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What role will DSL technology play in telecommuting?

DSL (which stands for Digital Subscriber Line) is one of the latest technologies that can bring high-speed access to the home. There are various forms of DSL, but they all allow someone working at home to use the existing copper wiring that comes into and is within the home for much faster digital access. DSL has been described as the "next ISDN" in the sense that it provides digital access and higher bandwidth to the home without the need to install new wiring.

But as with the early days of ISDN - and in some places, still today - DSL is only available in limited areas. This is changing as the carriers start to upgrade their equipment and make other changes to enable DSL use, but the coverage is very spotty. Also, there is a distance limitation: the home must be within approximately three miles from the local central office of the carrier, or else the digital signal will degrade. DSL, like cable modems, will be very useful and cost-effective for users who need the speed - but there is likely to be lots of frustration while everyone waits for the carriers to bring it into more neighborhoods.

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