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Short for asymmetric digital subscriber line, ADSL is a type of DSL broadband communications technology used for connecting to the Internet. ADSL allows more data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines (POTS), when compared to traditional modem lines. A special filter, called a microfilter, is installed on a subscriber's telephone line to allow both ADSL and regular voice (telephone) services to be used at the same time. ADSL requires a special ADSL modem and subscribers must be in close geographical locations to the provider's central office to receive ADSL service. Typically this distance is within a radius of 2 to 2.5 miles. ADSL supports data rates of from 1.5 to 9 Mbps when receiving data (known as the downstream rate) and from 16 to 640 Kbps when sending data (known as the upstream rate).

See Types of Internet Connections in Webopedia's Quick Reference section.
Also see Cable vs. DSL in Webopedia's "Did You Know...?" section.

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