AT&T primarily uses DSL, or digital subscriber line, to connect its subscribers to the Internet. Although many use the Internet to send e-mail and for social networking, it's possible to use DSL for gaming. Lower DSL speeds support simple games while higher connection speeds can support even the largest, multiplayer online games. Understanding the speed differences will help future subscribers select the best one to suit their playing habits.
AT&T's DSL uses phone lines for Internet communications. Data is sent over the lines to a main hub, which connects the data to its final destination. Speed is measured in bytes and megabytes per second, or bps and mbps. DSL connection speeds are slowed down depending on how far away the subscriber's connection is from the central hub, the quality of phone lines or any technical issues concerning AT&T's DSL equipment. The higher DSL speed you choose, the more you pay.
Simple Online Games
The DSL Elite speed, at 6 mbps, is designed to support simple online or social network games. This speed is the highest rate offered without U-Verse. Choosing any speeds below it severely degrades game playing quality. Simple online games such as basic solitaire or chess do not rely on heavy graphics and can be run without additional software or hardware installation. They are accessible through Web interfaces often supported by large Internet browsing networks, such as Yahoo or MSN. Social network games are found on sites such as Facebook or MySpace. Typical games are turn-based strategy games that do not rely on intense graphics but encourage thinking and recruiting other friends to play. Example games include Farmville or Mafia Wars.
Complex Online Games
More complex online games should make use of Max, Max Plus or Max Turbo DSL connections, which are 12, 18 and 24 mbps, respectively. These speeds also support simple online or social networking games but may not be worth the higher service costs for only simple games. Players of massive multiplayer online (MMO) games such as World of Warcraft or Call of Duty benefit best from faster DSL connections that can support the games' rapid graphics and communications. Subscribers with multiple computer systems playing MMOs should pick the higher DSL speeds for optimal performance.
To use AT&T's DSL services, you must have phone lines that can connect to your closest AT&T DSL hub. Some support equipment is required, depending on your computer and how close the connection is to the DSL router. The latest DSL software must be installed on your PC or Mac. A DSL Gateway can serve as a wireless router for computers that won't be directly attached to the DSL connection. The DSL filter splits the phone line from the Internet connection, allowing you to use both services simultaneously.
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