DSL provides a convenient option for those that want to use an existing telephone line to access the Internet. The copper wire of DSL limits the maximum throughput you can get out of your network. However, provided you live close enough to the phone company to get a fast enough connection, streaming most types of video shouldn't pose a problem.
According to Adobe, you should have a minimum bit rate of 48Kbps and up to 24Mbps to stream live HD video. However, in most cases you won't need to stream live video and your media player or browser can catch the data ahead of time to prevent interruptions. For live HD videos, DSL won't provide fast enough speeds unless you live right next to the telephone company's central hub.
While cable modems generally deliver faster speeds than a DSL connection, the overall consistency of a DSL connection may make it better for streaming audio and video. Since audio and video players buffer based on the current estimated rate of network throughput, a DSL connection can provide a steadier connection than cable. DSL modems don't slow down depending on how much your neighbors use the Internet. DSL can make it possible to view audio and video with fewer interruptions.
DSL uses the wiring from your telephone company to deliver a signal over your telephone line. The maximum output for DSL varies, but due of the nature of the line, the speeds generally run slower than fiber-optic cables. The distance from your house to the phone company's hub also plays a major role in the speed. Homes closer to the hub experience faster speeds than those further away. However, DSL usually provides sufficient bandwidth for streaming. DSL speeds vary radically and can come in as low as 1Mbps for homes far from the central phone company and up to 24Mbps with ADSL2+ standards.
Upload speeds run significantly slower than download speeds when using a DSL connection. Since streaming relies mostly on the download speed, the upload speed won't affect your streaming ability. Maximum upload speeds on ADSL 2+ top out at 1Mbps. The upload speed only affects your ability to send data from your computer, such as sending an email or uploading a video. Since the copper wires used in telephone lines can only sustain a certain amount of bandwidth, the download speeds get maximized to provide a better streaming and Internet experience in general.
Your router plays an essential role in the reliability of streaming. A direct connection via an Ethernet cable to the modem shouldn't pose any problems. However, if you use a router to create a Wi-Fi network, you need to make sure you have a router cable of transmitting the appropriate speeds. A 802.11n or 802.11ac router can significantly increase the effectiveness of your network connection over older 802.11g routers. Keep the router away from cordless phones, microwaves and other sources of interference such as metal or brick walls that can block the signal.
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