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ADSL modems and cable modems both deliver internet access to the home, but they both rely on different types of technology to do so. ADSL modems rely on the copper wiring in telephone lines, while cable modems use the coaxial cable used to deliver cable TV.
Using different types of technology also means there are differences between the service each modem provides. This includes the connection speeds each service provides, the consistency of those speeds, and the cost of connecting.
Connecting to the service
ADSL and cable providers will usually charge a connection and/or installation fee. If you choose to connect to ADSL, you will usually have to pay line rental, but you may be able to bundle your phone line and your internet to save money. However, you can choose to have internet only. This will mean you pay line rental plus the cost of your chosen plan. Click here to visit iiNet & compare their ADSL packages.
If you choose to connect to cable, you may choose to bundle your TV and internet together, but again, you can choose internet only if you want. The cost of connecting to cable compared to the cost of connecting to ADSL will depend on your area and your provider.
The connection speeds you receive on either service will also depend on the area in which you live, and on your provider.
Cable internet speeds can range from 25Mbps to 100Mbps downstream, and 2Mbps to 8Mbps upstream. ADSL speeds range from 1Mbps-1.8Mbps upstream, and 8Mbps-12Mbps downstream, ADSL2 between 1.3Mbps and 3.5Mbps up, and 12Mbps down, while ADSL2+ offers the same as ADSL2 upstream, but up to 24Mbps down.
Needless to say, maximum speeds on both services are rarely achieved, and most users experience much slower connection speeds.
What can affect your connection speeds?
One of the main differences between cable and ADSL internet is the way in which bandwidth is shared. Cable internet users share bandwidth with their neighbours, whereas ADSL internet users do not share bandwidth at all.
This has a significant effect on the consistency of each service. Cable internet users may find that their speeds drop dramatically during peak hours, especially if their neighbours are connecting to services that use a lot of bandwidth, such as online gaming, streaming, and video chat.
On the other hand, ADSL internet users should find that their speeds remain the same regardless of their neighbours’ usage. However, the speeds ADSL users receive will depend on the distance between their home and the exchange.
The further an ADSL user is from the exchange, the slower the speeds he will receive. The signal degrades the further the signal has to travel along the wiring. This can mean slower speeds for users living more than 9000-10,000 feet from the exchange. Users who live more than 18,000 feet (3.4 miles) from an exchange may not be able to connect to ADSL at all.
Other factors that may affect connection speeds on both services can include old or incompatible technology, or spyware and viruses on the user’s computer. To increase speeds, it’s recommended to upgrade your technology and perform regular maintenance checks to keep your computer clean.