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Inventor of DSL Tells How He Did the “Impossible"

October 7, 2014

Send high-speed data, including video signals, over telephone wires? Impossible!  That’s what everyone thought for decades, until Internet Hall of Famer Dr. John Cioffi actually did it, by designing the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) system. His big challenges were two-fold. The technological one was to come up with a design that could adapt to the more than one billion phone lines around the world; and the other, just as significant, was to come up with partners, including his students at Stanford who provided the workforce, and an early telecom that provided the project’s funding.

DSL, the No. 1 fixed-line technique for Internet communication, is used by more than half a billion people each day – and the number is growing. Here’s what Dr. Cioffi had to say about his achievement, after the Internet Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Hong Kong earlier this year.

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