Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cable VS DSL Internet Buying Guide

If you have been planning to switch providers or upgrade your existing internet connection, you are bound to be confused with choosing between DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and cable internet - so, which of these is better? Is there really a difference between the two? It is quite obvious that making a choice between the two is going to be difficult if you are not aware of the difference between them and it is also a tricky choice due to the fact that there are several similarities between them.

What Do Cable and DSL Internet Have In Common?

A few of the ways in which cable and DSL are similar are:

  • Can listen to or view music, movies, and videos
  • Can chat using VoIP services
  • Both are quicker than dialup with high speed internet
  • Can tap into your existing TV or phone connections or services
  • Both work on your Macintosh and Windows computers
  • Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer both these services

But, this is where the similarities end and the actual comparison starts; read on through this cable vs. DSL internet buying guide to making your decision making process simpler.

What Should You Opt For: Cable vs. DSL Internet?

If you are trying to find a credible and simple answer to this question, you need to understand that speed is not the only crucial issue, but rather you have to consider aspects like reliability, ease of installation, availability, security and price. Here's a brief comparison of these aspects in either options.

Speed and Reliability

As far as internet service is concerned, speed is relative. Cable internet is known to possess better overall speed in theory in that its transmission rates are 10 times higher than DSL internet. But practically, since cable internet connections are shared the data coming to your computer has to fight its way through the internet downloads and television transmissions of the other cable consumers around you, meaning access is likely to be very slow when the traffic is high.

On the other hand, DSL Internet speed is considerably lower than cable internet since the connection comes directly from the phone company. The speed deciding factor here is the distance between the provider's center and your home. However, the advantage of DSL internet connections is its consistency. The speed does not change significantly once the connection is set up since it is a dedicated internet connection available only to your house. So, in terms of reliability, DSL has its advantage.

For general Internet usage, the speeds of cable would work out, but for more advanced usage, consistency becomes more important, in which case, DSL turns out to be a better choice.


It is not possible to use an internet service in places where there is no access to it. So, availability is one of the major factors in making your choice. With respect to this aspect, cable has a definite edge since the range of DSL is limited to few miles from its source.


If security is your main deciding factor, DSL has a winning edge over cable internet. Since cable is a shared connection, you would be on a local area network with other subscribers in your locality. This may create security issues if there are no security measures provided by your ISP. However, most cable service providers usually provide cable modems with integrated security features. DSL connections are more secure and the security can further be enhanced by buying extra software or hardware since the service provider may offer only the basics with the installation.


Price is one of the major factors that affect the choice of internet users. The price of cable and DSL internet services again depends on several variables, including the ISP, where you reside, and what's available in your locality (demand and supply), to name a few. If you feel that DSL does not have the same limit for speeds as cable, it may feel like you are comparing oranges and apples when discussing about prices.

Furthermore, when you compare the upload speeds of both, the prices are not too far apart. You may find a price difference of around $10 or so, the highest price here being for cable. So, research and find the prices of both in your area before making a choice.

So, gaining knowledge of these factors will help you in making a better decision. It all depends on your needs and the way you wish to use internet.

Erika Johnson the author of the above post, writers regular on tech topics and contribute to many other websites like reviewzap and others. She has written this article to educate people about making a choice between cable and DSL internet as this is one of the common queries asked by most consumers.

By Erika Johnson

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