Choosing an internet provider can sometimes be confusing. There’s a lot of technical terminology, and the differences between options may not be clear to the average consumer. This is probably the case for two of the most popular options for internet service, DSL and cable internet. These are the two most common broadband connections regulated by the FCC.
What Is DSL?
DSL is an acronym that stands for digital subscriber line. DSL signals travel over phone lines to provide customers with internet service much the same way that archaic dial-up did. However, DSL internet is certainly far faster than dial-up. It can also travel through the copper wires of phone lines to provide internet service without tying up the line. Phone calls can be made while a customer is connected.
What Is Cable Internet?
Cable internet works quite differently. It does not implement telephone lines. Instead, it uses cable modems to provide service. The modem in question most often connects to the same coaxial cable output as the one that provides a household with cable television. Sometimes a splitter is used to split the signal between internet and cable television.
What Are the Benefits of DSL over Cable Internet?
DSL has certain benefits over cable internet. For one, it tends to be cheaper than cable. This is in part due to the fact that the use of existing telephone lines means less overhead expense for DSL internet providers. Customers also often bundle their DSL and home phone service together to save money.
Second, cable internet suffers from more signal interference than DSL. This is due to the properties of the cable used. If you have ever had cable TV, you should know that there is sometimes interference with the quality. DSL, on the other hand, is immune to this issue.
For cable internet, bandwidth tends to be shared between those in a neighborhood. This can lead to congestion especially at peak hours. This limitation does not exist with DSL. Also according to Forbes, use of cable in general is waning.
What Are the Benefits of Cable Internet over DSL?
The greatest benefit cable internet has over DSL is speed. Cable internet is almost always faster in regards to both download and upload speed. This is due to the technology. DSL has a cap of about 6 to 7 megabytes per second. Cable does not have this limitation and can go much higher. DSL, in specific, also tends to lag in regards to upload speed versus download speed. This is not the case for cable.
There may also be other benefits to using cable internet. For one, if you are already receiving cable television, it may be a good idea to add internet onto your bill for convenience and cost savings.