Gartner Research

Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (DSLAM): An Overview

Published: 09 August 2001

ID: G00100051

Analyst(s): Patrick A. Worms


A Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Access Multiplexer, also referred to as a DSLAM, is a networking device installed at a telephone company's central office location. It provides the digital communications from a customer's premise equipment--DSL modems or DSL routers--to the provider's central office site via digital subscriber line technology over existing standard telephone twisted-pair copper wiring. DSLAMs can be used to support many of the variations of DSL technologies, such as Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), G.Lite, Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL), High Bit Rate Digital Subscriber Line 2 (HDSL2), Single Pair High Bit Rate Digital Subscriber Line (SHDSL), and ISDN Digital Subscriber Line (IDSL). DSLAMs are most commonly used to provide high-speed Internet access service; however, they can also be used to provide voice and video service. DSLAMs not only provide the central office connection for the customer's digital subscriber line, but they also perform the aggregation of numerous customer digital subscriber lines into some combination of asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), frame relay, or Internet Protocol (IP) links to a provider's high-speed communication backbone.

Table Of Contents
  • Technology Basics
    • DSL and DSLAM Equipment and Configuration
    • DSL Variants
    • ADSL—The Workhorse of xDSL
  • Technology Analysis
    • Business Use
    • Benefits and Risks
    • Standards
    • Selection Guidelines
  • Technology Leaders
  • Technology Alternatives
  • Insight

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