With each passing day, more and more people are getting connected to the internet. In most countries, internet penetration has been growing for years. The internet speeds have also been growing as every day passes. With this in mind, which of the Cable, Fiber, or DSL internet should we use for our homes?
The choice of connection depends on the internet options provided by internet service providers in your area. They also come with different hardware needs. For example, you will need to get the best fiber router to ensure you get the best from your fiber connection. This is also the case for best DSL modems or best cable modems.
For your home or office, you need to consider the Wi-Fi speed, location, and futuristic nature of the connection as you shop for the internet option for your home or office. The common types available (DSL, cable, and fiber) all have different features that can help you with the choice.
Fiber optic vs cable vs DSL internet speed
|Internet technology||Range of download speeds (Mbps)||Range of upload speed (Mbps)|
Digital Subscriber Line -DSL
Among the three types of connections discussed in this article, the DSL offers slower internet speeds as compared to cable and fiber connections. It is a step up from the dial-up internet connection though. It uses a telephone to transmit internet signals.
This means that the signal is transmitted over 2 copper wire telephone lines. The connection offers an advantage in that the connection is readily available in most areas. It is readily available in over 90% of the areas in the US. In addition, it offers a faster speed as compared to the dial-up connection.
Furthermore, the connection requires less investment in cabling since the telephone wires are readily available. The final advantage is that your internet service provider (ISP) offers a modem to connect the telephone to the internet and also takes care of the installation.
However, the connection presents with a few challenges including a slower internet connection and also have a faster service when receiving data as compared to when you are sending the data. In case of a breakup in the telephone line as in storms or hurricanes, the connection will also be lost.
A DSL modem provides a maximum bandwidth of up to 25–100Mbps with the normal upload speeds being 5-30Mbps. This is because the telephone lines are generally slower in carrying bandwidth. The speeds are almost half of what is provided by cable connections.
Finally, one of the main advantages over cable connection is that you get a dedicated connection. Therefore, congestion is rarely experienced in DSL as compare to cable connections.
Cable internet connection
The cable internet connection is another internet connection for your home from the internet service provider. This connection uses a cable connected to the cable modem to provide a higher bandwidth as compared to the DSL.
The connections through cable modems provide a bandwidth of between 10- 500Mbps for downloads and 5-50Mbps for uploads. The cable connection uses a coaxial cable that connects to the cable modem in your house.
The newer coaxial cable technology is capable of transmitting double the DSL bandwidth and thus gives you better download and upload speeds. Moreover, it is available in 89% of the areas in the US.
However, in most towns in the US, the DSL connection may be faster than the cable connections because of the “Fiber to the Node” option. In this connection, the ISP reduces the distance between your home to the nearest fiber center where the copper telephone line is used. For the connections, the carrier lines are made from fiber while the copper telephone lines are used as the transmission lines to your home.
Finally, you can experience congestion when using this internet option. Therefore, there are decreases in internet speeds by 20 to 40 percent in the evenings which are the peak usage hours. This is because you share the bandwidth with the neighbors “bandwidth sharing”.
Fiber optic connection
The fiber optic (Fi-Os) connections are faster and more reliable as compared to DSL and cable. However, they are not easily accessible in most areas. It is available in 25% of the areas in the US.
The reliability, cost, and speed make the fiber optic connection the internet options for today and the future.
In this internet option, the internet signals travel through the lightweight strands of optically pure glass. The fiber connection experiences less packet loss and therefore can be used for transmission over a long distance. The data is transmitted at the speed of light through the fiber optic cables.
A technician or professional does the installation process for your home or office. This is because the installation requires laying off of the fiber cables sometimes for a long distance as compared to cable and DSL which are readily available in most homes in the US.
The fiber connection offers speeds of up to Gigabit for both downloads and uploads when connected to the best fiber routers. This is therefore the ideal connection for people who use the internet intensely.
Finally, Fi-Os technology is able to enable you to do multiple internet intense activities simultaneously. You can download content, upload content, stream, enjoy gaming, and also conduct file sharing without a significant decrease in the connection speed.
For people with the best smart TV for streaming or a gaming console, this will give you the best service in reliability and speeds. In these connections, you will enjoy faster speeds and increased picture quality.
However, because of the cost of laying the fiber infrastructure, the fiber connections are more pricy as compared to DSL or cable connections. We have fiber internet connections such as AT&T fiber internet, Verizon fiber internet, and Frontier Fiber among others.
Key points to note for DSL, Cable, and Fiber internet options
- Whereas DSL utilizes the telephone lines in your home or office it will not interrupt the phone usage. Therefore, you can continue using the phone and the internet simultaneously.
- DSL connections are the slowest of the three internet options discussed. However, the difference in connection speed with cable is not very significant. One of the widely used DSL connections is the CenturyLink DSL service.
- The Cable connection uses coaxial cables to provide internet to your home or office. Most of the coaxial cables were laid down to provide TV services in our home or office and are available in 81% of the areas in the US. You will get a better connection as compared to DSL and dial-up connections. One of the most widely used cable connections is the Spectrum cable internet.
- Fiber internet is a disruptive internet connection option for our homes or office. They provide fast and reliable internet because the fiber optic glasses transmit light as compared to electric waves transmitted by DSL and cable connections. You can check the speeds for this service in the best Verizon FiOS connections.
- Fiber-optic connections are not readily available in most areas since it is a newer technology. It is only available in 41% of the areas in the US. Therefore, some ISPs employ a “fiber to the node” connection which increases the connection speeds when using DSL markedly.
- Both DSL and cable connections have lower upload speeds as compared to download speeds. This is different from fiber where the upload speeds are equally impressive.
In a nut shell
Fiber connections are the best for those who want lightning internet for their homes or offices. However, it is not readily available and also comes at a higher price.
Cable connections are readily available and provide better speeds and lower latency as compared to DSL. You can also enjoy bundle plans with the cable TV provision in your home. Moreover, if you don’t require lighting fast connections, then this must be your option.
DSL connection is an excellent connection for a rural set-up where you would be stuck with the satellite internet. You can also enjoy a “fiber to the node” connection which offers fast internet speeds.