If you’ve been looking around the market for an internet provider, you’ve most likely come across the terms fiber optics and DSL. Understanding what these terms mean moves you closer to choosing the right connection for your home or business.
What Is Fiber Optics?
Fiber optic internet refers to a type of connection that utilizes fiber optic cables to transmit data. Fiber optic cables are called so because of the thin glass wires (fiber) inside the cable and because of the way data is transmitted through light signals (optics).
DSL, or digital subscriber line on the other hand refers to a type of connection that transmits internet through telephone lines. In the past, dial-up internet via the phone meant that you could not be connected to the internet and use the phone at the same time. DSL made it possible to separate the frequencies used by telephone and internet, therefore allowing simultaneous use of the two.
There are differences that exist between fiber optics and DSL that go beyond the mode of transmission. Understanding these differences will enable you make an informed decision when choosing connection for your home and business.
As you may have already guessed, fiber optic speeds are definitely higher than DSL speeds. Think about the speed at which light travels, and then give some wiggle room to allow bouncing of signals across the fibers. Now in terms of numbers, we are talking about speeds of up-to 1Gbps (1000Mbps) for fiber optic and about 6Mbps for DSL. Even for the uninitiated, it is easy to see that the speeds for fiber optics are very tempting for any user. So why isn’t everyone on fiber optic connection? This question shall be answered later on in this article.
A fiber optic connection will allow you to do virtually anything you require such as downloading and uploading files, streaming TV and movies, playing games and even connecting multiple devices to the internet. A DSL connection on the other hand is more suitable for more basic emails such as browsing the web, sending and receiving emails and even downloading e-books.
Fiber optic internet is more reliable than DSL internet because it does not suffer interruptions from factors such as power outages.
Which brings us to the question earlier asked-why isn’t everyone on fiber optics if it is so reliable? Well, for starters, fiber optics requires installation of fiber optic cables, which really cannot be installed on a single customer basis. Most internet providers Canada will opt to install these cables in densely populated urban areas where there is a higher customer base.
Fiber optics is also more expensive than DSL, and more so because unlike DSL which utilizes available infrastructure, fiber optics requires new infrastructure. Because of these two reasons, a lot of people will opt for DSL connections. Bigger organizations will often find it necessary to go the extra mile and get fiber optics, especially when it makes more sense to go this way. Bigger organizations also have a bigger budget to work with as compared to smaller businesses.
Whichever connection you prefer, it is important to ensure your connection needs are well-articulated and met by your internet service provider.