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Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) provides digital data transmission over the telephone lines. DSL connections are dedicated point-to-point circuits which are always connected and need no dial up. The phone line is used for transmitting both the voice and Internet data requests while keeping them separate. A DSL modem hooks up the computer to the phone line on the subscriber’s side. A DSL access multiplexer on the service provider’s side takes requests from multiple users and sends them through a single connection to the internet. There are different types of DSL services ranging in speeds from 16 kbps to 52 Mbps, for example [1, 2]:

a) High Speed DSL (HDSL) supports data rate of 1.544 Mbps over a distance of 3.6 km.

b) Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) has a range of downstream speeds depending on distance. For up to 9000, 12000, 16000, 18000 feet, the speed is 8.448, 6.312(DS2), 2.048(E1), and 1.544 (T1) Mbps respectively. The upstream speeds range from 16 kbps to 640 kbps.

c) Very High Data Rate DSL (VDSL) with downstream speeds expected to be at 12.96 (1/4 STS1), 25.82 (1/2 STS-1) and 51.84 (STS-1) Mbps for 4500, 3000 and 1000 feet of wire respectively. Upstream rates fall within a suggested range from 1.6 Mbps to 2.3 Mbps.

As the distance between the home and central office increases the data rate drops. CURRENT Group, LLC and Qwest Communications International Inc. are in the process of integrating DSL into the smart grid [3].


DSL primarily provides a backhaul for the smart grid data from homes to the utilities.

Key Technology Area: 
Integrated Communications

Sample Vendors:


(Disclaimer: This is a representative sample list of vendors which is updated frequently. The SGIC portal does not endorse any companies or products listed herein.)