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Note: This section is out of date and no longer maintained.
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The plain description.. (are you technical? you might wish to scroll down, and click tell me more right now)..

DSL is the next generation of internet access technology. A house or business with DSL has a data socket, that looks like a phone socket. DSL is a direct connection to the internet, always on.

To connect, a "DSL modem" is needed (ATU-R); DSL modems are starting to be available on the open market, but they are normally supplied by the DSL provider you choose, since DSL standards are varied, and the modem must be compatible with the equipment favored by the provider. (When talking to your provider, you may ask if they allow you to source your own equipment, for example, second-hand).

DSL modems are of three basic types: external, internal or USB. For external modems, on the back is a socket, usually marked LAN. A cable (ethernet cable) connects this to your computer, which needs an ethernet card, (known as a Network Interface Card, or NIC), such cards are available from dozens of vendors at prices as low as $20, and for this purpose, they all work the same way and are all compatible.
Many current computers, such as the iMac, come with a NIC, and socket, built-in, simplifying things still further. Unlike advanced graphics boards or other specialized hardware, even the oldest computer can accept a NIC card, as long as it has a spare slot. For internal DSL modems, or USB modems, the equipment is plugged in, and some driver software must be loaded into your computer before it can be used.


ATU-C stands for ADSL Termination Unit - Central (Office). ATU-R stands for ADSL Termination Unit - Remote. These two devices are the ADSL modems that sit on either side of the telco copper loop. In other words, the ATU-C/R are fancy words for ADSL modems. The ATU-R is a self-contained box suitable for customer use, including an AC adapter for powering. The ATU-C is packaged into Central Office type equipment.

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