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.