DSL at Home … Are You Ready?

Can you afford DSL service at home? Is it available? Is it reliable?  Will it interfere with your telephone service? Can hackers attack your home computer?

Asynchronous DSL (ADSL) is available from between $39.95/ month to $49.95/ month plus up-front equipment and installation fees.  If you are paying $20 / mo for an internet account now and you have a second phone line costing $25 / mo that is primarily used for your computer, the decision to switch is a no-brainer.  Your connection speed will go from 56k (really about 35k) to a maximum download speed of 768k.

You can get DSL if your home is within 17,500 feet of an Ameritech central office, the wiring between passes a test, and a backbone service provider (Covad, Rhythms, or Ameritech) offers the service in your area. NorthPoint, another major backbone provider, is no longer an option as they went bust a couple of months ago leaving 200,000 businesses and countless households stranded. Our preference is to use a provider that uses Covad as the backbone, such as Prodigy or Aplus.net.  If you prefer to use a local provider, try APK.net or GWIS.com.  To see if your home qualifies, visit Covad’s, Rhythms, or Ameritech’s web site.

DSL uses your existing telephone line coming into your home.  To be more precise, DSL uses the outside of the cable while your telephone calls use the inside.  DSL does not interfere with your telephone service if you plug small filters (provided) between the wall jacks and telephones.  DSL reliability is all over the board.  We’ve seen many sites experience no problems and others experience many. Make sure that the ISP providing your DSL service also will provide you with a dial-up account as backup or when you are traveling.

To be safe from hackers it is best to either install a personal firewall as supplied or recommended by your provider or to install a router behind your DSL modem.  For about $125 you can purchase a NetGear RT314 router at CompUSA that utilizes “NAT” which hides your internal IP addresses from the outside world.  Another big benefit of this device is that you can share the DSL line with multiple family members simultaneously if your home has more than one computer!              



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