ADSL broadband: The distance from the exchange

For customers with DSL and ADSL broadband connections, the distance between a property and the exchange can make all the difference.

That is because the broadband technology involved is highly distance sensitive and connection speeds for broadband will be affected as a result.

ADSL stands for asymmetric digital subscriber line – the concept of broadband via a telephone line.

Connections tend to work at a maximum distance of between 3km and 6km, although the further the distance, the slower the download speed.

Simply put, the download speed reached will decline exponentially as the distance from the exchange increases – meaning properties that are closer will receive the best connection speeds.

Understanding ADSL broadband

In a similar way to when a landline is affected by noise on the line, the same noise affects ADSL broadband by slowing down the connection.

Noise can also come from nearby electrical equipment, either in the property concerned or from those nearby.

Devices such as micro-filters can be fitted to improve the signal quality and reduce noise – broadband providers should be able to detail what options they have available.

Speeds are typically around 8MB for downloads and 1MB for uploads, although they will vary depending on distance and broadband provider, with some providers offering up to 24Mb download speeds with ADSL broadband services.

ADSL can be used alongside a telephone, making it different from dial-up where it is not possible to use a phone at the same time.

However, the signals through the wire are also affected by things like resistance, capacitance and inductance, all of which directly contribute to the potential for noise on the line.

All of these factors will have a greater effect when lines are longer, placing importance on the length of the line concerned, in other words, the distance the lines have to travel from the exchange.

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