Telkom’s DSL: why you can’t get maximum speeds

Telkom CTO Alphonzo Samuels recently discussed the company’s technology roadmap with investors, which included an overview of the company’s ADSL and VDSL services.

Samuels explained that the maximum speed of a DSL service is influenced by the copper quality/thickness and its length.

“The thickness of the copper cable determines the signal transmission loss per km, thus impacting on the maximum attainable speed for a given distance,” said Samuels.

The maximum attainable speed using DSL technologies also decreases as the length of the copper increases.

Many Telkom DSL customers wondered why they could only get a maximum speed of a few Mbps when their exchange is 10Mbps or even 40Mbps enabled.

The maximum speed is a product of three main factors: the quality/thickness of the copper, the length of the copper (distance from the exchange/MSAN), and the technology used.

The following graph and table provide an overview of the maximum DSL speeds attainable, related to distance and technology.

DSL speed and copper length graph
DSL speed and copper length graph
DSL speed and copper length graph
DSL speed and copper length graph

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Telkom’s DSL: why you can’t get maximum speeds