#TechExchange: Fiber-Optic Internet vs DSL -The Facts!

Fiber optic and DSL Internet deliver service in different ways. Remember DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line, one of the earliest technologies to revolutionize the Internet service industry and has been under continuous review to keep it relevant against other ever rising technologies like fiber optic data carriers.    

DSL Internet services carry a signal on existing copper phone lines in place nationwide. Electrical signals travel through copper wires to send data in both directions. This is a technology which rides over Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN), and multiplexed on the same copper lines which carry voice signals.

By Cisco Eng. Shingie Lev Muringi 

So what is the main difference between Fiber Optic Internet and the DSL powered connections? Fiber Internet lines send data by light through cutting-edge technology. Fiber Internet providers must build a network in areas it hopes to service.


Which option provides faster service?
Service performance depends on your location. Fiber optic Internet will provide higher throughput. With the right configuration settings, performance should be superior with fiber optic service. Its a technology which is not limited when it comes to capabilities, where the use of Dense-Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) can even double the bandwidth speeds.

A DSL Internet connection weakens the farther away it gets from the provider’s central office, causing slower Internet speeds. The phenomenon is called attenuation where data signals tend to lose vibrancy as the transmission lines move away from the main switching point.

What’s the cost fiber optic vs. DSL?
If a fiber optic network exists in your area, expect competitive pricing to DSL service packages. Otherwise, higher speed fiber optic packages cost more than DSL. However, you’ll find higher prices for DSL if it’s the only option in an area.

Generally, DSL Internet is less expensive, which is reflected in performance. Depending on how much speed you need, one option may be better than the other.

The benefits of Fiber Optics and DSL
Advantages of fiber optics:
RELIABLE | A fiber optic connection is less likely to go down in a power outage and less likely to receive interference from nearby power lines or electrical items.

FASTER | Fiber optic technology carries data at speeds that exceed DSL, providing faster upload and download speeds.

PRIVATE | You get a dedicated connection to your home and don’t have to share your Internet with neighbor. A fiber optic connection is also harder to hack.

SAFER | Because there is no electricity involved, there aren’t any fire hazard risks.

Advantages of DSL:
AVAILABILITY | You’ll find DSL in more places because it is delivered through existing phone lines.\

Speed: Where one is located closer to the switching point, the speeds are  amazingly good.

PRICE | Because of faster speeds, you will pay more for fiber optic Internet. However, if you want quality Internet at an affordable price, DSL can deliver that.

Both fiber and DSL offer fast enough speeds for families and businesses. In a competitive market with similar pricing, choose fiber optics. You’ll get higher speeds than with DSL.

The battle for relevance continues…follow Shingie Levison Muringi our Technology Research Specialist and Sub Editor on Twitter @ShingieMuringi1, Email [email protected] or direct Cell: 0775 380 652 for all the latest trending technological issues in and outside Zimbabwe.

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