With an ever-increasing demand for high-speed, high-quality internet connections, more homes and businesses are opting for fiber, rather than ADSL for their internet connection. A lot of users don’t really understand the difference between the two though. There’s a common conception that fiber is faster, which, in most cases, it is, or that it’s “just better”. Here’s a look at the differences between fiber and ADSL and which is the best option for you.
ADSL stands for Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line and is an internet connection that uses the twisted pair copper-wiring of standard telephone lines to bring internet into your home or office. In general, it’s the cheaper option and tends to be more readily available than fiber. However, for heavy internet traffic requiring fast download speeds, it may not suffice.
The overall pros of ADSL are that it’s a more budget-friendly option, is widely available and offers a fairly secure, stable connection. The cons – because ADSL uses copper telephone wires, it’s more susceptible to bottlenecks if there are a number of internet users in the area, as you all receive your internet through the same line. These copper wires are also vulnerable to wear and tear or weather damage. Speed is also affected by your distance from the nearest public exchange – the greater the distance from the telephone exchange, the more it will slow your connection. ADSL also requires an active telephone line, which you would probably need to pay for.
The demand for this type of internet connection has risen drastically over the last few years. It differs from ADSL in that, rather than using telephone lines, it uses specialized fiber optic cables to transmit data in the form of light impulses. The cabling tends to be thinner, lighter and more durable than its copper counterpart. This, and the difference in speed, is why fiber is typically used for permanent long-distance cabling.
One of the major pros and the reason most people switch to fiber is that it can be as much as 50 times faster than ADSL, as data transmission is only really limited by the speed of light. It offers a clear and reliable connection and cables last longer and are far less likely to be stolen than copper. The main disadvantages are limited availability, especially in rural areas, and that it costs substantially more than ADSL.
Because of increasing demand, many home internet providers are offering fiber in areas where it wasn’t previously available, and both fiber and ADSL offer a range of speeds. When it comes to what you need though, it all depends on your internet usage. For home use, or a very small business with just a few connected devices, a decent ADSL line will suffice. For larger companies with higher volumes of traffic, requiring high-speed internet, fiber is your best bet. As a home user, if you use your internet connection to stream or game online, you may also want to opt for fiber.