Which internet option is the best for you in Nigeria between Cable vs. Fiber vs. DSL Internet? The download speed range for DSL internet is one to ten megabits per second. For cable, it’s five to 50 megabits per second. For fiber, it’s 250 to 1,000 megabits per second. The upload speed range for DSL internet is five to 35 megabits per second. For cable, it’s 10 to 500 megabits per second. For fiber, it’s 250 to 1,000 megabits per second.
Figuring out which high-speed internet plan to sign up for can be surprisingly daunting when you’re faced with three different types of internet connection: DSL, cable, and fiber optic. While they’re all significantly faster than old-school dial-up internet, they have notable differences worth considering. Below, we break down the differences among the internet types and identify some factors to consider when deciding which one to use.
How Cable Internet Works
Cable internet uses the same technology as cable television: data travels through a coaxial cable, often called “coax” for short. The contents are a copper core surrounded by a dielectric insulator, a woven copper shield, and an outer plastic layer.
Cable internet requires a cable modem at your home or office and a cable modem termination system at your operator’s location. The latter is what connects your modem to the internet.
A coax cable is more than capable of supplying an internet connection and television access at the same time, with plenty of bandwidth to spare. This is why the two services are often bundled together.
How Fiber Internet Works
A fiber optic cable contains glass or plastic fibers that transmit light instead of electricity. Your data, be it a phone call or a podcast, is contained within this light.
This process works because of total internal reflection. Anytime light hits a material, it may be absorbed, reflected, or refracted. If light gets absorbed trying to escape the cable, there’s no connection at the other end, and if it refracts through the cable, the data doesn’t make it to the other end it needs to continuously reflect from one end to the other end.
For this reason, fibers consist of two layers: core and cladding. The inside and outside layers are both made of glass, such as silicon dioxide. However, the exterior cladding may have other materials mixed in to achieve a lower index of refraction than the core. If the cladding has a higher index, the light will escape the cable during transmission.
How DSL Internet Works
DSL stands for digital subscriber line and is a type of technology used to transmit data over telephone lines. Unlike dial-up, DSL doesn’t prevent you from placing phone calls over a landline at the same time.
Because DSL uses existing phone lines, this can make it cheaper to deploy than cable or fiber internet, both of which often require digging trenches to bury cables underground.
Most customers have what is known as asymmetric DSL, meaning the download speeds are faster than the upload speeds. This concept probably sounds familiar, as it’s what most of us experience regardless of the type of internet we use.
Symmetric DSL does exist, with researchers having reached speeds over 1Gbps in both directions using transitional copper phone lines. In practice, however, DSL speeds are much slower.
Cable vs. Fiber vs. DSL Internet: Which Is Faster?
If it’s pure speed that you’re looking for, fiber optic internet is, without a doubt, the best choice. If it’s cost and convenience you prioritize, DSL’s the right choice for you. If you fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, you’ll probably do best with cable internet.
Download Speed Range
The download speed range for DSL internet is one to ten megabits per second. For cable, it’s five to 50 megabits per second. For fiber, it’s 250 to 1,000 megabits per second.
Upload Speed Range
The upload speed range for DSL internet is five to 35 megabits per second. For cable, it’s 10 to 500 megabits per second. For fiber, it’s 250 to 1,000 megabits per second.
Is Fiber Internet the best?
Fiber has many benefits over cable other than speed. Since fiber optic cables send data faster, they’re better suited for long-distance communication, which is why they power much of the internet.
Fiber internet connections are also less likely to go out during a power outage as there’s no electricity involved. Since they’re made of glass or plastic, they’re less susceptible to interference from power lines, electrical equipment, or lightning.
Cable internet has the advantage of availability. It’s typically offered wherever cable television exists, which means most non-rural areas have access to it. On the other hand, fiber is often limited to certain cities, and even within a city, only certain areas can have access to it.
DSL may be available in areas where cable and fiber are not, though telephone lines are no longer as essential as they once were. Cellular and satellite internet have increasingly replaced DSL as an internet option for people who cannot get cable or fiber.
As for cost, there’s a trade-off. Cable and DSL internet both rely on a company’s existing infrastructure (because cable TV and telephone lines have been around for decades) while fiber often requires laying down new cables in an area. On the other hand, fiber is cheaper to maintain over time. As for what consumers pay, plans are pretty comparable regardless of which one you choose.