The broadband arena is currently being contested by two technologies – DSL (digital subscriber line) and cable modems. Residential customers are the major users of cable modems, while both businesses and consumers mainly use DSL. However, the advantage of cable, speed of download, could soon be lost with the introduction of G.SHDSL – one of several new versions of DSL high-speed Internet access.
G.SHDSL could be capable of delivering data two to three times faster and over a greater distance than the earlier DSL technologies. It is already being used on a limited basis in Europe and is being considered for trial next year by some of the largest American service providers.
Until now DSL has experienced problems because signals typically degrade over distance, limiting the speed of download for remote users.
The new technology, which has been approved by the International Telecommunication Union, is a standard for DSL which is capable of speeds of 2.3mb/s or even up to 4.6mb/s. Data-transfer speeds are symmetric – in other words, information can be downloaded and uploaded at the same speed. In fact, some versions offer faster downloads than uploads.
As well as this, by using repeaters to boost the signal over distances, high-speed service will in the future be available to consumers and businesses beyond the previous three mile limit.
Some experts believe that this new technology will eventually take the place of the DSL options that are currently available in the industry. But others take the view that, despite the obvious advantages of G.SHDSL, the current ADSL standard will remain popular with residential users because of its high ‘downstream’ speed (8mb/s).
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