What is Naked ADSL?

The advantage of Naked ADSL versus a traditional ADSL or ADSL2+ Internet service is that you don't need a phone number attached to your line in order to get the service

Naked ADSL (or Naked DSL) is a term that refers to an ADSL service that can be installed on a phone line that doesn't have an active phone number attached to it. It's a service that's particularly worthwhile for anyone who does not use their landline to make phone calls, and also for anyone who uses voice over IP (VoIP) service (like Skype) instead of a regular landline to make phone calls.

The advantage of Naked ADSL versus a traditional ADSL or ADSL2+ Internet service is that you don't need a phone number attached to your line in order to get the service, which means you don't have to pay line rental to Telstra. A rental fee for the physical copper line still applies, but Internet service providers (ISPs) factor this into the pricing of their Naked ADSL plans. Naked ADSL is particularly useful if you tend to move house regularly, but it's a good service for anyone who wants to save the monthly line rental fee.

It's important that you know the downsides of Naked ADSL, particularly when it comes to emergency services. Because a Naked ADSL service does not require a phone number to be installed, it means your phone line won't be active and you won't be able to use it to make and receive normal landline phone calls. This includes 000 emergency calls. If you have a medical condition that requires regular attention, then it is best to stick with a regular ADSL or ADSL2+ broadband connection on a normal phone line so that you can make 000 calls whenever you need to.

To get Naked ADSL, you need a physical copper line coming into your home from the telephone exchange. This is referred to as a 'vacant copper pair', as it does not have a phone service on it. Furthermore, your telephone exchange needs to be able to support Naked ADSL. Basically, the only way you can find out if you can get Naked ADSL is to call your chosen ISP and ask them. ISPs can also help you if you want to switch from a standard ADSL service to Naked ADSL.

If you have just moved in to a large apartment block (which ISPs refer to as a multiple dwelling unit -- or MDU), you might have to get a phone service installed before applying for Naked ADSL. This is because the ISP cannot guarantee that a copper line exists between your unit and what they call the main distribution frame (MDF) of the apartment building (from which the copper lines go to the telephone exchange).

In terms of speed, Naked ADSL is as good as ADSL2+. It can run at speeds up to 24 megabits per second. This means you can download a three minute song off iTunes in approximately five seconds! It would take 30 seconds with a 1.5Mbps ADSL connection. However, this is a theoretical maximum. You might be able to get over 20 megabits per second if your phone line is in perfect condition and if you live very close to your telephone exchange, but typical Naked ADSL speeds are between three and 10 megabits per second.

There are download (and sometimes upload) limits associated with Naked ADSL plans. You need to decide how much data allowance you need for your monthly usage -- be it 10 gigabytes or 50 gigabytes -- and you should also check what that allowance includes. In some instances it also includes upload data in addition to download data, which can quickly deplete your quota if you regularly use YouTube to upload videos, for example. Other things you should look at when selecting a plan are whether there are peak and off-peak times (and what those times are) and whether you incur charges if you go over your quota. Most ISPs slow you down (to around 64 kilobits per second) when you exceed your quota.

To use Naked ADSL, you need an ADSL modem that can handle ADSL2+ speeds. You can get either a USB-based modem or an Ethernet-based modem. USB-based modems plug in to a USB port on your computer, while Ethernet-based modems require a networking (Ethernet) port.

If you want to share your Naked ADSL connection with two or more computers in your household, then you are better off getting an all-in-one ADSL modem, which has a built-in router and wireless access point. This type of all-in-one device will let you plug in up to four computers through their networking (Ethernet) ports, and will also allow laptops to use the Internet wirelessly.

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Elias Plastiras
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