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The paper presents a numerical study of the impact of impulse noise on asymmetric digital subscriber lines (ADSL). Methods for simulating the effect of impulse disturbances on a discrete multitone system are first presented, and actual measured noise bursts are then used for the simulations as if they were deterministic signals, in order to characterize their effects on ADSL systems. It is shown that, while a combination of coding, interleaving, and 6-dB margin is adequate in protecting ADSL systems from isolated impulses, an impulse train with long duration can cause a significant number of error bits in the system. In this case, a tradeoff among the number of error seconds, the maximum reach, and the coding delay must be made.