Frequently Asked Questions about DSL

Our Technical Staff compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about DSL service. Please feel free to call or e-mail us if you have any additional questions.


What is the advantage of DSL service?

DSL is currently the most cost-effective, widely available method of high-speed connection to the internet. Speeds are three to thirty times the speed obtainable with a 56K modem, and compared to other high-speed alternatives (such as T1 service), DSL is usually less (in many cases much less) expensive for the equivalent speed. DSL has no per-minute usage charges unlike business dialup modem usage.

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Does DSL service include unlimited access to the internet?

Yes.

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Is there an additional monthly charge from my local phone company for DSL service?

No (unless of course you purchase DSL service from your local phone company instead of another provider).

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Does the monthly charge include the ISP charge?

Yes.

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Where is DSL service available?

DSL service is available in most of Chicagoland, and in fact almost all metropolitan areas nationwide. Availability is continuously expanding. Contact ITS for specific availability in your area.

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What speeds are available?

DSL speeds range from 144Kbps to 1,500Kbps. The maximum speed available to your location will depend on the distance to your telephone central office, and the equipment installed in that location. Contact ITS for specific availability at your location.

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How many e-mail accounts are included with DSL service?

Business DSL plans include an unlimited number of e-mail accounts (user@megapath.net or user@speakeasy.net). For e-mail accounts using your own domain name, please see our web hosting solutions. Residential service typically provides from 2-8 accounts, depending on the ISP.

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Does DSL service provide dial-up access?

Some customers use a modem connection to their ISP from both their business and from their home. If the business ISP is changed to a DSL provider, you cannot use the same DSL account at home since DSL is specific to one location.

If you need dial-up modem access from home (or any other location), you will need to keep your current ISP, or sign up with your DSL provider for dial-up service. Some providers include a limited amount of dial-up access as a courtesy for travelers.

Alternatively, you can get a DSL account at home as well.

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If my office workstations are not networked, can I still provide DSL service to all my employees with one DSL account?

The workstations must be networked with the TCP/IP protocol on each workstation (the network may use another protocol for file sharing and other functions).

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What is required if my workstations are not already networked?

Networking existing workstations may require: installing a network cable to each workstation, installing a network adapter in each workstation, installing a network switch, and configuring the TCP/IP protocol on each workstation.

Note that while networking is necessary for sharing DSL service, networking provides many other capabilities to your workgroup - such as file, printer and FAX sharing; enhanced intraoffice communications using e-mail and/or chat features; better backup and disaster recovery capabilities; etc.

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What if my workstations are networked, but are not using the TCP/IP protocol?

A protocol is the language computers use to communicate with each other. The TPC/IP protocol must be added for communication over the Internet. For workstations using Windows, this cost is approximately $40 per workstation.

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My workstations are already networked using the TCP/IP protocol. What is the typical cost of installation of DSL service?

A typical installation cost can be estimated as follows:

connection from central office to building wire closet no charge
connection from building wire closet to office wire closet $100
router (provided by ISP) $0 - $400 (due to rebates)
router installation and configuration $0 - $400 (due to rebates)
router for ADSL or bridged service (provided by ITS) $50
router installation and configuration (provided by ITS) $75
configuration of Windows workstations $40 each

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Does DSL service provide protection from unwanted access to my workstations from the internet?

Most business DSL services include Network Address Translation, which masks your workstations' identities from the internet. This usually provides protection from unwanted access. If needed, additional security options are available.

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What is the monthly cost for DSL service?

The monthly cost is based on the DSL speed purchased. DSL for business use starts at around $69 per month, while DSL for personal use starts at around $39/month. For complete information, see our pricing for Speakeasy and MegaPath offerings.

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Can I upgrade my DSL speed at sometime in the future?

Yes, in most cases providers offers free upgrades where a higher speed is available. Upgrades that require replacement of the router may incur additional charges. Lowering your speed usually incurs a fee.

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How many users can simultaneously access the internet over DSL?

Over 250 with a Business DSL connection (to be exact, 253). With some additional adjustments, the actual number can be configured to be in the thousands, however since the bandwidth is shared by active users you will quickly max out your bandwidth.

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Can I run a Web server using a DSL line?

The SDSL plans for businesses allow a company to run Web, DNS, mail, and other types of Internet servers on the local LAN. However, realize that even though a DSL connection is much faster than a modem, it is still slow compared to most professional web hosting services which typically use several T3 or OC12 connections to the Internet. You will usually find it more cost effective to have your web site hosted by a service specializing in web hosting than to set up and run a web server in your office, and your customers will perceive your site is much faster, too.

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What is ADSL?

Asymmetrical DSL is a type of DSL that is faster downstream (downloading to your PC) than its upstream connection (uploading files or sending email). ADSL usually provides a faster downstream rate than an equivalently priced SDSL connection.

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What is SDSL?

Symmetrical DSL provides a fixed connection speed for both downstream and upstream data. Since the upstream connection is faster than ADSL, this is better for sending large files or hosting a small web server.

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What is IDSL?

IDSL is similar to SDSL in that it provides a fixed connection speed for both downstream and upstream data. IDSL can work over longer distances and is available in more areas, but is therefore limited to a connection speed of 144k.

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Who are Covad, New Edge, Allegiance, etc. and what do they do?

In virtually all cases, local companies actually install the DSL service and handle the local connection. Your ISP will still be MegaPath, Speakeasy, or ANET, and they handle all billing. The local companies wholesale their service to national ISPs, but do not work directly with consumers. You will find that virtually all DSL ISPs use at least one of these providers.

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