Setting Up a DSL Connection

To get DSL for your home or business, you have to contact a DSL provider. In addition to your phone company, there are many other DSL providers. No matter who provides the DSL service, some work has to be done at your central office—the place where your phone lines connect to the rest of the phone network. The work involves connecting your phone line to equipment that can work with the DSL modem at your home or office. The central office equipment and the DSL modem at your location can then do whatever magic is needed to send and receive digital data over your phone line.

Because of the need to set up your line at the central office, it takes some time after you place an order to get your line ready for DSL.

The first step for you is to check out the DSL providers who provide service and see if you can actually get the service. Because DSL can work only over certain distances—typically less than 2.5 miles—between your location and the central office, you have to check to see if you are within that distance limit. Contact your phone company to verify this. You may be able to check this on the Web. Try typing into Google ( the words DSL, availability, and your local phone company's name. You should get a website where you can type in your phone number and learn if DSL is available for your number.

If DSL is available, you can look for the types of service —ADSL versus SDSL —and the pricing. The price depends on the download and upload speeds you want. Sometimes phone companies offer a simple residential DSL that's basically the G.lite form of ADSL with 1,500/128 speed rating — meaning that you can download at 1,500 Kbps and upload at 128 Kbps. Of course, these are the maximums, and your mileage may vary.

After selecting the type of DSL service and provider, you can place an order and have the provider install the necessary equipment at your home or office. Figure 13-2 shows a sample connection diagram for typical residential DSL.

DSL Modem

DSL Modem

Figure 13-2: Typical Residential DSL Connection.

Here are some key points to note in Figure 13-2:

♦ Connect your DSL modem's data connection to the phone jack on a wall plate.

♦ Connect the DSL modem's Ethernet connection to the Ethernet card on your PC.

♦ When you connect other telephones or fax machines on the same phone line, install a microfilter between the wall plate and each of these devices.

insider Because the same phone line carries both voice signals and DSL data, you need the insight microfilters to protect the DSL data from possible interference. You can buy them at electronic stores or from the DSL provider.

When you connect your Linux PC to the Internet using DSL, the connection is always on and there is more potential for outsiders to break into the PC. You should make sure that the Linux firewall is enabled. To configure the firewall settings, select Desktop O System Settings O Security Level and Firewall from the GNOME desktop.

There is another way to protect your Linux system from intruders and, as an added bonus, share the high-speed connection with other PCs in a local area network (LAN). To do this you need a router that can perform network address translation (NAT). The NAT router translates private Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from an internal LAN into a single public IP address and makes it possible for all the internal PCs to access the Internet. If you use a NAT router, be sure to change the administrator password from the default password after you install the router.

If you also want to set up a local area network, you need an Ethernet hub to connect the other PCs to the network. Figure 13-3 shows a typical setup that connects a LAN to the Internet through a NAT router and a DSL modem.

Here are the points to note when setting up a connection like the one shown in Figure 13-3:

♦ You need a NAT router with two 10Base-T Ethernet ports (the 10Base-T port looks like a large phone jack, also known as RJ-45 jack). Typically one Ethernet port is labeled Internet (or External or WAN for Wide Area Network) and the other one is labeled Local or LAN (for Local Area Network).

♦ You also need an Ethernet hub. For a small home network, you can buy a 4- or 8-port Ethernet hub. Basically, you want a hub with as many ports as the number of PCs you want to connect to your LAN.

♦ Connect the Ethernet port of the DSL modem to the Internet port of the NAT router using a 10Base-T Ethernet cable (these look like phone wires with bigger RJ-45 jacks and are often labeled Category 5 or Cat 5 wire).

♦ Connect the Local Ethernet port of the NAT router to one of the ports on the Ethernet hub using a 10Base-T Ethernet cable.

♦ Now connect each of the PCs to the Ethernet hub. Of course, you must have an Ethernet card installed in each PC.

Phone Jack

Phone Jack

Figure 13-3: Connecting a LAN to the Internet through a NAT Router and DSL Modem.

PCs in a local area network (LAN). Each PC must have a 10-BASE-T Ethernet card.

Figure 13-3: Connecting a LAN to the Internet through a NAT Router and DSL Modem.

insider You can also buy a NAT router with a built-in 4- or 8-port Ethernet hub. With a com-insight bined router/hub, you need only one box to set up a LAN and connect it to the Internet with a DSL modem. These boxes are typically sold under the name Cable/DSL router because they work with both DSL and cable modem. You can even get an integrated DSL modem, NAT router, and hub —all in one box.

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