.5 - 2 Mbps12,000The same performance as HDSL, but uses a single phone line.Longer distances can be supported with a signal repeater.IDSL (ISDNDSL, symmetric)144 Kbps18,000Uses the same 2B1Q line coding as ISDN. Bypasses thecongested phone network — a big plus. Can handle distancesup to 30,000 feet with signal repeaters.