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DSL vs. Cable Broadband Internet

Table Of Content

DSL vs. Cable – Let the Duel Begin

In the highly competitive world of broadband Internet, there are two MVPs: DSL and Cable.  For having such different ways of connecting to the Internet, why are they compared so often?  They are both high-speed and reliable, so why is there such heated debate over which one is better?

As we attempt to answer these mind-boggling questions and more, we will compare the two on the basis of: speed, reliability, total costs incurred, security and support.

Connection Speed

  • DSL- DSL connection speeds are often comparable with cable speeds (1-2 Mbps usually), however because they are distance sensitive, the farther you live from your service provider's central office, the slower your connection will be.
  • Cable- cable modem speeds are almost always at least 1-1.5 Mbps and sometimes faster depending on how many users are logged on.  But like DSL, there are many factors, including general Web traffic that can add to slower speeds, not just the amount of users online.

Reliability and Availability

Both cable and DSL connections pass the reliability test.  In general, both connections have good performance and are reliable, with occasionally slower speeds.

  • DSL- is not available in all areas, but is usually available in urban areas.  Check with your service provider to see if you can get it.
  • Cable- cable Internet is available to anyone who can receive cable television.  Check with your cable television provider to see if they also provide cable Internet.

The Cost of Your Connection

  • DSL- DSL is a little more expensive than cable.  Although self-installation is becoming easier and more cost-efficient, it is still priced a little higher.  Also, monthly service fees are slightly higher than cable on average.   There are many DSL internet service providers to choose from.
  • Cable- cable wins when it comes to the price.  Based on installation and monthly service fees, cable is usually a better bet if price is an issue.  Look around for the best deals on cable connections.


Once again, DSL and cable have a tie.  With either connection, you are “always-on,” meaning your connection never shuts off even when you aren’t using the computer.  Therefore, both connections are susceptible to viruses and other evils that lurk in the depths of the Internet.  For this reason, we always suggest purchasing or downloading antivirus software and a firewall.


  • DSL- Some DSL providers don’t have the best reputation for customer service, but they do have ample knowledge.
  • Cable- Cable Internet service providers generally have better service and will respond to customer requests faster.

*Rule of thumb:  check with your service provider about their customer service features and policies before signing up.

DSL or Cable, Which One is Right for You?

Whether this debate will ever be resolved is questionable.  We can tell you that by studying this criteria and knowing the facts, either one will serve its purpose.  Whatever you choose, be sure your provider is reliable and offers tech support should the need arise.

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