Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cable or DSL Broadband?

I've been asked this question so many times I thought I'd put my thoughts down here for you to read. Let's start by pointing out a couple things first. First off, depending on where you live, you may not have a choice of access. Satellite may be your only choice, which makes this null and void. Don't fret, satellite is better than any dial-up and the contract lengths are generally 12-14 months in length. It will cost a bit more, given the extra equipment involved, but it certainly beats dial-up (if you can afford it).

Ok, on to the two major broadband access methods, cable and DSL. When I'm asked this question, I usually follow it with questions of my own.

1st. What type of internet surfing do you do? Are you a gamer, shopper, email user, web developer, music downloader, online video watcher, video editor or casual surfer?

2nd. How many computers will you have connected to the internet at one time?

3rd. Do you plan on 'leveraging' your broadband investment for home security or VoIP? (Voice over Internet Protocol is a method of making and receiving your phone calls using your broadband connection.)

When making your decision keep in mind that cable access, generally, cost more. The higher cost comes with the benefits of more speed. Up to 6 meg download, or the amount of information you can receive 'down' from the internet.

Loading web pages, listening to music online or watching video online are all impacted by your download speed. DSL is about 1.5 meg down in comparison. Not only does this impact 'your' surfing behavior, but if you plan to have more than 1 computer access the internet at the same time, keep in mind you're 'sharing' this connection. Sharing the connection means sharing that download 'pipe'. (your internet connection) Uploading to the internet (file attachments in email, uploading web pages, etc. impact your upload speed. Cable upload speeds are around 384K while DSL is around 128K.

If you wish to leverage your investment in broadband by using VoIP, keep in mind that DSL is provided through the copper wires of your phone line. Having VoIP as a primary phone line without local phone service is very, very rare. This type of access is called 'naked DSL' and is not very common. We hope this will change in time, but for now, check with your local phone company. If you plan on leveraging your investment, check first.

So the answer to the question Cable or DSL is really all about your usage and what you're willing to pay. Yes, cable is more expensive but it also comes with the additional benefits of faster speed and the ability to leverage your investment using VoIP as a primary phone service.

Lastly, when I'm asked what I personally use at home? I use cable broadband access and VoIP phone service. I'm very pleased with both and don't plan on changing any time soon.

If you're still unsure which is right for you, there are many web sites out there to provide you with additional information. Our site can help you as well so we hope to see you there!

Happy surfing.

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