I'm reading about ADSL starting here and I am confused by how the Reed-Solomon encoding for ECC is limiting the available transfer rate, as much as it does (nearly half). This pdf on the same subject contains the following;
A maximum of 255 sub-carriers can be used to modulate data in the downstream direction. Sub-carrier 256, the downstream Nyquist frequency, and sub-carrier 64, the downstream pilot frequency, are not available for user data, thus limiting the total number of available downstream sub-carriers to 254. Each of these 254 sub-carriers can support the modulation of 0 to 15 bits. Since the ADSL DMT data frame rate is 4000 frames per second, the maximum theoretical downstream data rate of an ADSL system is 15.24Mbps. Due to limitations in system architecture, specifically the maximum allowable Reed-Solomon codeword size (255 bytes), the maximum achievable downstream data rate is 8.16Mbps.
How is this nearly halving the throughput? Is all that extra bandwidth overhead of the RS encoding? 15240000 bps (15.24Mbps) - 8160000 bps (8.12Mbps) = 7080000 bps (7.08Mbps). Where has that 7Mbps of throughput gone?
EDIT: I tried to read the wiki page on Reed-Soloman but it's all crazy maths and algerbra, which I don't understand. I can understand that data is split into 255 byte codewords, because that maybe the max codeword size whilst still maintaining accuracy during transmission; But I don't understand why that means less data is sent?