The Benefits of Fiber Optic vs DSL vs Cable for Business 

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Fiber optic, DSL, and cable are all internet options that businesses can utilize in order to achieve a high-speed network that is capable of handling a business' bandwidth needs. Each option has some advantages, but there is a clear favourite. Read on to learn more.

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The Differences Between Speed and Bandwidth for a Business Network

How IP Technology Works

Internet Connection Speed Uptime - Why It Matters

Fiber Optics

Fiber internet represents the future of internet connections. It provides the fastest download and upload speeds, the best reliability, and does not slow down from regional load. In the coming years, all urban areas will be upgraded to fiber internet networks for increased performance. The only current downsides of fiber is the limited availability and high cost. Expect costs to go down as fiber networks expand.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Link)

DSL comes in two major forms: ADSL and SDSL. The primary difference is that ADSL still allows a phone line to be used for both calling and DSL, while SDSL renders a phone line useful only for the internet. However, SDSL does offer much higher upload speeds. Read below to learn more.

ADSL: ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is one of the two main groups of broadband internet. Broadband internet is often the only type of internet available in smaller towns and rural areas. ADSL uses a phone line to connect to the internet, but still allows the phone line to be used to make phone calls. Due to the line serving a dual purpose of internet + phone line, the upload speeds are low, while the download speed are high. DSL connections are considered a guaranteed speed – meaning that speeds should be stable and will not fluctuate.

SDSL: SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is the other main type of broadband internet. SDSL uses the same technology as ADSL, but does it in a symmetrical fashion. This means that both parts of the phone line are utilized for the DSL connection. This allows for fast upload speeds, which match the download speeds. The drawback is that SDSL connections utilize the entire phone line, and as such, the line cannot be used to make or receive phone calls.

Click here to read about the speed of the different connection types.


Cable offers download speeds that are as good or even better than DSL. However, cable suffers from two main drawbacks: cable can slow down based on regional usage and cable has low upload speeds. If many users in a cable region are all using the internet at a high capacity (large amounts of downloading/uploading), then the performance of the entire network will struggle. Cable is not a guaranteed connection speed. Speeds may fluctuate between 100% of the promised speed and 25% of the promised speed.

As mentioned, cable has a much lower upload speed compared to download speed. Businesses that upload a lot of data in the form of backups or job data would do well to consider DSL or fiber internet.

Recommended Internet Type

Fiber is the absolute best type of internet and recommended to all users. However, fiber is not available in many areas. If that is the case, we recommend the following:


Usage Type:

Internet Type:

Internet is essential. Backups are made regularly to off-site locations. All work depends in some way on the internet.

Fiber, SDSL

Internet is critical to business, but data requirements are light (light text related internet use)

ADSL, SDSL, Cable, T1

Internet is not critical for business operation, but will be used to aid business functions.

ADSL, SDSL, Cable, T1, Wireless

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