Differences Between DSL Modems and Cable Modems

The Main Differences Between DSL Modems and Cable Modems

There are many options you can choose from whenever you want to connect your home to the internet. Today,  we’ll explore two options; DSL modems or Cable modems.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modems and Cable modems are communication tools that provide high-speed internet. If you’re not tech savvy, you may be forgiven for thinking they are the same thing, but they are not.

This guide will compare and look at the differences between these two types modems, starting with how they work;

How Do DSL & Cable Modems Work?

DSL modems are sometimes referred to as DSL transceivers. This is because they use telephone Digital Subscriber Line services to connect to the internet. DSL modems act as the communication point between your PC and the telephone.

This means DSL modems have to be physically connected to a DSL enabled telephone line to access the internet. Once connected, DSL modems send internet connectivity requests to the providers through DSLAM (DSL Access Multiplexer) channels.

Cable modems, on the other hand, convert signals from television cable lines for compatibility to access the internet. This means cable modems act as the connection point between your television cable line and your Pc. For this reason, you cannot use a cable modem to connect to a DSL service line and vice versa. Nowadays, most providers of Cable TV issue a Cable modem when setting up your home with Cable TV.


What about Latency?

Latency is the amount of time it takes a connection to send and receive a single information packet to the internet. In this respect, DSL modems provide faster latency times than cable modems, and therefore, more suitable for heavy internet users in streaming videos and online gaming.


Which Modem is More Secure?

Security is a priority for most people when accessing the internet. People don’t want malicious people or programs exploiting vulnerabilities in their connection’s security to steal their data and files.

With this issue of security, most people are divided in the middle as to which modem is more secure. However, the fact is that both the DSL and Cable modems are not immune to malicious attacks since they both provide an always-on internet connection.

That being said, there are several measures you can take to protect your data and files. For starters, make sure the firewall on your PC is activated. Secondly, install anti-malware and antivirus programs on your Pc, and update them regularly. Lastly, limit internet access to your files and folders.

Once you have sorted the issues mentioned above, install programs that test your LAN (Local Area Network) to detect security vulnerabilities in your internet connection. If you are not satisfied by your internet security at this point, you can beef it up by introducing a router to both your DSL or cable modem.


The take away here is that no modem can be considered safer than its counterpart. Both the DSL and cable modems are at risk of security breaches. However, both modems are relatively safe, especially if you take the necessary precautionary measures as addressed above.

It’s also important to note that, while these measures will make it that much harder for someone to exploit your internet connection, they won’t completely protect you from exploits and attacks.