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The Internet Revolution: ADSL Broadband Internet Access

Aug 18, 2007
Today is the age of the information and the Internet has become the one stop shop for all kinds of information. Consumers are finicky and they want information fast. ADSL broadband connections can provide consumers with high-speed, secure and reliable Internet access.

What is ADSL?
ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. These serve to provide connections between the home or office telephone and computers to the local telephone exchange. In ADSL type of connection, the upstream bandwidth is different from the downstream bandwidth, because of which it gets its name Asymmetric. ADSL services are great because they allow a person to use the telephone at the same time while also being connected to the Internet - something usually not possible with Dial-up connections. Also ADSL connections are always available, unlike Dial-up connections where you need to dial to get connected. However, one drawback is that ADSL services are usually costlier than their Dial-up counterparts.

How to connect?
All you need is an ADSL modem which can come with either a USB or an Ethernet connection. For a USB ADSL modem, your PC needs to have a USB port for this and for an ADSL modem with Ethernet connection, your PC needs to have an Ethernet card.

You need the following equipment to be connected via ADSL:
* An ADSL telephone line
* ADSL Internet access package (provided by all ISPs)
* ADSL modem (available from any local shop that deals with such parts)

What's the bandwidth I get?
The bandwidth will depend on 3 things:
* Speed of the ADSL telephone line (usually the maximum upstream speed is 256 Kbps and 512 Kbps downstream)
* Crosstalks between the local telephone exchange and home or office phone can affect the speed
* Any blockages on the path to the server from where you're downloading will also affect speed

ADSL services in Africa
ADSL broadband internet access in Africa has had humble beginnings. While the rest of the developed world has been steadily enjoying the benefits of ADSL connectivity, in Africa it's still fairly nascent. For example, in 2001, there was far more IP bandwidth of 1.3 Gbit/s available to 450000 people of Luxembourg as compared to almost 820 million people of Africa (just around 1.2 Gbit/s). In fact, from an overall perspective, less than 6% of Africans get to have access to any kind of telecommunications, thereby making it harder for the Internet to reach the people of Africa.

However, the last couple of years have seen a surge in the number of ISPs, especially with more developments in infrastructure related issues. These ISPs provide capped and uncapped ADSL services, free email addresses, anti virus software for emails, webspace for one's website etc. among many other services.

How to choose an Internet connection?
The choice between Dial-up, ADSL and wireless connectivity is purely personal. It depends on the cost, the bandwidth, the speed offered as well as security, downtime issues and latency as well. However ADSL broadband internet access remains the firm favorite today because of the high speed, always-on connectivity and the ability to use the telephone even with the Internet connected.
About the Author
Gary Terrazas is an online marketing consultant who promotes his clients websites like Align Africa - Broadband ADSL online through industry specific articles
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