When you’re looking for the Internet for your home use or business, you’ll bump into a few network types such as cable, DSL, fiber optics, or even a satellite. These network types are distinct to one another in transferring data. The most common types that are being used today are the DSL and Fiber Optic Internet, but what is the difference between the two?
What is DSL?
DSL or Digital Subscriber Line is an Internet connection that is used for transmitting digital data through telephone lines. In terms of telecommunications, DSL is popularly known as ADSL or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line; a most common DSL technology for getting Internet access. DSL can be transmitted simultaneously through wired telephone service under the same telephone line. This was made possible since DSL uses higher frequency bands (or the interval in the signals or frequency domain) for data.
The customer uses a DSL filter or an analog low-pass filter to use the DSL service and voice at the same time. It is usually installed between POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) line and an analog device (e.g. analog modems or telephone lines). The filter prevents interference between these devices and a DSL.
In customer’s downstream (or the data sent from your provider), the typical bit rate of a consumer DSL ranges from 256 Kbps to over 100 Mbps. But this subjects to the condition of the line, DSL technology, and by carrying out the service level. For home use, the bit rate is limited to 500-800 Mbps. The amount of data in the upstream direction (or the data sent from client to server) is lower, thus, the appellation of the asymmetric service. While in Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL), the rates of upstream and downstream are equal. Based on a 2012 survey, DSL has consistently become the dominant technology with over 364-million subscribers around the world.
What is Fiber Optic?
Fiber Optic is an Internet connection that transmits data from one place to another through an optical fiber. Fiber (or Fibre) is a thin glass wire that is substantially longer than it is wide, while Optic is a method of transmitting data through light signals.
Fiber Optic transmits light on both ends of the fiber and searches for extensive usage in fiber-optic communications, where they allow higher bandwidth and long distance transmissions than the wire cables. Instead of metal wires, Fibers are used since the signal travel has a minimum chance of loss. Also, Fibers are insusceptible to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), which is a common problem on metal wires. Telecommunication companies are using optical fiber for transmitting telephone signals, cable TV signals, and Internet communication.
These days, DSL and Fiber Optic Internet became widely available and provided faster Internet connection. Unlike a dial-up connection, DSL won’t interfere with your phone conversation. You can use the Internet while talking on a phone simultaneously. DSL connection uses a modem, and it is normally provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or as part of the installation package, while Fiber Optic Internet is being installed by professionals. Other provider also offers an option for self-installation, but unlike DSL that uses your existing phone line, a fiber optic cable is needed for Fiber Optic Internet. This results in a more intrusive and longer installation process than the DSL.
Reliability and Speed:
DSL is known for its reliable Internet option and provides an “always-on” connection. However, when the phone line got damaged or interrupted, you will also lose your Internet access. So if you are running a business, a backup Internet access is always an option. Fiber Optic is also reliable, and most often, it is considered more reliable than DSL. Fiber Optic Internet is less likely to go down or be interrupted. While DSL uses copper cables, the conductor in Fiber Optic Internet is glass. Thus, it doesn’t produce electricity, and it is secured from any interference caused by high-voltage electrical equipment or power lines.
With regards to speed, DSL download is slower than of Fiber Optic Internet. It ranges from .5 -15 Mbps, but other providers are now offering up to 40 Mbps of speed. The upload speed normally ranges from 384 Kbps – 768 Kbps, but many of the providers now are also offering an upload speed of 1 Mbps or higher. Fiber Optic Internet offers an extremely fast Internet access and can allow transmission of data for long distance while maintaining its speed. The download speed ranges from 150 Mbps – 500 Mbps, while the upload speed is from 65 Mbps – 100 Mbps. It allows the users to stream, download, upload, and share files at the same time, without compromising its performance.
Generally, many users preferred to use Fiber Internet, though it is priced much higher, it provides faster and reliable performance. DSL, on the other hand, is more economical since it uses an existing infrastructure and technology. So, if you need the Internet for web surfing, streaming TV, sending emails, gaming, or interacting with your social media friends, DSL is a cost-effective choice. Let’s not forget that DSL is widely available while Fiber Internet is currently available in selected areas.