DSL VS Cable Internet Connection

DSL VS Cable Internet Connection: Which One is Better? 

DSL VS Cable Internet Connection

Never has there been a time in history when people depended on internet connections than the present. And as such, people only want the fastest and most reliable internet connection. With that in mind, we will compare DSL internet connection to cable internet connection to determine the best option for your home.

We know that both DSL and cable connections are superior to dial-up connections as they offer high-speed and ‘always on’ internet, which automatically connects once you open your browser. Interestingly enough, DSL modems and cable modems use different technologies to provide high-speed internet.

The technology used in DSL and Cable Internet

As mentioned earlier, DSL modems use Digital Subscriber Line services from telephone lines to provide an internet connection. These telephone cables are made of copper, which is a good modem for transmitting and receiving signals from the internet.

The cable is made up of numerous copper wires inside them, where each wire is cleverly designated to either provide telephone service or internet service to avoid interference. The takeaway here is that DSL internet is achieved through telephoning infrastructure.

On the other hand, cable internet service uses cable TV infrastructure for internet access, which is more often than not comes from the same cable TV providers. Just as with DSL internet, cable internet is high-speed and is delivered through a cable.

The difference is that cable internet is received and transmitted through coaxial cables, which also establish television service. These cables are designed to establish internet and television services concurrently so that you don’t have to sacrifice one service for the other.

Speed Comparison between DSL Internet and Cable Internet

As stated earlier, DSL internet provides high-speed Internet connections. This is because DSL internet is designed asymmetrically, where it assigns more bandwidth for downloads rather than uploads resulting in fast download speeds.

Based on data from providers such as AT&T and Verizon, the average download speeds of DSL internet range between 5Mbps and 15Mbps, while upload speeds range between 5Mpbs and 8Mbps. This makes DSL internet more suitable for most people as statistics indicate that the average internet user downloads more than they upload.

Cable internet is typically faster than DSL internet despite having longer latency times. Data from providers such as Comcast and Time Warner indicate that cable internet has average download speeds that range between 12Mbps and 17Mbps, while upload speeds range between 3Mbps and 5Mbps. This makes cable internet for downloading large files such as games and movies.

Cost of Installation and Internet Service Subscription

As long as telephoning infrastructure (telephone lines) is still in place, the opportunity to establish a DSL internet connection will be readily available to consumers. The availability of telephoning infrastructure coupled with the fact that cable providers offer faster internet speeds has driven the cost of DSL internet down to remain competitive.

Cable internet is more expensive than DSL internet but not by a huge margin. Therefore, one can easily overlook the margin and opt for cable internet as it considered to be faster, more efficient and reliable than DSL internet.


Distance from the Main Hub

For most DSL internet services, the distance between your router and the main hub affects data transfer speeds. For consumers with DSL internet services, the closer you are to the main hub the better for you as it will result in faster speeds. The vice versa is true. However, in cases where providers have upgraded their infrastructure to ADSL2+, the data transfer speeds are not affected by one’s proximity to the main hub.

Cable internet, on the other hand, is not affected by one’s proximity to the main hub. For cable internet, the average data transfer speeds remain constant from one user to another whether they are 1 mile or 20 miles away from the main hub.


Bandwidth Sharing

When it comes to bandwidth sharing, DSL internet service has the edge over cable internet as it allocates bandwidth independently. This means that every subscriber of the DSL service is allocated their bandwidth which results in consistent data transfer speeds.

Cable services use bandwidth sharing to establish internet connectivity. This means that subscribers of cable internet services share bandwidth with other subscribers from their region, and this results in slower connections at specific times of the day. As the percentage of online users increases in a cable network, more bandwidth is taken up, leaving you with less bandwidth allocation which results in slower speeds.


How DOCSIS Affect Cable Internet

DOCSIS or (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) is a communication technology that regulates data transfer in cable lines. DOCSIS 3.0 is the latest DOCSIS standard and provides faster data transfer speeds than DOCSIS 2.0. Cable internet providers that have upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0 record speeds data transfer speeds of over 100Mbps while those under DOCSIS 2.0 record much slower speeds at 30Mbps.

Pros and Cons DSL Internet:-


  • Faster latency times than cable internet
  • Cheap cost of installation and service subscription
  • Unlimited number of bandwidth allocation (no bandwidth sharing with other subscribers)


  • Slower data transfer speeds than cable internet
  • The speed of data transfers is affected by your distance from the main hub


Pros and Cons Cable Internet:-


  • Faster data transfer speeds than DSL internet
  • More efficient than DSL internet
  • Ideal for downloading large files
  • Distance from the main hub does not affect data transfer speeds
  • Cable internet can be upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0 for even faster speeds


  • More expensive than DSL service
  • Slower latency times than DSL internet
  • High chances of experiencing slower download speeds at certain times of day when there’s a lot of traffic



We’ve differentiated between DSL and Cable internet service, and it is clear that each connection type has its strengths and weaknesses relative to the counterpart connection. Based on the information we have provided above, we believe we have equipped you with the right tools to enable you to establish the most suitable internet service between DSL and cable internet.

And to conclude, we’ve established that DSL internet service is ideal for a casual internet user. It is suitable to handle routine office computing tasks such as research, web surfing, checking and responding to emails as well as updating company servers. DSL internet also makes a lot of sense if you want to minimize your spending on internet data.

However, if you’re running a large business and your daily work routine involves transferring large data and media files, you’re better off with installing cable internet service even though it costs more than a DSL service. This is because it has faster data transfer speeds than DSL internet and is more efficient as well.