Is DSL Internet Good and Reliable? DSL vs Fiber
There’s no doubt that we depend on internet technology for pretty much everything these days. Suffice it to say, gone are the days when fast internet was a luxury. Now, more than ever, fast and reliable internet is a necessity.
But finding the best Broadband Internet Service that fits your needs isn’t always easy. Since the two most common connection types today are DSL and fiber, we’ll go over each one to help you determine whether DSL internet is good enough for your needs or if you should upgrade to a fiber plan.
Before we tackle the debate of DSL vs Fiber, we need to understand what DSL and fiber are and how they each work.
DSL (“Digital Subscriber Line”) is an old-school method of bringing internet service to the home. Although it’s a relatively outdated type of internet, it still has a strong user base today in many rural areas and small towns.
How does DSL internet work?
If you’re wondering, “Why is DSL outdated technology?”; the fact alone that it depends on landline phone systems pretty much answers that question. DSL runs on pre-installed, traditional copper phone lines to deliver internet speeds and transmit digital data.
Now, because it operates on a different frequency than your landline phone, it means you can browse the internet and talk to your friend on the phone at the same time. This duality is what sets DSL apart from dial-up Internet, which is an even more old-fashioned option for accessing the internet.
Is DSL internet good for basic browsing?
Yes, DSL supports basic internet activities such as emailing, surfing the web, engaging on social media networks, and streaming in standard definition. Thus, it’s sufficient if you’re a single user or if you live in a small household with no more than three people, and you all only rely on the internet for basic functions.
If you believe that fiber is the future of Broadband technology– you’re right! Fiber Internet is an innovative technology on the Broadband market that’s earned a reputation for delivering internet at the speed of light.
How does fiber internet work?
The main difference between DSL and Fiber is that DSL depends on phone lines and fiber doesn’t. Fiber-optic internet lines are made up of hundreds of tiny strands of glass– and when we say tiny, we mean tiny. Like, roughly 1/10th the size of a single human hair! These uber-tiny glass strands use pulses of light to send and receive data. This technology creates photon signals that bring the internet to your home at the speed of light.
Is fiber internet good for basic browsing?
Fiber is more than good for just simple Internet surfing. It has a very high capacity for complicated activities. Some of these activities include online streaming on many devices simultaneously, streaming high-definition videos, online gaming, and joining Zoom meetings with multiple people.
Fiber optic vs DSL internet: Who wins the race?
While DSL internet is good for simple browsing, it doesn’t come close to fiber in terms of speed. Think of DSL as your grandpa’s 1958 Chevy– it’ll get the job done, but it’s never going to win a NASCAR race. Whereas fiber is a 2022 Bugatti Super Sport that will no doubt win any competition when it comes to pure speed.
To get more specific on the speeds these two internet technologies provide, we need to talk about their download and upload speeds.
If you’re looking at DSL vs satellite internet in terms of speed, you’ll be pretty content with DSL because your speeds will be comparably faster. However, when we take a look at DSL vs Fiber optic in the speed category, fiber always comes out on top.
Because DSL uses outdated technology to carry data, it typically delivers download speeds between 1 and 25 Mbps, according to recent information gathered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Now, depending on where you live, you may be able to access DSL speeds up to 100 Mbps. Although, these speeds are usually only available in a limited number of areas.
Fiber is currently the fastest form of internet connection available to the public. Because it leverages pulses of light to send data rather than a landline telephone infrastructure as DSL does, it can transmit digital information at much faster rates. In general, most fiber plans provide download speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps; however, there are options available on the market with speeds around 2,000 Mbps or higher.
There’s no denying that download speed is the most common benchmark when comparing general speeds for various internet service providers. But we can’t forget how important upload speed is to ensure a smooth and fast internet experience.
Your internet upload speed measures the rate at which you can send data from your device to another device or server that’s on the internet. So, a fast upload speed means that you don’t have to wait long for your new photo to upload on Instagram. Likewise, when you’re Zooming with your boss, a good upload speed ensures you provide a high-quality picture and sound while you’re chatting.
If you want to know if DSL internet is good for strong upload speeds, you’ll be bummed to find out that it usually only provides upload speeds between 1 and 8 Mbps. While that’ll suffice for basic internet functions, it’ll leave you frustrated at your computer when multiple people in your home are using the internet at the same time for various purposes. So, if you don’t want to invest in internet speed boosters (which still wouldn’t give you comparable speeds to fiber), you may want to consider a fiber internet plan.
Fiber is the only type of internet technology that provides users with symmetrical upload and download speeds. Thus, the speeds that fiber users can access are unparalleled among all internet service providers on the market.
But speed isn’t everything, right?
In addition to download and upload speeds, a solid internet service provider will be reliable, give unlimited bandwidth, and its subscription fees won’t leave a huge dent in your wallet. So, let’s go over these other aspects to help you determine if DSL internet is good for your needs or if you should consider upgrading to a fiber plan.
Just like the car you drive, its capability for speed means nothing if it’s not dependable. After all, excellent acceleration isn’t cool if your car breaks down every month and leaves you abandoned on the highway on your way to work.
The copper wires that DSL rely on are sensitive to harsh weather and temperature changes which can cause them to break. And, since DSL also relies on electricity to transmit data, the electromagnetic currents can cause the copper wires to deteriorate at a rapid rate. This means more outages and less stable connections.
As the same goes for its speeds, there’s no question that fiber is unbeatable when it comes to its reliability. Fiber optics can endure severe weather conditions and are less susceptible to outages compared to DSL.
The question, “Is DSL internet good in terms of bandwidth?” doesn’t give a black-or-white answer. This is because your bandwidth needs depend on how many people use your internet at the same time and what you use your internet for.
For example, DSL will probably meet your bandwidth needs if you’re just using the internet for simple web surfing, streaming tv shows, and checking your email. But, if you have a large family or live with roommates, you might want to look at internet options that have a larger bandwidth capacity.
Fiber, on the other hand, enables multiple people to connect on a variety of devices and use the internet for different purposes all at once. So, to ensure your movie doesn’t stop streaming when your roommate hops on a Zoom call, you might want to consider a fiber internet plan.
The prices for DSL and fiber plans will vary depending on your provider and where you live, but in most cases, fiber will be a better-priced option for the speeds and reliability you’ll get. While fiber plans that offer the fastest speeds on the market can get costly, a basic level fiber plan will still provide better internet service than a DSL plan.
So, when asking yourself, “is DSL internet good enough for my internet needs” you need to think about what you use the internet for, how many people you share the internet with, and if the price you pay will be worth the service you’ll receive.
Before we wrap up the debate between these two internet technologies, we can’t leave without addressing fiber and DSL internet for gaming. With the Covid pandemic making online gaming an even more popular at-home activity, we need to go over how these two types of internet affect gaming experience.
Is DSL internet good for gaming?
Since online gaming typically requires the instantaneous transmission of video, sound, and voice commands, a DSL connection might not have the bandwidth capacity to support a smooth experience. While DSL speeds can suffice for single-player games, they may not be enough to support complicated, action-packed games. This is because DSL has limited bandwidth and higher latency.
Is DSL internet good for multiple gamers?
This is a tricky question. Whether or not a DSL connection can support a multiplayer game depends on how much information the game requires and at what rate that data needs to be sent and received to ensure an optimal experience. But, for the most part, the more players involved in any online game, the faster and more reliable connection you’ll need.
Fiber for serious gamers
It’s no secret that fiber internet provides an unparalleled gaming experience– no matter how many players are participating. If you take your online game scores seriously, you’ll have a smoother, lag-free, and more reliable gaming experience with fiber. Thus, you’ll never have to worry about your connection dropping right before you’re about to beat your opponent.
So, which is better– DSL or fiber?
In conclusion, the pros and cons of DSL internet compared to the pros and cons of fiber-optic internet make fiber the better choice. Now, this doesn’t mean that DSL internet isn’t good, but it does mean that it doesn’t live up to fiber in supporting our internet needs today.
Sure, DSL was great for writing on your cousin’s Facebook wall and sending instant messages to your friends on AIM. But fiber is the future and is necessary to keep up with today’s lifestyle of large Zoom conferences, high-tech gaming, and uploading and sharing Tik Toks.
Your dedicated Internet service provider
At 24-7 & West Wisconsin Telcom, we build fiber-optic communities from the ground up. Contact us to learn about our competitive fiber internet plans and change the way you use the internet today.