DSL vs Fiber Internet - Know the Differences

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Category: Internet
Posted on: 08/21/2020
DSL vs Fiber Internet - Know the Differences

DSL, cable, satellite, fiber… There are many ways to access the internet. Depending on your internet needs, you may need or want faster download speeds. DSL is a widely used internet option that is readily available and generally low cost; however, depending on the availability of service in your area, fiber internet may be an alternative worth checking out. It is becoming more popular due to its blazing fast speeds and reliability.

While both DSL and fiber can provide you with access to basic internet services, fiber can do it much, much faster. If you plan to take advantage of smart technology, work from home, download movies, or play games, you will definitely want to check out fiber internet. There are some major differences between the two services. To help you decide which is best for you, here are some things to consider.

DSL Internet

DSL Internet works by using your existing telephone line to connect to the web. Your phone line is attached to a DSL modem, which has plugs for both phone and internet service. Because the internet and phone service use different bandwidths, both services can be used at the same time. 

Add a router with Wi-Fi, and you can connect multiple devices in your home. DSL tends to be a lower-cost alternative and is accessible for anyone who already has a telephone landline. Still, the speeds vary depending on how close you are to the telephone company’s facility and the different DSL options available through your provider. 

Fiber Internet

Fiber optic internet uses extremely small, flexible glass wires to carry coded signals using pulses of light. This allows the signal to travel very fast with great reliability. Fiber is the backbone of the internet. Cables are buried in the ground or laid on the bottom of the ocean and connect the whole world. Transmitting data through these glass fibers is much faster than the use of copper telephone wires, and allows the data to travel great distances without breaking down. 

To install fiber internet, you first need the fiber optic lines hooked up to your house. Then, add a fiber modem and a wireless router. The modem must be capable of converting the light signals coming through the fiber to digital signals your computer can read. The router needs to keep up with the higher speeds and provide wireless capabilities to the rest of your devices.


When comparing DSL and fiber internet, the difference in speed is astounding. DSL speeds typically top out at 15 Mbps, while fiber internet has speeds up to 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps). That is over 60 times faster! Fiber is clearly your better choice if you download movies or music or play real-time multiplayer online games. If you stick to Google searches, sending and receiving emails and pictures, downloading e-books, or just don’t mind waiting longer, DSL works just fine. 


Fiber internet is very reliable. It does not rely on electricity, and the cables are extremely durable, which makes them more trouble-free. DSL is subject to power outages and interference from other electrical equipment. Phone lines are installed in a variety of places, including being buried and across power poles, which makes them vulnerable to all kinds of weather and human-made problems. And, as mentioned earlier, depending on how close you are to the telephone company’s central office determines speed and reliability. 


More than anything, whether the service is available in your area might be the biggest factor in deciding whether to choose DSL or fiber internet. Fiber internet relies on an infrastructure of fiber cables being installed in your area. Typically, service providers install fiber in large, densely populated areas to reach the greatest number of customers. It is usually not cost-effective for providers to install cables to reach just a few households or businesses in less populated areas. If you live in a more remote area, fiber internet may not be an option for quite some time. On the other hand, almost everyone has a home telephone line, so DSL is readily available in most areas. 


DSL is generally a lower-cost option, but fiber internet providers are offering some great deals to win new customers, so definitely check it out. Also, if you desire faster speeds, you can’t rely on price alone for your decision. If both services are available in your area, compare the costs of similar services and options, as well as bundled services, to see which one works best for your needs and budget. Don’t forget to factor in purchasing or renting modems and routers as they are not interchangeable between these services.


There are not a lot of differences in the number of options each provides, but there may be differences in features. Just like DSL internet can be bundled with DSL TV and phone, fiber providers can offer fast internet, telephone service, and fiber TV options. Check with the provider to see what packages they offer.

Time to Choose: DSL or Fiber?

If you are looking for cutting edge technology to work from home, download movies, and perhaps run your smart appliances, definitely check out fiber internet if it is available in your area. It is definitely the wave of the future, and depending on your lifestyle, you may desire more and more internet at higher speeds very soon. If fiber is not available in your area, then DSL is definitely a great option. 

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