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Lebanon finally joins the High Speed Internet bandwagon

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

ADSL is on the road

The wait is over, ADSL is finally here. Where?
Believe it or not, after a decade, you are finally going to enjoy the Internet connection you’ve been always dreaming about. The one that relatives and friends living abroad brag about: High speed Internet access, 24/365.

Few weeks ago, Telecommunication Minister Marwan Hamade made the announcement. It was really good news, at last we can say good-bye to those huge nasty phone bills.

What it ADSL?

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line or for short ADSL is a technology that enables you to get high speed Internet over the existing telephone line. You can make/receive phone calls and surf the web at the same time. Your line will never be busy! If you don’t have a phone line and you’re planning to use the service at home, you will need to contact Ogero.

You might wonder how it is possible to move from the lazy 33.6kbps to high 128kps over the same line. Well, the answer is simple; the slow Internet connection you had was not due to a limitation in the copper wire, but in the technology that dial-up modems use. If you wish to know more about the ADSL technology, I advise you to visit Wikipedia

How to get ADSL and what are my options

In addition to a telephone line, you need to purchase a DSL modem and a filter to split voice and data signals. Don’t worry, any ISP you choose will take care of this. Although most ISPs in Lebanon are currently offering ADSL service, it will take up to four weeks to hook you up. For now, you can visit your ISP homepage and fill in an application.

Here’s a quick list of the ISPs offering ADSL


Plan Description Monthly Usage
128 Kbps 32 Kbps up/128 Kbps down 2 GBytes
256 Kbps 64 Kbps up/256 Kbps down 3 GBytes
512 Kbps 128 Kbps up/512 Kbps down 4 GBytes
1 Mbps 256 Kbps up/1 Mbps down 5 GBytes

You can choose from a range of speeds 128, 256, 512 Kbps and 1Mbps depending on your needs.
You should know that ADSL service currently operates in the following regions: Riad El Solh - Mina El Hosn - Ras Beirut - Naher Beirut - Achrafieh - Bir Hassan - Jounieh - Tripoli Mina - Saida - Zahle.
It’s bad news for you if you don’t live there, however both ISPs and Ogero promised to cover other regions in the near future.

The story without the bells and whistles

Suppose you signup for the 128k plan, what will you really get. Now that you have an ADSL connection, how long will it take to download a file with a size of 1MB file?
Before going through the calculations, let us go back to the basics.
You might already know that computers can only understand bits (binary digits) a bit can be either a 0 or a 1. A byte is a group of 8 bits; it’s used to measure the size of data.

When you talk about information/data use the term byte, 1 KB(kilobyte) = 1024 bytes (if you’re interested to know why 1024 and not 1000 click here) When talking about connection speed, bits/second is used. 1kbps = 1000 bits/second

So, let us see how long it takes to download a 1MB file over a 128k ADSL connection.

1MB = 1KB x 1024 bytes = 1024 Kbytes
Time to download = size of data / speed
Size of data = 1024Kbytes
Speed = 128Kbit/sec
Time to download (1MB file) = 1024KB x 8 (convert into bits) / 128Kbps<
Time to download (1MB file) = 64 seconds.

The same file takes more than 4mins to download over a dial-up connection (33.6kbps)
ADSL brings you a great benefit in speed.

Although you are not charged by the minute, the fact does not mean you can browse the web, download music and videos 24/24. There’s a limitation. The maximum amount of data you’re allowed to download and upload is 2GB per month (for 128kbps)

If you don’t know what download and upload means, well here’s an example to clarify the terms.
When you grab an mp3 off the Internet you’re mostly utilizing the download speed which is 128Kbps. However when you send an attachment to your friend you’re utilizing the upload speed which is 32Kbps.

Let us play again with numbers.
Suppose you’re downloading non-stop, music and videos over a 128Kbps ADSL connection, how long it takes to consume the 2GB.

Size of data = 2K x 1024 x 1024 = 2097152Kbytes
Speed = 128Kbps
Time = 2097152KB x 8 (convert into bits) / 128Kbps
Time = 131072 seconds = 36.4 hours

Yes, your 2GBs will run in less than 2 days!!


ADSL is really big news; we still have to see how fast it is going to be. If you’re a music/video download addict, 2GB of bandwidth won’t be enough for you, make sure you download with moderation.