Sunday, September 12, 2010

What is the Difference Between DSL and Cable Internet Connection?

DSL is an acronym for Digital Subscriber Line and is a technology that facilitates the transmission of digital data over a telephone line in such a way that a telephone conversation and data transmission can occur simultaneously. This is possible because the telephone conversation uses the lower portion of the bandwidth allocated (25KHZ).

The speed at which data transfer occurs in a DSL line can vary from 24Kbps to 24Mbps depending on various conditions under which the service is offered. When a subscriber has a DSL line installed, a DSL modem would also be required, in addition to a DSL filter for each phone connected to the line. The function of the DSL filter is to isolate the telephone from the high frequency components used for ISP data.

Cable Internet is a technology that uses existing cable TV infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity in pretty much the same fashion that DSL uses the existing telephone line. DSL was primarily developed as a competitor for cable Internet. Cable Internet provides broadband Internet access to the subscriber. Cable Internet is usually used in the last mile between the Internet provider and the subscriber. The data transmission speeds range from 2-50Mbps downstream (Service provider to User) and 384Kbps to 20Mbps upstream (subscriber to service provider).

Cable Internet requires a cable modem to be installed at the subscriber end and connected to the equipment at the service provider through coaxial cable. The distance between the equipment installed at the service provider's premises and the cable modem can be as large as 100 miles. The problem with cable Internet is that it is an 'Always On' connection and tends to slow down when too many subscribers using a single coaxial cable try to connect to the Internet. The capacity is large as a single downstream channel can support hundreds of subscriber connections.

Ms. Pinky is a Computer Support Specialist for more than 25 years. Has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering, MS Research work in Systems Engineering.

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