Cable vs DSL vs Fiber Internet Explained

When you are looking for an internet option for your homes or business, you’ve probably come across a few types of networks. Fiber optics, cable, and DSL are among the most common. Each type of network is unique in the way it transmits data, and each provides its specific benefits. The Web is an opportunist. It can travel through your home’s radio waves, telephone lines, cable networks, and even electrical cabling. For now, most data travels through physical wires between computers.

DSL internet service

DSL service offers high-speed internet through your local phone line. Unlike the dial-up operation, DSL uses different telephone and internet frequencies, so you can use them simultaneously.

The DSL is usually the slowest of the three major broadband choices.

Download speeds for DSL packages usually range from around 1 megabit per second, which is good for simple tasks such as web browsing and email, to 6 Mbps or 7 Mbps, which is adequate for music and standard video streaming but maybe a little sluggish for high-definition video streams if you have several devices linked to your Wi-Fi. A handful of Internet service providers deliver DSL speeds of up to 12 Mbps, 20 Mbps, and even 45 Mbps.

Typically cable internet packages start at 15 Mbps up to 25 Mbps, and fiber optics start at 25 Mbps.

Pros Cons
Widely available. Slower than cable or fiber optic internet.
Cheaper compared to fiber optic or satellite internet service. Real download speeds are usually slower than the “up-to” speeds marketed by providers. That is not the case with a cable or optic fiber.

Cable internet service

This service uses cable wires to deliver high-speed internet, instead of telephone wires. The consequence of that is faster service.

Total download speed rates range from 100 Mbps to 300 Mbps, compared to a 45 Mbps top end on most DSL deals. Granted, even when using multiple internet-connected devices, 100 Mbps is faster than most households require and it’s more than enough to satisfy most of the needs. There are also lower speed options available, typically starting at 15 Mbps or 25 Mbps.

Internet service via cable appears to be more reliable than DSL. A study from the Federal Communications Commission in December 2016 showed most cable and fiber optic internet providers provided download speeds as fast as or faster than advertised, which DSL providers clearly struggled to do so.

Pros Cons
Depending on your package, Faster than DSL and fiber optic. More expensive than DSL and other options.
More reliable than DSL service. Cable internet may not be accessible where you live. If it is, there may be only one provider.

Fiber optic internet service

Fiber optics is often your fastest Internet option but cable technology advances quickly to close the gap.

Download speeds range from 25 Mbps to 75 Mbps for Internet providers with fiber optics. It is on the same standard as cable television. But the fiber optic trumps cable and DSL when it comes to uploading speeds.

Upload speeds affect video conferencing quality, and your ability to upload large files. A cable internet bundle with 25 Mbps of advertised download rate can have an upload limit of less than 1 Mbps. So a DSL package with an advertised 6 Mbps downloads rate may have an upload rate of just around 0.5 Mbps.

By comparison, the upload speed of a fiber optic package with a download speed of 25 Mbps could be 5 Mbps. And the upload speeds mirror download speeds for several fiber optic internet providers.

Fiber optic access isn’t as popular as DSL or Web cable service. This is because the company does not use the existing telephone or cable cables. Instead, you need to install new fiber optic cables to offer service in a given area. These cables send and receive data using light and tiny glass fibers.

Pros Cons
Faster download speeds than DSL, faster upload speeds than cable. Not as widely available as cable or DSL.

DSL vs Cable vs Fiber Distinction

The primary distinction between cable and DSL is that cable uses newer “coaxial” lines and can be more bandwidth-carrying. DSL runs older phone lines. DSL speeds generally cap around 25–100 Mbps, which is about half the normal cable internet speed range. however, For metropolitan areas, DSL providers also create fiber lines closer to homes, resulting in higher maximum speeds.

Fiber internet connections provide faster download and upload speeds, usually 250–1000 Mbps, than DSL and cable. Cable and DSL provide download speeds in the range of 25–500 Mbps. Cable and DSL upload speeds are typically much lower, however, in the range of 5–30 Mbps. Fiber may have a slightly higher price but the service is more reliable.

What internet Speed of them can tell us:

Technology Download speed range Upload speed range

DSL 5-35 Mbps 1-10 Mbps
Cable 10-500 Mbps 5-50 Mbps
Fiber 250-1,000 Mbps 250-1,000 Mbps

Cable vs DSL

For most companies, DSL and cable are generally available in the form of monthly subscriptions and/or packages, especially those in more urban and suburban areas. On the other hand, many who work in very rural or remote areas can have restricted access or no choice.

Although DSL is much faster than dial-up, the difference in speeds at your location can vary considerably depending on the availability. DSL operates on a dedicated telephone line, providing high output and communication. DSL download speeds usually vary from 1 to 400 Mbps; upload speeds vary from 384 Kbps up to 8 Mbps.

Cable internet operates on a shared network, although fast and secure, and is vulnerable to less than optimal performance during peak use periods. Cable download speeds start around 25 Mbps up to1 Gbps; upload speeds will range from 5 to 50 Mbps.

It is most common to choose between DSL and cable, as most homes are wired for both. DSL is lower-bandwidth, with top speeds rarely exceeding 100 Mbps. For metropolitan areas, due to the use of “Fiber to Node” networks, DSL can be quicker to minimize the gap from the low-bandwidth copper telephone line, which is used to link carrier fiber lines to consumers homes.

Cable vs Fiber

Fiber is a popular option for DSL upgrades, particularly in large towns. Fiber is the perfect option for most consumers because it offers high-bandwidth download and upload speed connections up to 1,000 Mbps. The distinction between cable and fiber is that cable is delivered over copper TV wires, while fiber is made from plastic and specifically designed for internet access. Cable internet makes use of the same technology as cable TV. The data is transmitted through a coaxial cable (coax). The coax cable contains a heart of copper coated with aluminum, a shield of copper, and an outer layer of plastic.

Coax cable can simultaneously supply both the internet connection and the TV network. This allows the service provider to bundle the two services together but you need a cable modem and a cable modem termination system to access the cable internet.

On the other hand, a link to the internet via fiber optic cable is transmitted. The internet fiber optic cable includes plastic or glass that conveys modulated light. These thin fiber strands can transmit digital information over very long distances.

There are two forms of fiber, so it is important to explain the variations here. Direct Internet Access (DIA) fiber is available, and broadband fiber (FiOS, FTTB, etc.). Although the two services connect you to the internet, they are built for specific user styles. DIA is usually for mission-critical operations such as companies relying on the internet to do their business without interruption, while broadband fiber is considered a “best-effort” internet service more ideal for residential needs or businesses looking for low costs even if it is far less reliable and prone to interruptions. DIA offers a static IP with a dedicated line to your workplace.

Usually, DIA fiber will have Service Level Agreements ( SLAs) guaranteed to ensure that your business receives the quality of service and the speeds promised by your internet provider. This includes the availability of bandwidths with money-back commitments. While broadband fiber is better than coax cable, there is still a chance of downtime, and less possibility of money-back guarantees.

DIA fiber offers a symmetrical service which means you are having the same upload speeds as download speed. Broadband provides free, asymmetric access with differing upload and download rates and infrastructure that is often free with neighboring businesses. There is no denying that when compared to broadband fiber DIA fiber is in another class. It’s a high-quality, secure, private connection for companies that demand reliability and can’t afford to impact their operation with the cost of an outage.

Yet fiber optic links also aren’t as popular as coax cables. The construction process can be very lengthy, can be expensive, and can be intrusive. Such installations can involve a large number of professional technicians. Installation of cable internet is much simpler (like traditional residential cable) which is why it appears to be more commonly accessible.

Landline telephone lines: DSL uses your telephone lines but it does not disturb the use of the phone. It is a step above Internet dial-up, but it is still the slowest of all other modern options. DSL versus cable internet is not much of a contest. Definitions of DSL services include the 20 Mbps internet-only service.

Cable TV lines: Cable internet enters your home using the same coaxial cables your television service is likely to use. It also provides better link speed than most other site options. One huge advantage is that it’s readily available — unlike Internet cable. Examples of cable services include an internet-only package of 100 Mbps for Spectrum.

Fiber-optic lines: Fiber optic cables represent a truly impressive data transfer development. Fiber internet uses certain optical lines consisting of several small glass fibers. In reality, data is sent at the speed of light with this system, because it is not electricity that is transmitted through the lines but light.

Fiber vs Cable: Availability

Cable networks are easily accessible and available almost anywhere, covering about 89 percent of the world. If you can access a TV network, you can access the Internet through cable. What you need to do is call your TV service provider and order an upgrade. They are most likely to provide you internet access with the very same connection.

Fiber internet services are not as readily accessible as cable television, despite its growth, but they are definitely more convenient than they used to be. In around 25 percent of regions, they are currently accessible For enterprises in rural areas, fiber may be more difficult to access but it is suitable for larger metropolitan locations.

Fiber vs Cable: Reliability

Internet connections via fiber and cable are almost equally reliable. Cable internet links are therefore impaired by factors surrounding electricity.

If you live in an area where cable interruptions and power outages are common, cable internet might not be a reliable Internet option for you. For these instances, if you are using cable television, you may need Television backup sources.

A fiber optic internet connectivity does not suffer power interruptions. Despite the power, you will always be able to reach the fiber optic network, since the cables are made of glass and do not conduct electricity. It protects the cables from fluctuating power voltages and fire hazards.

Since the fiber network can not be broken easily as other internet access types, it offers a more secure choice of the network between the two network connections. Or put it another way, a fiber network delivers a reliable operation.

Fiber vs Cable: Speed

Cable network download speeds vary between 10 and 500 megabits per second ( Mbps). The speed range for uploads is 5 to 50 Mbps. For most small businesses and homes this broadband speed is enough.

The pace of the cable network can handle some heavy downloads, streaming video, and gaming. But, because it’s a virtual network, the network speed is slower if the traffic is heavy. During peak-use hours, you can predict the speed reduction of up to 25 percent.

Fiber-optic broadband networks are quicker in all directions relative to the cable network with a speed of no less than 250-1,000 Mbps. Many people can simultaneously access the fiber network without affecting the overall performance. This makes it suitable to use with high demand which must remain constant, even during peak times.

DSL vs Cable vs Fiber: Which one should you go with?

  • DSL is suitable for remote customers who are tied to satellite internet otherwise.
  • Cable internet service is the best choice for people who have no fiber access or use no lightning-fast speeds. This is also a perfect choice for TV consumers, who may benefit from “cable box” deals to cut costs.
  • Fiber is the best choice for heavy internet users, especially gamers, or those who intend to stream videos simultaneously on multiple devices.

If you feel your area doesn’t have enough Internet options, you ‘re not alone. If you don’t yet have cable or fiber connections available, know that services are expanding every year. Additionally, new technologies like low Earth orbit satellites of the next decade may soon be able to provide reliable communications to rural consumers. Hopefully, high-speed internet will be almost universally available within the next few years.

How do the connections to Internet services work?

The internet is hard to visualize. (For amusing examples of people trying to draw what it might look like, see The Internet Mapping Project)

You can imagine it as a tree, to understand where the internet comes from. Your neighborhood is a twig and the “backbone” is at the core of the tree.

The “Internet backbone is made of optical fiber”

The internet backbone (the component that transmits data between towns, countries, and continents) mainly consists of fiber-optic cables. Such networks are complex and vast. The main thing to understand is that they are basically bundles of fiber-optic cables that carry data across huge distances — across continents and between oceans.

DSL, cable, and fiber networks all have one thing in common: connecting users to the “backbone,” which is why Internet services provided to customers by ISPs are considered “last mile” technologies.

Even with a low dial-up connection, most data journeys between your computer and servers take place via fiber on the internet backbone or through carrier fiber networks.

However, the last few miles between your house and the ISP can slow things down considerably, because the data switches to older copper cables.

What does that mean to the customer, then? Well, DSL internet has a few advantages and inconveniences compared to cable and fiber.

DSL’s main selling point is widespread availability; telephone infrastructure is already being deployed almost everywhere, so it doesn’t take much setup to get most people connected to DSL, particularly in rural areas where the cable is less likely to be an option.

The second difference is how the link reaches the end-user: while cable links are largely shared across communities, DSL communicates directly from ISP to customers.

While cable provides faster speeds, at peak times it can get bogged down (e.g. 6-9 pm, when everyone in the neighborhood wants to stream Netflix while their kids broadcast upstairs on Cartoon). Therefore the DSL connections can seem more reliable, even though they are slower overall than the cable.

DSL’s major drawback is the phone cable itself; telephone cables typically top out at about 40 Mbps down, while cable can deliver nearer to 100 Mbps in optimal conditions. (However, shared bandwidth and unmaintained networks often result in comparable effective speeds of much less than 40 Mbps for both technologies).

Distance between ISP office and residence is also a factor with DSL connections, as residences farther from the central office usually get slower speeds and higher latency than those closer to the office.

Since the telephone cable is smaller in diameter than the coaxial television cable or fiber, “repeaters” are required every few miles to prevent the signal from weakening further than 3-5 miles from the ISP office where the “backbone” fiber reaches the “last mile” copper.

Conclusion: Fibre Is King, but it’s not widely accessible

Fiber is not readily accessible to users on the same scale as cable and DSL, but from a big picture viewpoint, it is now the dominant Internet network. It handles most data traffic outside the last mile, which broadband customers are familiar with.

The internet is a “network of networks,” and for years to come, the combination of forms of internet connections will undoubtedly be a part of our culture.

We should expect fiber to continue rising to the extent where it will one day be as available as cable internet. When our community relies increasingly on high-speed internet, so will the demand for faster internet will also rise.


Fiber could be the best option for companies that need the quickest internet access, have bigger bandwidth requirements, and need reliability for critical functions. This can be used with fiber for both video and voice applications, web storage, and networking applications. With fiber, you can even get the fastest speed over longer distances. Fiber will be opted for among the most demanding consumers.

Now that you can distinguish the various available internet choices, the next move is to select the best service to match your needs. In this decision, two main factors are: what’s available where you live and what speed you need.

Sadly, Internet providers can have little or no options, depending on where you live. But you’ll still have some speed ranges to choose from. The more sophisticated your use and the more apps you’ve paired, the more you’ll need the Internet. In the end, The demand of your need will force your hand to find a quick solution and it will help you find high speed internet provider in Patna for your business needs.

To help you determine the best internet connectivity options for your business needs, contact Jasnet Network today for a free consultation and hassle-free quote.

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