VDSL (Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line) is another popular type of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) Internet connection. As its name suggests, it allows a higher transfer rate than ADSL. Let’s see how it works.

In the United States, ADSL is popularly known simply as “DSL,” which is a misnomer, since VDSL is also a type of DSL connection. Differently from ADSL, VDSL also allows the transmission of TV signals, so to the end user, VDSL is more similar to (and competes with) the cable TV system. Another characteristic that puts this system closer to the cable TV system is the use of fiber optics outside the service provider’s building, as we will see. In the U.S., popular VDSL networks include AT&T’s “U-verse.”

On DSL technologies, the limiting factor for speed is the length and quality of the cables used by the phone company, since it uses regular phone cables (twisted copper pair). VDSL solves this problem by reducing the length of the standard cable by installing an optical node closer to the user’s home, and the connection between this optical node and the service provider is done through fiber optics, while the connection between the node and the user’s home is done using standard telephone wires. This is exactly the same idea used by the cable TV, except that cable TV uses coaxial cables instead of telephone wires.

VDSL goes a step further, and allows the optical node to be installed closer to the user’s point of installation, shortening the regular telephone wires even more, which allows higher speed rates. VDSL even allows fiber optics to be delivered directly to the user’s home.

Depending where the optical node is located, a VDSL network can be classified as:

  • FTTN (Fiber To The Node): The optical node is installed in the user’s neighborhood, similarly to what happens with cable TV
  • FTTC (Fiber To The Curb): The optical node goes up to the curb of the user’s building
  • FTTB (Fiber To The Building): The fiber optics enters the user’s building, but regular cable is used to connect the user’s apartment to the node
  • FTTH (Fiber To The Home): The fiber optics enters the user’s home, and no regular telephone wire is used

Currently, there are two types of VDSL connection, VDSL and VDSL2. See table below. Currently, when we say “VDSL”, we are actually referring to “VDSL2.”

Name Standard Maximum Download Maximum Upload Bandwidth
VDSL G.993.1 55 Mbps 15 Mbps 12 MHz
VDSL2 G.993.2 Varies* Varies* 8.8 MHz, 12 MHz, 17 MHz or 30 MHz

* See next page.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.