DSL VS. Cable Internet: Differences In Speed, Cost And More | iMoving

  
If you are searching for internet service after your move into a new location, the two popular internet types available are cable and DSL. The two will fetch you a strong connection to stream movies, check email, take part in Zoom meetings, and more.
DSL VS. Cable Internet

If you are searching for internet service after your move into a new location, the two popular internet types available are cable and DSL. The two will fetch you a strong connection to stream movies, check email, take part in Zoom meetings, and more.

 

However, each comes with its strength and weaknesses, but we think your best bet is to choose cable.

 

DSL internet is the ancient option, with much availability and direct monthly rates (often around $50 per month). But it has restricted speeds and is not even as fast or reliable as a cable.

 

Cable internets can have more Byzantine contracts and surprise fees. But its speed can be as fast as 10 times DSL. And, in some situations, it can also be cheaper, with prices starting from around $20 every month for the most affordable plans to more than $100 per month for superfast gigabit speeds and package options.

 

In this article, we will discuss the details about DSL and cable, so you can choose which is the best option for you. Let’s dig in!

 

DSL vs. Cable Internet at a Glance

 

Cable internet is fast and cheap; it can reach gigabit speeds (although it still can’t be as fast as the upload speeds of fiber internet). DSL is slower but one can be easily ordered and installed. Both internet types often provide you the option to package with other services, such as landline phones, streaming services, and cable TV.

 

Comparison Table

 

Features

DSL Internet

Cable Internet

Download speeds

.5–100 Mbps

10–1,000 Mbps

Rate

$27.99–69.95/mo.

$19.99–109.99/mo.

Gigabit speeds?

No

Yes

Symmetrical speeds? (upload/download are the same)

No

No

Bundle options?

Yes (landline phone, streaming services)

Yes (cable TV, streaming services)

 

The Differences between DSL and Cable Internet

 

DSL and cable both provide internet service to users, but they run on different network connections. DSL operates via land-line telephone's copper wiring, making it widely available but also a bit old-fashioned and slow. DSL usually tops out at around 100 Mbps for download speed.

 

Cable functions on the coaxial wiring spread by a cable company. Premium cable plans are more expensive than DSL, but the cable is faster, more reliable, and offers better options for bundling with cable TV or even a mobile phone plan. Download speeds of cable are up to a high of 1,000 Mbps, or 1 Gbps.

 

DSL vs. Cable Internet: Structure

 

DSL is one of the oldest internet technologies after dial-up and it makes exclusive use of your local phone line to send data and connect you to the internet. There are two major types of DSL connections namely: symmetric and asymmetric.

 

Symmetric offers the same upload and download speeds, while asymmetric provides download speeds that are higher and its upload speeds are lower.

 

DSL, unlike cable, gives a non-stop, dedicated connection to your business, which means that the connection is for only you and is not being shared among any neighbors. Also, DSL is always connected. Since it runs on different frequencies for phone and internet, you can easily be on the phone and still browsing the internet at the same time, with no interruptions.

 

As regards setup, the internet provider will typically determine the needed equipment depending on your subscription; also supply you with it.

 

Majorly, this equipment will be used:   

  • A DSL modem establishes the connection between the telephone line that contains the DSL service and your PC.
  • A router, which sends the data from your modem and delivers it to your PC
  • A line splitter, which features two connections, each for the DSL and the phone line.

 

Cable internet or DSL is so much different, as it works via the current coaxial cables used to send a cable to your office, and telephone lines. Similar to DSL, your internet provider will give you the needed equipment, like a cable modem against a DSL modem. The modem links up to a coaxial cable in your business premises, letting the signal be converted into data that are transferrable by your devices.

 

Moreover, cable internet operates on a shared network and this can reduce performance and lead to lag time during peak internet congestion times; this is a huge difference between DSL and cable.

 

DSL vs. Cable Internet: Availability

 

DSL and cable internet are both largely available all over the United States. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mentioned that almost 88 percent of the United States population can access at least one DSL provider in their area. Almost 89% of Americans can access the internet from at least one internet provider in their area. However, there are some restrictions.

 

About 37 percent of Americans can receive about 25 Mbps of internet speeds or faster. It is so much convenient to receive cable internet with speeds of 250 Mbps or more, however, gigabit speeds on cable are not common, only available to a few, 15 percent of the United States market. In addition, it is popular to have only one cable and DSL provider in your location. You can select one or the other, but it is not as popular as having an option between several cable and DSL companies.

 

DSL vs. Cable: Pricing

 

DSL and Cable internet almost cost the same in most cases, but we think cable is still the best deal since you can receive faster speeds and more dependable service at a nice price. Cable provides you numerous options, with promotional prices and package deals specially made to make things easier as you opt for a bundle.

 

DSL popularly has fixed rates, direct plans, and monthly commitments. You can land some best deals from DSL as well, though, and the no-contract option of DSL provides you more flexibility if you choose to cancel your subscription or change providers. Many DSL plans cost about $50 every month, which may or may not be a great deal. Paying such a huge amount is only worth it if you can get a speed of 25 Mbps or faster.

 

However, it is not if your internet provider will only provide you 5 – 10 Mbps download speeds – much slower than a cable provider could give you a similar price. Cable internet download speeds start from 10 – 1,000 Mbps. You can usually get low-priced plans for $50 per month or less. Or, you can pay between $60 and $100 per month for fast internet if you reside in a big family or have many mobile devices that use Wi-Fi every hour.  

 

DSL vs. Cable Internet: Price Comparison

 

Internet type

Price*

Download speed

Upload speed

DSL

$27.99–69.95 per month

.5–100 Mbps

.5–30 Mbps

Cable

$19.99–109.99 per month

10–1,000 Mbps

1–50 Mbps

 

On average, you should plan to spend around $50 to $60 per month for a nice cable or DSL internet connection. Deluxe cable packages with faster speeds will be more expensive. You will also need to consider extra fees for installation, a router and modem, and taxes.

 

What is the Cost of Installation?

 

For cable and DSL internet, installation often costs between $50 and $100 if you hire a professional to do it. You can always go for the DIY installation option, which reduces the fee drastically. Many DSL and cable internet providers also offer continuous promotions that allow you to waive the installation costs or receive a rebate through a VISA gift card – be sure to ask about receiving free installation when you register.

 

What is the Cost of the Equipment?

 

You will need a router and modem to get your internet working on your new device. You can go for a ‘gateway” rental (features modem and router combined0 from your internet provider, which often costs about $10 monthly. Some internet providers add the gateway to your monthly bill. Or, if you decide to save money on rental costs, you can purchase the equipment yourself.

 

  • Tip: DSL and cable providers both usually offer sweet deals to allow you to cut the price off your bill. When you register, ask if you can receive a VISA gift card, a modem/router, or a waiver on installation for free. You also can save money by packaging your internet with a cable TV or phone bundle. Read our article on reducing your internet bill for a list of important deals and promotions.

 

DSL vs. Cable: Speeds

 

Speed is the most obvious difference between DSL and cable internet. DSL is so big, reliable but not ready to slow down for any reason – its download is around 100 Mbps but often runs a bit slower.

 

Internet speed (download)

Things you can do online

5–10 Mbps

Web browsing

Checking email

Streaming video in SD on  one to two devices

25 Mbps

Downloading large files

Hosting Zoom video meetings

Playing online games with one or two players

50 Mbps

Organizing Zoom meetings with large groups

Streaming video in 4K on two to three devices

Playing online games with two to five players

100 Mbps

Running smart home security cameras in HD

Playing online games on five to 10 separate devices at a go

500 Mbps

Downloading several large files at a go.

Streaming video in 4K on ten devices at a go

Operating varieties of Wi-Fi smart home devices together

1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)

Doing almost anything online with no delays or slowdowns in service

 

Cable, on the other hand, resembles a souped-up Honda, allowing you to rev your Wi-Fi engine to the maximum if you wish. You can locate cable internet plans that transfer anywhere from 25 to 1,000 Mbps download speeds. Faster internet speeds are helpful if you make use of the internet for next-level stuff like content creation, online gaming, attending video chats with large groups, or operating home security cameras.

 

Cable plans also enable you to access mid-level speeds not really gigabit but still a bit faster than DSL. A cable internet plan within the range of 100 to 500 Mbps is ideal if you want the best speeds at a cheaper price that can support huge households.

 

Also, that doesn’t mean DSL is no good. Its top speed of 100 Mbps is often fast for most users. With 25 Mbps, which you possibly will find in most DSL market, is a string if you reside in a fairly small home (like, two to three people) and you use the internet often to check email. Stream in HD and use social media.

 

DSL vs. Cable Internet: Customer Experience

 

To understand the best DSL and cable p0roviders that put in their best for customers, perusing the breakdown of the 2020 customer reviews of HighSpeedInternet.com is important. EarthLink, a DSL internet provider was the leader of all the 15 internet providers covered.

 

Provider

Type

Overall customer rating

EarthLink

DSL and fiber**

4.01/5.00

Optimum

Cable

3.92/5.00

Windstream

DSL and fiber

3.88/5.00

Xfinity

Cable

3.88/5.00

AT&T

DSL and fiber

3.83/5.00

Spectrum

Cable

3.81 /5.00

CenturyLink

DSL and fiber

3.79/5.00

Frontier

DSL and fiber

3.77/5.00

RCN

Cable

3.61/5.00

Cox

Cable

3.60/5.00

Sparklight

Cable

3.60/5.00

Suddenlink

Cable

3.48/5.00

Mediacom

Cable

3.31/5.00

 

EarthLink (also a provider of fiber internet in some markets) tops the ranks all over the board, taking the leading spots for installation, technical support, customer service, billing, and more.

 

On the highest, a cable internet provider also works well, taking the third position for total customer satisfaction and receiving top rakings for tech support, billing, reliability, and customer service.

 

Xfinity, one of the largest cable internet providers in the United States, also score high marks, sitting in 5th position for total satisfaction. Xfinity was once known for poor customer service, but it’s improved over the past few years. It ranks first for speed and in the top five for other important categories such as reliability and customer service.

 

Our Thought 

 

While we understand the simplicity of DSL, we think cable internet is a better deal. It is faster, more stable, and provides you many options to select from. Whether you want the most affordable plan possible or something huge with gigabit speeds or cable TV to match, cable internet providers offer everything you need.

 

Conclusion

 

Regardless, there is no winner between DSL and Cable internet. They are both better and both serve the same purpose. If you desire fast internet speeds, consider cable internet; if you want affordability, go for DSL.

While DSL and cable might satisfy smaller or low-budget businesses, larger businesses must be mindful of the limitations of the technology.

Whenever you are ready to move, our top local moving companies are ready to take you to your destination at affordable rates.

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