The speed and accessibility of the Internet has greatly increased due in no small part to DSL technology. Only cable can claim faster speeds in the consumer market, and not in all circumstances. User can now access the Internet at incredible speeds at affordable prices that in the recent past would have simply been impossible. As is often the case, the more advanced a technology becomes, the more easily it breaks down. Although a great Internet service, DSL is subject to this problem as well. It doesn’t take a great deal to cause a serious DSL slowdown, and they can be difficult to fix. When dial up Internet access was the only Internet service available, slowdowns were less obvious. Since everything was equally slow it would usually take a dropped connection before a dial-up users perceived a problem. Now customers are used to a higher level of service, and slowdowns can be painfully obvious. The most common areas where DSL Internet access slowdowns occur are the phone line and the computer. Phone Line Slowdowns: Distance from the local phone company exchange is a factor in how fast a DSL connection can get. The further away a user is, the lower the transfer rate. Although there are signal amplifiers and filters that can mitigate this problem, it has not completely gone away. It is possible to be so far away from the exchange that service is impossible. It seems now that the direct line that feeds a users house is more often a DSL Internet issue in an area where access is available. Load coils, resistive crosses, and line taps can all create line noise. Line noise will slow a DSL connection, if not prevent a connection all together. The consumer can do little to correct most line noise, and it should e recommended that the user’s phone company be notified and request a line test. FCC regulations require a certain level of line quality, and is that is not met it is the phone company’s responsibility to fix this problem. External devices can also cause line noise. Phones, televisions, fax machines and other devices can cause disruptions in DSL service. Although these devices create only a small amount of noise, it is cumulative. If one of these devices is defective or old the noise can get bad fast. If you are having trouble with a DSL connection and believe it might be noise from external devices, unplug everything from the phone lines except the DSL modem and try your download speeds. Be sure to use the line filters that came with the DSL modem, as these are designed to help decrease line noise. Computer Issues The computer itself is the most likely problem area of any DSL connection. Hardware and software configurations are limitless, and among them are set ups that simply wont work. Add the possibility of spyware, viruses and worms and you have a multitude of possible issues. It is likely that very old computers cannot process information at the speeds DSL connections can serve it up. This can really slowdown a fast download, and cause a severe bottleneck. This can be identified by the severe slowing down of all computer processes when downloading files. Worms, viruses, and spyware cab all slow down a DSL Internet connection. This problem can be easily fixed with a good anti-virus product like Norton or McAfee. Both of these packages have Auto-Protect features that scan anything stored on the computer. Although Auto-Protect can cause slight slowdowns, it is well worth it.