..:: maxDSL Broadband
You are probably viewing this page after trying to find out what maxDSL Broadband is all about, chances are you've already heard the name maxDSL mentioned, but not quite sure what it means. Put simply, maxDSL is all about getting the "max"-imum out of your "DSL" Broadband connection, while maintaining a stable connection. This means obtaining the fastest Broadband speed available to you using the current UK telephone network supplied by BT -Wholesale.
At the moment (pre April 2006) you are probably accessing the internet with a ADSL Broadband connection with the a download speed of 512kbit, 1Mbit or 2Mbit. This is really because ADSL Broadband in the UK hasn't changed much since it was introduced a few years ago. BT Wholesale (The division of BT that builds and maintains the UK ADSL network) is still learning about the ADSL Broadband configuration. By this I mean that we are restricted to the three speeds of connection mentioned earlier. 512kbit, 1Mbit and 2Mbit. These speeds are determined from certain tests made of your phone line, and then deciding (or guessing) what the highest speed you can get a stable connection at. This method is widely criticised as many users have been able to force orders through with their ISP to obtain a faster speed of say 2Mbit when the BT would say that only a 512kbit connection is reliable. And in some cases users forcing there connection to the higher speed have had no problems. While others experience loss of service (disconnections) on a regular basis.
maxDSL and reliable connections
In 2005 BT extended the reach of ADSL Broadband, which meant that after trials of testing users ADSL Broadband connections over longer distances and found them to be reliable, they moved their goal posts as to what levels were acceptable for obtaining stable connections. Although good news for many, who were restricted to lower speeds due to the cut-off marks, others saw their speeds increase but at the same time inherited an unstable connection. Sadly many users pointed the finger at their Internet Service Providers (ISP's) for not providing a suitable service, and why shouldn't they? Well because it's no then ISP's fault. It's all about the quality of your phone line and how well it can cope with transferring larger amounts of data across it. In effect it's down the BT telephone network. Sadly it seems then that although testing the extended reach, BT got it a bit wrong and some customers were left unhappy and in some cases were charged for having to downgraded their connections to slower speeds just to make them stable.
So what's all this got to do with maxDSL then? Quite simply, maxDSL removes those goal posts that BT previously had in place which were used as guidelines as to how fast a connection could run reliably. With maxDSL the speeds are set automatically to the fastest stable speed for each and every phone line. This should hopefully mean that if you find your connection more stable as your phone line will be set to a maximum speed given your phone line stats (Noise Margin) as opposed to guessing. So if your phone line isn't quite stable at 2Mbit you may find that your ADSL Broadband connection will connect at 1.5Mbit, which is found to be more stable, while giving you higher than 1Mbit speeds. Sadly this may mean the odd disconnection at times (Difficult to say before the maxDSL service is switched on and people start using it). The reason for this is that the equipment at your telephone exchange will be constantly monitoring the quality of your connection, not actually reading the data transferred, just monitoring the line for excessive noise. It is well known that the quality of phone lines drops overnight, due to all sorts of radio interference, and sadly this may mean that when you wake up in the morning you find your maxDSL Connection has re-connected through the night at a lower speed that when you went to sleep. But it's all in the interest of keeping a stable connection. As mentioned previously it is unclear if this type disconnection will occur. Hopefully the systems at your local telephone exchange will learn your phone line and adapt itself accordingly giving your the fastest speed possible giving reliability highest priority.
maxDSL and more speed!!
Quite possibly the only real factor about maxDSL that people care about is the increase in speed. Now only will their phone line connect at the fastest stable speed, but 2Mbit will no longer be the upper limit. When maxDSL is enabled the maximum Download speed will be increased to 8Mbit! While upload speeds will be increased to 398kbit for residential customers and 750kbit for business customers! (Currently 256kbit) these speeds are dependant on your phone line stats though. But at the very least you should see some increase. Things shouldn't get slower..
Now before you starting thinking "I can't wait" not everyone will get 8Mbit speeds. In fact it's thought on a small percentage of people will be able to receive 8Mbit speeds. This is due to 8Mbit pushing the limits of the current ADSL Service that BT -Wholesale provide. However it is considered that the majority of people will be able to receive between 5Mbit and 7Mbit speeds with most people being able to receive 2Mbit and more. Not trying to dilute any hopes of 8Mbit, but just take those adverts for "High Speed 8Mbit" connections with a pinch of salt. Those ads carry a disclaimer which means the speeds are dependant on the quality of your phone line and to a certain extent length of line from telephone exchange.
Will you need to do anything in order to get your line maxDSL enabled? Hopefully not. It may be worth checking with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) however many ISP's will be placing orders for you line to be upgraded to maxDSL without you having to lift a finger. Orders cannot be placed with BT until after the 31st March 2006, at which point BT will have a heck of a lot of orders to go through.. Which early estimates say could take months. before all upgrade order are complete. Hopefully your ISP won't charge you for the upgrade it should happen automatically over time and be free of charge to you, but it may be worth checking. At least if they do threaten to charge you they should ask you before carrying out any work to get your line upgraded.
If your modem/router provides you with appropriate line stats, you can use the following websites to give you and idea what speeds you can expect from maxDSL on your line:
ADSL Line Speed Calculator - ADSL maximum line speed estimator
Max Speed Tool - Find your line stats and shove them into thsi site to find your theoretical maximum speed
BBMax - Nice looking speeds tester designed for max DSL ( I like this one)
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