Choosing Between DSL and Cable For High-Speed Internet Service


You had a hesitant suggestion to your nephew that you were considering moving to a more speedy type of Internet service. Perhaps you have heard the term “broadband connection.” The person who said it probably breathed a huge exhale of relief. “Finally!” He said. However, when you sought guidance on which service to pick and you were soon disappointed you had asked. In only a few paragraphs, he had you in the dust, rambling on in technical language that you couldn’t understand — when all you really wanted to know was “What should I get?”

Breathe easy. We’ll show you what the choices are for faster Internet connectivity (which is what’s meant by “broadband” or “high-speed Internet”), with just a teeny bit about “how it works” so you’re aware of the options you’re deciding to choose and why.

We do not anticipate you be a computer expert. What you really want you want, as we suppose, is the advantages of speedy Internet access which is a computer that’s constantly connected to Internet which allows users to surf Web pages at speeds you never could have imagined, and offers a new set of ways to use your time online. Yes, we’re talking about the whole range of methods to become productive. Whatever.

Let’s begin with the key question before working towards the issues at the heart of the issue.

Q: What service should I get? DSL or Cable Service?

A majority of tech experts will provide you with a variety types of “this is how it works” answers, and they’ll be discussing performance (that is, is DSL or cable services faster?) and the setup (that asks, in what way will you get your computer hooked to your connection?). There are differences between the technologies and setup, and we’ll discuss them in the next few minutes.

However, for those trying to find a simple and reliable answer, the truth is that “fastest” is not really the most important factor. It’s like choosing the right car. Sure, auto enthusiasts talk about performance , 0-to-60 speeds, and other aspects that are important primarily to other car aficionados. But if all you want is a car to commute to work, it’s about reliability, fuel efficiency and the number of a mechanic whose services you can trust. and cost-effective. It should be reasonable.

In the context of speedy Internet connections, this means:

  • Check if have a choice. In many places there is a possibility of getting the same type of service but you can’t get another. (We’ll give the reasons in a bit.)
  • Choose a company you can trust. If you hate the phone company you use or you already feel irritated by the cable TV provider and are already suffering, why add further stress to your life? Select the company whose service you trust the most (or whom you hate the least, which may be closer to the mark).
  • If you are looking into the cost ensure that you learn about the installation options. There are many cable and DSL providers will visit your house or business to set up the system and Internet connection. If one provider does so while the other doesn’t it will be easier to make a decision. As with many things in life , such as garage door openers, it is essential to have the highest speed Internet service set up correctly initially and it’s unlikely to function properly. It’s definitely worth the cost to hire a professional.
  • If the installation provided by your company isn’t an option, then you can ask your “local techie” — that same nephew who’s sure the whole thing is his — which kind of service to avail, and then take his advice. If you rely on family-provided technical support, then it makes sense to choose the option that your family member is confident. It will help avoid those awkward “I told you so” conversations over the Thanksgiving table.

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  • Take price as just one aspect of the equation. In most cases the cost difference is minimal. However, your current phone and cable company might be willing to negotiate a bargain; for instance there are cable companies that offer a reduced price if you get Internet access, telephone service and TV channels from them.

What — none of those are related to technology! Isn’t that what’s important? Shouldn’t I just pick the one that’s better?

Yes, there are some technical differences between the two kinds of service. There are some significant speed distinctions. But on the ground “convenience” is often the most important factor.

Q: What do DSL with cable and other services share?

Both kinds of services provide an “always-on” connection. They’re hooked up to Internet for as long as your computer is switched on. You need not worry about busy signals or any connection/disconnection process.

Both are billed on the basis of a monthly cycle usually on the same invoice as your phone or cable TV service.

Both work with your Windows or Macintosh machines without a lot of fiddling. They’ll also work on other platforms, too. However, the typical high-speed Internet service technical support representative may be unfamiliar with the specifics of getting everything to be compatible in conjunction with the “alternative choice.” This may require additional knowledge and, in some cases, you’ll need extra assistance (that is, plan to buy the nephew a nice dinner).

In most areas, DSL and cable access cost roughly the same.

Q What do you measure Internet speed measured … and to what degree is it important?

Computer techs discuss Internet connection speeds, they’re typically in mbps, which is billions of bits of data per second. This is a bit confusing as everything else on the planet computer world is measured bytes. Bits and bytes aren’t the identical. But to put it in perspective: to transfer an image which is 2.2 megabytes (MB) when saved on your hard drive, it’ll take about three minutes to transfer if you have five Mbps Internet connection.

If we were to do some involved, we’d question the accuracy of these numbers , and whether they’re helpful for anything more than a general comparison. And so would your helpful nephew. If you later decide to investigate the technology behind it and discover the reason for this. However, for now, you can suppose that 6 Mpbs will be quicker than 5 Mpbs as a useful simplified version.

It is evident that most people prefer faster speeds to slow. Many service providers charge their prices as such.

It’s true that if you’ve used dial-up modems to access the Internet, it will all seem blazingly fast. If you plan to utilize the Internet for more common purposes for example, e-mail, Web browsing, and instant messaging, then your provider’s “basic” speed is probably sufficient whether you go with broadband instead of DSL. Speed matters a lot more if you’re planning to handle huge files, like movies, pictures and music, games and other applications that has caused the salesperson for your computer to say, “Hmm, you probably should get a bigger hard disk.”

Q What is the reason Internet providers display upload and download speeds as separate speeds? Do I have to be concerned?

One aspect of connection speed that is vital is the distinction between upload speed and download speed. Speed of download measures how quickly information found on the Internet is sent to you, such as the emails you receive or the Web pages that are displayed on your computer. Upload speed measures how fast the information is sent from your computer to…well, to anywhere else.

In many cases, especially with cable service that upload speeds are considerably slower as the download. It’s a scary situation, but in most cases the upload speed isn’t really a major issue. Think about how you got to this post. It is likely that you typed something into the browser’s window (such such as “compare dsl and cable service” on the google search). You may have clicked on a couple of links. That was all. A few words of typing and the clicks. They didn’t have to speed up the line at the speed of war; you could manage it even if your skills at typing are generously described as “hunt and peck.”

But the computer in which this page is kept is sending you several pages of information , which is why you need the speed of download to be swift. (This is a very simple illustration. Your “just a few clicks” could have also showed you a movie which could have had a ton of information for downloading!)

In certain circumstances the upload speed is crucial. However, for normal home use it’s fine for upload speeds to be much less than the download speed.


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