If there were a race for internet types, these three would take the podium.
With Fiber coming in first place, Cable a close second, and DSL internet proudly in third.
All three are broadband services, which is tech speak for “different than dial-up.”
But while they share a common definition, each varies in technology, speed and price.
Time you learned the difference? You've come to the right place. HomeLinkd has provided this easy guide explaining the differences between these internet service providers.
DSL stands for “Digital Subscriber Line”. DSL internet is transferred through existing telephone wires. Or in other words, the lines you're already “digitally subscribed” to. Unlike dial-up, DSL internet uses different frequencies for phone and internet so that you can use both at the same time.
DSL is slower than fiber and cable, but it's generally cheaper and more widely available.
Fiber gets its name from its fiber-optic cables underground, through which data is sent as pulses of light.
It's the fastest internet around today, but available to only a quarter of Americans.
Cable internet uses existing television cables (or coaxial cables) to transmit internet to your home.
It's the most popular choice for most US residents, since it delivers high speeds at reasonable costs. It's not as fast as fiber, but much faster than DSL.
DSL has been around since the 80s. And because most neighborhoods already have telephone wires, it's a resourceful choice.
Download speeds:5 –35Mbps
Upload speeds:1 –10Mbps
DSL requires you to have firewall protection, so it's actually more secure than Fiber and Cable. And unlike Cable, which slows down if your neighbors are all online at once, DSL's speeds are unaffected by user congestion.
ADSL and VDSL are altered versions of DSL.The “A” in ADSL stands for “asymmetric” since it offers much higher upload speeds than download speeds. The “V” in VDSL stands for “very-high-bit-rate" and is a newer and faster rendition.
Fiber optic internet transmits data through hair-thin strands of fiber glass. Fiber can send data at light speed, making it the fastest —and most reliable —internet of all time.
Download speeds:up to 1000Mbps
Upload speeds:up to 1000Mbps
To install fiber in your home, you'll need fiber optic infrastructure in your area. Then, you'll need to find an ISP in your area and get their technician to run additional fiber cables to your home. You'll also need a fiber-ready modem and router.
A lot of people ask, “is fiber internet better than DSL?"
In short, the answer is yes. But of course, it'll cost more money.
For more on how to install fiber, read our article how to install fiber.
Cable internet is available to 90% of Americans, since most people have access to cable TV. Of course, it's usually bundled with TV channels or telephone deals.
Download speeds:10 –1000Mbps
Upload speeds: 5 –100Mbps
Cable is not as expensive as fiber but still offers good speeds. But, since it uses a shared line to a central office, its speeds can be slowed down when more users are online at once.
For more on cable internet and how it works, read our article cable internet and how it works.
Choose your internet like you would a pair of shoes —is it a good fit for you?
Check out our table below which lists what's best for your area and preferences.
Now that you know the difference between three leading internet types, you can make informed decisions when selecting an ISP or internet plan for your home.
Regardless of what internet you choose, Homelinkd’s got you covered.
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