ADSL Versus Fibre

When it comes to choosing an internet service provider (ISP), many people don’t also realise that many ISPs offer different types of internet lines.

These days, your choice is usually between a DSL line (which is available in a variety of options), or a fibre connection.


What Is DSL?

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It’s an umbrella term for a high-speed data connection which uses the same copper cables as your regular telephone line.

In South Africa, we get two types of DSL connections, ADSL or VDSL.

ADSL stands for Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line. Unlike dial-up internet, which uses the same frequency to make phone calls and transmit data, ADSL uses different frequencies. This means that you can make calls on your landline and surf the internet at the same time.

VDSL stands for Very high speed Digital Subscriber Line and it provides faster internet speeds than an ADSL line.

What Is Fibre?

Fibre internet relies on fibre optic cables to transmit data. This is done via light pulses which means that data is transferred faster than data transferred via a copper line.

Because fibre internet is, literally, internet at the speed of light, both upload and download speeds are greatly improved.

Fibre internet in South Africa, however, is still in its infancy. While there are a fair amount of fibre packages available, the cost of it, for the average person, is still too high, thereby limiting its adoption.

Fibre internet, for your house or apartment, is often referred to as FTTH (fibre to the home).

ADSL Versus Fibre

If you’re still on the fence and can’t decide between fibre and ADSL, we’ve compared some of the pro’s and cons of each:

ADSL Fibre
 Available in most areas Available in select areas in major cities
 You need a landline in order to get internet access  You don’t need a landline in order to get internet access
 The further away you are from the exchange, the slower your connection Data can travel up to 50km before degradation occurs
Available in capped and uncapped Available in capped and uncapped
Uses copper lines which are subject to physical degradation Fibre optic cables are made of glass and/or plastic and therefore last longer
Can reach speeds up to 40mbps Can reach speeds up to 100mbps


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