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xDSL and Linux: Go Speed Racer!

Don't Let the Man Keep You Down: Grab the Power of DSL for Linux

January 25, 2000

Everyone loves a speedy Internet connection, which pushed the telco industry into offering ever-faster Internet access. Today, an affordable and fast access method for business, small offices and home users is xDSL.

xDSL comes in many different forms and speeds. In this article, we'll be discussing the commonly used ADSL and how it works with Linux. Typically, xDSL providers break down their offering into the following basic categories, going from high-end business use to home/individual consumers:

  • VDSL Very high Digital Subscriber Line -- 13 Mbps-52 Mbps/1.5 Mbps- 2.3 Mbps.
  • HDSL High-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line -- 1.5 Mbps/1.5 Mbps (4 Wire).
  • SDSL Single-line Digital Subscriber Line -- 1.5 Mbps/1.5 Mbps (2 Wire).
  • UDSL Universal Digital Subscriber Line -- 1.0 Mbps-384 kbps/384 kbps-128 kbps (no splitter required for this line type). This has been referred to as DSL-Lite.
  • ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line -- 1.5 Mbps-384 kbps/384-128 kbps.
  • RADSL Rate Adaptive Digital Subscriber Line -- 384 kbps/128 kbps.

In Dallas, where I live, Southwestern Bell has been very easy going when it comes to its customers using Linux and ADSL. Granted, Dallas is the hub of much activity in technology and second only to Silicon Valley in the number of Internet-related companies. The very strong telco presence in Dallas is also a boon and many here use Linux.

This has not always been the case when it comes to other telcos. A glimpse at the Bellsouth Web page reveals the statement that either a Mac machine or Windows is required, but there's no mention of Linux. A short trip to Slashdot.org reveals that there have been issues of telcos refusing to install ADSL without Windows or Macintosh machines. One can find "creative" ways of getting around this, such as dual booting a machine temporarily into Windows when the service tech comes to visit.

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