What is the Difference between Cable and DSL Modems?

Everyone needs internet access nowadays. Not only internet access for their smartphone, but more people prefer to use cable TV or DSL modem in their house. But, do you know what the difference between cable and DSL modem? They are two different type of internet access that available according to your needs and other circumstances. So, before installing them at home, ensure you know what kind of internet access will work better for you.

What is Cable and what is DSL Modem?

Understanding the difference between cable and DSL modem become more easily as you learn about the definition of them like in the following.

Cable Modem

Cable Modem

Nowadays, more houses install TV cable. Well, the existing cable television lines can be used as a cable modem to transmit digital data including internet connection. For transmission, you need a modem. Usually, the service provider will provide a modem as included in the TV cable plan. However, if you want to save a monthly service bill, you can purchase your own modem. Then, you can connect the modem to a coaxial cable jack. The modem will convert the signal from the provider to one of your devices, so it can send and receive data.

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DSL Modem

DSL stands for digital subscriber link that means a cable connection that use phone line at home to provide internet service. DSL is different with dial-up. It won’t tie up your phone line while accessing it for the internet. Moreover, DSL is much faster than dial-up.

If you already have an internal model or voice-band modem in your computer, you can use it to “dial-in” the internet access through your phone landline that connected to your USB port. Otherwise, you need to purchase an external modem. However, you can ask your phone service provider whether they offer free modem or modem included into your subscription plan.

Difference between Cable and DSL Modems

What are the Differences?

Actually, from the definition above, we can already see briefly the difference between cable and DSL modem. However, to be clearer, we can lay the differences out into more categories in the following.

  1. Location

Not all locations can obtain cable or DSL service because the providers’ service may not available in your area. People living in the city mostly have no problem to install cable or DSL modem. Conversely, people living in the rural area are more likely unable, because it might hard to find providers offer service in this type of area.

Location doesn’t only determine whether you can obtain the service or not, but also the performance of the signals of the modem. Mostly, location affects DSL modem because it is distance-sensitive. The closer the modem is located to the DSL provider’s central office or hub, the performance is getting stronger. Using the Best CenturyLink DSL Modem also helps to get better speed. When the DSL wiring is getting farther, it means the signal will degrade. Although the range of DSL modems is about 18,000 feet, they work better within a range of about 9,000 to 10,000 feet. In other hand, cable modems don’t have a distance limitation. The materials of cable modems that transmit data don’t degrade signals over long distances.

  1. Speed

Talking about DSL vs Cable Speed, there is a big difference. DSL modems are capable of providing maximum downstream speeds of 1.5 to 15 Mbps with upstream speeds of 128 kbps to 1 Mbps. In another hand, the internet speed of cable modems can reach maximum downstream speeds of 25 to 100 Mbps with upstream speeds of 2 to 8 Mbps. Cable internet is a way faster than DSL. However, in fact, cable modems rarely reach its maximum speeds.

Yet, you should take a note that the sharing of cable line can affect the speed of the internet. If there are more houses sharing the available bandwidth of a single cable line and use it at the same time, the performance is getting slower. But, that’s not the same case with DSL.

  1. Consistency

Related to the speed factor, sharing the bandwidth will affect the consistency of internet performance. As mentioned previously, cable internet provides a block of bandwidth to an entire neighbourhood. So, all houses in the neighbourhood that install cable modems will share a single cable line to get internet access. It means, when more houses using the internet at the same time, the speeds will be drastically degraded. Moreover, when they use the connection heavily such as downloading big data, the other houses’ connections will move very slowly. So, the performance of cable modems can be very frustrating, especially during peak hours.

On the other hand, the consistency of DSL internet performance is relatively stable. The reason is that DSL modems use a phone line to transfer data. So, the internet data will be transferred from the ISP to the home directly without the need of sharing it with other households.

Accordingly, when you need to choose between DSL Vs Cable for Gaming, DSL modems will be a better option. Especially when you need to play online games such as MMO or MOBA, the stability of internet performance is highly required. If you use a cable modem, playing online games during peak hours isn’t recommended. However, if you use DSL modem, you don’t really need to be worried too much, unless the connection from the provider is down.

  1. The Devices

Don’t consider DSL vs Cable speed from the internet performance only, but you need to look at your computer devices too. The condition of your computer can also affect the internet performance. The older computers usually can’t handle high-speed connections, though it still in good condition. In other hand, newer computers are usually designed with hardware that can support high-speed connections. For example, cable modem provider usually recommends have a computer with at least a 1.5 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. So, upgrading your computer allows you to get a better internet connection.

Besides that, you also need to look at the health of your computer. Ensure it is free from malicious software such as spyware and viruses that can hinder the internet speeds. You need to do routine maintenance tasks such as removing viruses and spyware, clearing cache, and so on.

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Final Words

Some people might also consider the security when choosing internet connection between cable and DSL modems. However, both connections have their own security risks. So, you need to follow by activating and routinely updating firewall programs, including anti-virus and anti-malware, to secure your connections.

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