Cable vs. DSL

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DSL and cable Internet are two of the most popular high-speed Internet services available today. That’s because they are widely available to most of the population. They work in very different ways and can cost dramatically different prices, given the manner of delivery they each employ. If you’re choosing between cable and DSL Internet, consider these differences before you make your decision.

First of all, what are DSL and cable Internet?

DSL Internet

DSL provides high-speed Internet to customers. It is significantly faster than traditional dial-up Internet, yet it reaches the user in the same way. DSL utilizes a customer’s landline “using broadband modem technology.” Unlike dial-up Internet, which interrupts phone calls while the user is online, DSL Internet allows users to be online at the same time they receive phone calls.

On top of this obvious advantage, DSL offers speeds much faster than dial-up Internet. DSL Internet gives the users a dedicated line from the central office to their homes, so speed won’t be affected by other users like cable Internet.

With DSL, users could access speeds of 8.5 Mbps, with average speeds reaching around 1.5 Mbps. DSL is cost-efficient because it allows users to utilize their existing phone line to receive high-speed Internet in their home or office.

Cable Internet

Cable companies first utilized coaxial copper cables to transmit TV signal to customers. They became Internet service providers when they began using this same cable TV infrastructure to give customers high-speed Internet access. Cable companies provide cable modems to Internet customers that translate information sent through the cable to a signal your computer can understand.

Like DSL, cable Internet customers can expect an average of 1.5 Mbps of download speed. The service can be expensive, although it is less expensive than faster and more advanced fiber-optic Internet services. Cable Internet service providers send connections to different homes in a specific area, so customers share Internet speed and connectivity with their neighbors.

Cable Internet is also very dependent on location. If a customer is unable to receive cable TV where they live or work, then the customer will also be unable to receive Internet from their cable company.

Making the right choice

Customers will discover that DSL Internet has several noteworthy advantages over cable Internet. If you are a potential customer looking for consistent speeds and a good price, then DSL Internet may be the best choice for you.

Here are a few other reasons to choose DSL Internet over cable Internet:

  • Price

    At first glance, the price discrepancy between cable Internet and DSL Internet may seem negligible. However, many cable companies periodically increase their rates, whereas DSL customers can receive DSL at a consistent price every month.

  • No shared connection

    DSL Internet provides customers with a dedicated line that runs straight from the central office to the user’s home. Cable Internet service providers require customers to share connection – and therefore speed, with their neighbors. So that means, if a customer’s neighbor is downloading a large file or performing another high-bandwidth function, his/her speed will suffer.

  • More secure

    Because DSL provides customers with a dedicated line, there is less of a chance for Internet security breaches. The connection travels from the central office to the user’s home, and information passes directly between the two without passing through connection to another customer’s computer or modem.

  • Easier installation

    Cable Internet installation requires a scheduled installation the customer must be present for. It often includes an installation fee and can interrupt a customer’s busy schedule, often causing them to miss work or other important functions. DSL Internet only requires a customer’s existing phone line, so the installation process is much less difficult.


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This post was written by the Beacon team.

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