DSL vs Cable Modem

What is the Difference Between a DSL and a Cable Modem?

You enjoy being connected at home via an internet connection that offers high speed internet. You happily browse through various websites and stream movies or play online games but do you know what type of a modem you have? Is it a DSL modem or a cable modem?

Does this sound all Greek to you? Well, even though these modems do their job in ensuring you are always connected, there are differences in them that may open to your eyes onto why your speeds are the way they are or even why you experience drops at certain times of the day.

Let’s find out what are the differences between a DSL modem and a cable modem.

DSL Modem

DSL and Internet Lights on a Router

A DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modem delivers internet via the copper wires in your dedicated phone line. A cable modem brings high speed internet to your home via the coaxial cables which carry your television signals. This means that if you have a DSL modem, you will have a stable connection as your connection goes directly to you and only you. This is great if you’re looking to have a reliable and uninterrupted internet connection in your home. However, this is also highly dependent on the distance from your home and your ISP’s home base as the connectivity deteriorates over distance.

Cable Modem

Cable Modem

However, a cable modem works through the cable lines and this means that the cable lines which deliver television to your neighborhood also deliver internet to everyone else. This cable is shared, and while cable does offer faster speeds, you also face interference when everyone is home and online at peak hours.

Cable modems have grown in popularity over the years, breaking the hold that DSL modems held for so long. Many may argue that a DSL modem and connection is far more secure than a cable one simply due to the dedicated line, others stand by cable for the security features. You have to keep in mind that a DSL modem’s performance will be distance dependent as users will find a drop off in performance as the range between the ISP home base and your home increases.

Cable modems happily do not face this problem as the data transferred does not degrade over distance. This is great for people who live further away or who are looking for faster connectivity.

All in all, our final verdict depends on what your final usage will be, what is available in your area or even what kind of electronic devices you have in your home. You may get frustrated with your cable modem during peak hours when your bandwidth faces heavy traffic which can affect the quality of your movie that you are trying to watch.

Also, as a DSL modem offers downstream speeds up to 15 Mbps as compared t 100 Mbps of a cable modem, you may want to rethink what type you want to purchase if your internet needs are a lot. You just have to balance your priorities between the reliability and consistency of a DSL modem or the fast speeds of a cable modem. Only then will you be able to make the right choice for your home.

About the Author tomas

Hey, it's Tomas here! I'm the founder and chief editor here at BlueGadgetTooth. After spending hours explaining my parents how to hook up their Internet, why it's being so slow etc. I decided to start this blog to help people with their gadgets and questions about technology.