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Germany Speeds Up on the Superhighway

In Germany, an end is coming to long waits for data transmission via Internet Browsers. In April, Deutsche Telekom was first with T-DSL: an ADSL-based Internet access system which is one hundred times faster than ISDN.

The service is initially only available to business clients in eight major cities. By the end of the year, private customers in 43 regions will have access.

ADSL transmission speed is faster in the direction of the client than back again. Unlike ISDN, ADSL uses the phone's entire frequency spectrum and can, in theory, transmit up to 8 megabits per second. However, according to Chip computer magazine's Thomas Pyczak, "ADSL technology gives surfers better performance, only if the web server can provide the data fast enough. You can't exclude waiting time."

Rapid data reception via cell phones is still in a developmental stage and surfing on the road will require more patience, with average transmission speed at 9.6 kilobits per second. The D2-Speedproxy tool from Mannesmann offers a solution; it transfers data in compressed form, and shortens page-loading time.

The net will only really speed up when the new GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) standard is accepted. This will initially transmit 50 kilobits and later as much as 100 kilobits a second. Deutsche Telekom and Mannesmann Mobilfunk will transfer D1 and D2 mobile nets to this technology at that time.

Mobile operator, E-plus (major shareholders: energy giants, RWE and VEBA) is only able to offer 43 kilobits per second with its HSCSD (High Speed Circuit Switched Data) technology, but it will be available earlier. Consumers will need a new terminal, as current cell phones are not suitable.

Meanwhile, Berlin's Teles AG plans to offer area coverage ADSL Internet access in Europe via Eutelsat from mid-1999. The new broad band Internet service known as skyDSL is initially scheduled for 100,000 private clients. An increase in capacity should be possible, however.

The new satellite connection will achieve transmission speeds of 2 megabits per second. A dish antenna and a skyDSL card for the PC will be needed to receive data from space. These new services will cost around DEM 100 monthly.



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