During 1997 a number of companies were independently working on versions of splitterless DSL. The theory behind splitterless DSL is that it requires no technician to come to your house to install it, making the technology easier to install for consumers, and easier to roll out for service providers. However, too many modem chipmakers were working on incompatible technologies, so Intel, Microsoft, Compaq and other PC makers rallied support for creating a single, unified standard – G.lite. In June 1999 the prospects for the rapid deployment of DSL to a mass market were given a boost when the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) voted to approve G.lite – also called Universal ADSL, and referred to as G.922.2 by the ITU – as an industry standard for ADSL.

The original ADSL standard, T1.413, incorporates a splitter in both the remote terminal and the central office. This is designed to separate the voice band from the DSL frequency, the idea being to protect both signals from interfering with each another. As a consequence, installation required the telephone company to send a worker to a subscriber’s home to install a splitter and test their telephone line.

G.lite greatly simplifies the installation process, allowing users to buy and install an ADSL modem themselves or even purchase PCs with the technology preinstalled. Besides eliminating the need to send out a technician, G.Lite also works in places where a conventional DSL modem will not. That’s because it works with Digital Loop Carrier, a digital local loop infrastructure for connecting customers introduced to enhance phone networks in the 1980s. Conventional DSL can’t be carried over DLC lines.

Like regular ADSL, G.lite is an always-on connection protocol which allows users to make a conventional voice telephone calls simultaneously with the transfer of digital data. The trade-off for the advantages it offers is in speed. While full-on ADSL can reach download speeds of up to 6.1 Mbit/s, G.Lite is limited to 1.5 Mbit/s downstream and approaching 400 Kbit/s upstream. Also, its reliance on DLC connection may be a problem for some suburban and rural areas.