The Battle Of The Internet: DSL vs Cable

The Battle Of The Internet: DSL vs Cable

The moving speed of the internet is rapidly increasing, so it becomes increasingly important to choose a good internet provider, which can deliver fast internet without fail. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of DSL and Cable internet connections, to be able to decide which type is right for you.

DSL Internet

What Is DSL Internet?

DSL, short for Digital Subscriber Line, is a type of connection that transmits data over copper telephone wires. This allows for a consistent and reliable speed, which is great for streaming video and gaming. And because it uses existing phone lines, it’s usually more affordable than cable.

DSL Providers

DSL Providers
DSL Providers

There are two different DSL providers: AT&T and Verizon. Both of these companies offer DSL and fiber-optic internet. AT&T is the largest provider of DSL in the United States with 23 million subscribers, while Verizon has only a little over 5 million subscribers. AT&T also offers faster speeds than Verizon, at up to 100 Mbps.

DSL Speeds

DSL isn’t a very fast type of internet service. You can get speeds as fast as 35–45 Mbps, but these plans are rare. Most DSL providers offer plans with speeds between 1 and 20 Mbps. That’s not very fast in today’s world, where even entry-level cable and fiber plans start at 100 Mbps (1 Gbps in some markets).

DSL Vs. Dial-up

While they both use phone lines to deliver service, DSL is much faster than dial-up service. Dial-up uses the same telephone lines, but it can only deliver download speeds between 40 and 50 Kbps — about 100 times slower than the fastest DSL service. This makes dial-up impractical for anything other than email or very basic web browsing.

DSL Pricing

DSL internet prices vary based on speed and connection type. For example, Frontier offers a 75 Mbps connection for $44.99/mo., while CenturyLink offers a 20 Mbps connection for $49/mo. For reference, the FCC recommends an internet connection speed of 25 Mbps for basic internet use.

The Future Of DSL

For now, DSL internet still has a place in the market — especially for people who live in areas where it’s their only choice — but it looks like its days could be numbered. The major phone companies are continuing to upgrade their networks to fiber-optic lines and cable companies are pushing their services aggressively. At some point in the future, it may not make sense for these companies to continue maintaining legacy copper networks when they could instead focus on fiber optic technology.

Cable Internet

What Is Cable Internet?

Cable internet uses the same coaxial cable as your cable TV provider but doesn’t interfere with your TV signal. Cable internet is faster than DSL and has lower latency, so it’s ideal for heavy bandwidth usages like gaming and streaming. Cable internet is more expensive than DSL and may not be available in rural areas since it requires existing television infrastructure.

Cable Providers

Many cable providers use traditional coaxial cables to deliver digital cable TV and HDTV packages. They also use these same cables to provide high-speed cable internet in many areas across the country. Cable connections are typically faster than DSL and satellite connections, but they can be slower than fiber-optic internet connections.

Cable Internet Speeds

The primary drawback with cable internet is that it’s shared bandwidth. If you live in an apartment complex or neighborhood where many other people are paying for high-speed internet, your download and upload speeds can suffer. Don’t worry, though — most cable providers offer packages with download speeds ranging from 100 Mbps up to 1 Gig (1,000 Mbps). These days, most people can get whatever speed they need just by asking for it. The big question is how much you have to pay for faster internet.

Cable Gigabit Modems

Cable providers have been upgrading their networks to provide higher speeds, but homeowners have been slow to upgrade their modems. If you want to take advantage of cable’s fast speeds, you need a modem that can handle them.

The best gigabit modems for cable start at around $100-$120 and offer download speeds as fast as 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps). Renting a modem from your provider will cost you over $100 per year, so it’s worth it to buy one outright if you plan on staying with your provider for more than a year or two.

Cable Vs. Fiber

The debate between cable internet vs. fiber internet isn’t going to end any time soon. Fiber is usually faster than cable and can handle more devices at once, but it’s not available in as many areas as cable yet, and it’s more expensive overall. It also isn’t always the same price for each speed tier — you may be able to get a 100 Mbps plan for less with fiber than a 200 Mbps plan with cable.

Why Isn’t Fiber Available In My Area?

Fiber internet is the fastest available out there — but it’s also pretty expensive to install and maintain. For these reasons, fiber optic service isn’t widely available yet, although providers are working on it.

Cable Internet Pricing

Cable internet pricing varies by provider. As a result, you may need to contact your provider directly to get the most accurate information. Plans and pricing can vary by location, so you may see different plans offered when you search on the provider’s website.


Which Is Faster: DSL Or Cable Internet?

Which Is Faster DSL Or Cable Internet
Which Is Faster DSL Or Cable Internet

Cable internet is generally faster than DSL, but this isn’t always the case. Your choice of service provider and your distance from the local server will affect the performance of both DSL and cable internet.

What Is The Difference Between DSL And Cable Internet?

The main difference between DSL and cable internet is how they’re delivered to your home. DSL uses your telephone line to deliver data, while cable internet uses a coaxial cable (like the one that delivers cable TV). Your proximity to the service provider can have an impact on performance, so it’s important to compare them when you make a decision.

Is DSL Considered High-speed Internet?

High-speed internet is any connection with a download speed of at least 25 Mbps. Most DSL connections are much slower than that, although some providers do offer high-speed service. Check with your provider for details.

What Type Of Cable Is Used For DSL?

If you have a DSL connection, there should be two telephone wires coming into your home. One provides your voice service while the other carries data to your computer or router.


It is the perfect time for you to compare DSL and cable internet, as neither of them is perfect. DSL isn’t perfect because even if it is fast, that speed is more expensive than cable and it isn’t always available in areas where the cable is already available. Cable is not perfect because broadband options over cable are limited and most consumers are constrained to a single provider. In the end, my advice would be to check out both DSL and cable internet to determine which one is better in your area and set your expectations accordingly.