DSL vs. Fiber Optic Internet

When you’re looking for Internet for your home or business the most common options are cable, DSL, fiber optic and satellite internet. Each network offers unique advantages in how it transfers data.

This article is going to look at the difference between fiber optic and DSL, and highlighting the advantages and disadvantages each connection type has.

What’s Fiber Optic Internet?

This Internet connection transfers data partially or fully through the use of fiber optic cable. Fiber is referring to the glass wires inside the protective cable. Optic is referring to how the data’s transferred, which is light signals.

Think about how fast things travel at light speed.

“Fiber internet outperforms even significant cable internet speeds. A fast cable connection can deliver speeds as fast as 1000Mbps. That’s considerable; the average speed in the U.S. clocks in at about 18.7Mbps. But fiber optic speed can be more than 2 times faster than 1000Mbps broadband.”

What is DSL Internet?

This internet connection is delivered by way of a telephone line. DSL stands for Direct Subscriber Lines.

Back when the Internet first started up, you’d have to dial into the line and no one could use the phone while you were online. But with DSL that’s not a problem anymore and people can talk on the phone and use the Internet at the same time.

The phone lines are mostly made of copper. Even though copper conducts well, data is unable to travel as fast as fiber internet through a phone line.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of reliability and speed for DSL and fiber.

Advantages and Disadvantages: Speed and Reliability

Fiber optic internet

  • Speeds up to 2 GBPS

Perfect for anything online such as:

  • Downloading videos and music
  • Streaming movies and TV
  • Playing multiple player games on the Internet
  • Connecting a lot of devices such as smart televisions, mobile devices and computers simultaneously

DSL Internet

  • Top speeds up to 100 MBPS

Great for:

  • Sending & receiving emails
  • Sending & receiving pictures
  • Downloading e-books
  • Surfing the Internet

Fiber optic is usually more reliable when compared with DSL. There are a lot of factors which can interfere with the speed and connection of DSL, such as closeness to the power lines, power outages, and the distance from your ISP. Fiber optic doesn’t rely on electricity, so if your power is out it’s not going to interfere with the connection.

When it comes to reliability and speed, fiber optic is the best choice.

Advantages and Disadvantages – Availability and Price

Since fiber optic is more reliable and faster when compared with DSL, it’s no surprise that it’s going to be more expensive. But what’s the price difference? The price is going to vary based on the provider, and the availability of fiber in your neighborhood.

You’ll always find that DSL is always more economical since it is using infrastructure and technology that already exists.

For any area to be able to have fiber optic internet, it’s required to have the right infrastructure set up and installed with fiber optic cables. This means that fiber optic is usually only available in urban areas that are densely populated since there are more people who are going to be served by it.

Because DSL relies on phone lines, it’s going to be available just about everywhere since phone lines are found just about everywhere. More people are going to find options for DSL rather than fiber optic internet since the fiber technology isn’t supported yet in all areas.