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What You Need to Know About DSL vs Cable Internet


What You Need to Know About DSL vs Cable Internet


Rural life has its many benefits, but good internet connections aren't one of them.

At Wavedirect, we want you to know that you have more than a few internet service options.

We will also do a full comparison between DSL connections vs coaxial Cable internet.




To get DSL in a rural area, the maximum coverage is usually only within 1km from the

edge of town. Other than that your choices are pretty much limited to 3G, 4G or LTE

from a mobile wireless carrier if available or satellite internet.


Your standard cable internet connection doesn't usually run in rural areas due to the cost of the cable network or running new telephone lines with DSL.


Both DSL and Mobile networks have their issues, but are there other alternatives?

Fixed Wireless internet (WISP) is a better option for many rural residents. Not only does it make internet access more available, most WISPs provide faster speeds than DSL. Rural high speed internet can have comparable connection speeds and be faster than DSL.


Before we get to WISP, let's talk about the pros and cons of Cable vs DSL internet.

DSL vs Cable Internet


DSL stands for "Digital Subscriber Line" The internet signal runs along your existing phone lines into your home for data transmission. It works like this: When someone calls you on a regular landline, the signal is a very low frequency using up only a small amount of the shared bandwidth.


That means there's a lot of “extra space" that can be used for another signal. This is where DSL comes in and both informational signals will still be well under peak usage for the line.


An internet data signal is sent at a much higher frequency "piggybacking" on top of your standard phone line for your DSL service.


When both signals get to your house, a splitter separates the signal sending the phone portion one way and the data portion the other way to your computer. It's actually much more complicated than that, but a very clever way to use existing phone lines to get the internet to your house.


Since even rural areas have land lines, DSL is usually the only option. The downside of DSL is that it can be a little slower than cable or fiber. While in urban areas DSL vs Cable internet isn't much of an issue as far as quality is concerned, it becomes a huge issue where rural areas are concerned and who can offer service.


A DSL signal becomes weaker and slower the longer it has to travel especially with symmetric DSL. Your standard landline isn't affected as much by distance because carrying a voice signal requires little energy.


However, sending a robust internet data signal through a phone line is an entirely different matter. What if you want to change internet providers for a stronger signal and a faster download speed?


You're out of luck with DSL.


There are different carriers to go with, but there's only so much they can do to boost the signal or offer higher bandwidth. It simply isn't possible no matter what company you are, as many a speed test has proven.


Cable Internet:

Cable internet is another story altogether, with larger data caps or being completely unlimited.

This is a much better option for several reasons. For one thing, signal loss is nearly eradicated because the cable is sheathed in copper, greatly reducing signal loss. This is great for both Mbps downstream and your upload speeds.


This is why most cities made the effort to wire up every street and building with cable long ago: it makes for a faster internet experience. People with cable can enjoy things like Alexa home automation or set up networked devices for their new smart home. WiFi security cameras for instance.


Since cable internet signals can be relayed many times without much loss, most people in urban areas rarely notice and lag time in cable internet speed. Downloading and uploading can also be boosted through a better provider of their choosing and upgrade packages to higher bandwidth.


Unfortunately, that's not the case with rural areas. Cable is very expensive to install in areas far from major cities. Places within rural Southwestern Ontario. It makes sense in urban areas since there are so many customers to serve but makes little sense in rural areas due to sparse populations.


At Wavedirect our motto is, “Internet for Everyone”

Internet Alternatives

Satellite Internet:

Are there any good alternatives to DSL vs Cable internet? Satellite cable providers offer internet access for remote residents. However, satellite brings its own host of issues to deal with.

For one thing, your satellite dish must be unobstructed from the satellite signal.


If you don't live near many trees or mountains, this may not be a problem. But if you do have trees, mountains, or other natural barriers, getting a good internet signal can be difficult or even impossible. There's also a problem if you have a lot of neighbors in the area.


A standard satellite signal broadcasts down to a huge area of land, which means you have to share that signal with all your neighbors, plus every other rural area near you. There's also a lag time between the time the signal broadcasts from the satellite to the time it hits the dish on your roof.


In dial-up days this wasn't such a problem, but with the need to stream HD content, satellites become a real hindrance.

Mobile Internet:

The next alternative is to use existing mobile or cellular networks. Cellular data can broadcast much farther since most companies have installed relay microwave towers across the country.


Even in rural areas, most people can get basic mobile service. Now, add that to all of the cell phones trying to access data, text, and voice minutes through a relay point near you. But, everyone is trying to squeeze through that same signal. Your internet bars can decrease as peak demand increases on the mobile network.


Plus, mobile network fees can be outrageous for data usage. Having your home internet running through a mobile network adds up fast, and therefore, isn't very practical.

Fixed Wireless Internet:

Not to be confused with mobile internet, fixed wireless internet operates on a different principle which can solve the issue for rural residents that need a reliable connection with high bandwidth.


Think of wireless broadband like a cross between radio stations and mobile internet networks.

It works like this: a station receives a normal cable internet signal from a nearby city. That signal is then broadcast out to established towers that eventually reach a receiver atop rural rooftops.

The signal is a high-frequency radio signal that retains its strength when relaying from tower to tower.


And unlike mobile internet, you aren't competing with other data through existing microwave tower networks. Fixed Wireless internet towers are designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to deliver fast, broadband internet directly to your rural home.


The costs are often less expensive than traditional cable or DSL options as well. When more traditional internet methods aren't satisfactory, opting for wireless broadband internet is the best solution for your rural home.


No longer do you have to settle for DSL vs Cable internet, and no longer do you have to choose slow satellite or expensive mobile internet. You have an option many in rural areas aren't even aware of. You now have a good choice for strong, fast, and inexpensive internet with wireless internet.


Your Best Option

Living in rural areas of Southwestern Ontario presents its own challenges and benefits, but broadband internet doesn't have to be one of them.


If DSL or satellite options aren't cutting it for you, wireless broadband internet may be the best option for you. Find out if wireless broadband internet is available in your area and put an end to slow internet speeds.

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Rural High Speed Internet

Rural High Speed Internet