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Different Types of Internet Services

The Internet service you choose will make a tremendous difference in your experience as a web user. Depending on your location, you may have a large number of options or just a few.

“Broadband” is a comprehensive term that includes cable, satellite, DSL, and fiber optic service (FiOS). These are all high-speed options that keep you continuously connected. The other option you have is dial-up – yes, it still exists.

Below are the different types of broadband connections consumers can choose from:
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Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
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DSL runs over your usual telephone lines (as dial-up does), with up to 25 megabits per second download speeds. It has two subtypes: Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) and Symmetric DSL (SDSL). ADSL is less expensive than DSL and provides substantially faster download speeds (i.e., speed of information delivery from the internet to you) than upload speeds (speed of information delivery from you to the internet). On the other hand, SDSL has equally fast download and upload speeds, which could be important if you usually backup huge files to the cloud or use a VPN.

DSL is usually the most affordable compared to other broadband options, and you’ll likely have several DSL providers to pick from, as opposed to a single fiber optic or cable provider. Your DSL speeds are also typically very stable. DSL quality and speed, however, depends on distance, which means the farther you are to your provider’s central office (CO), the slower and less secure your connection will be and vice-versa.

Cable Broadband

Cable broadband is delivered by your cable TV company. Operates over coaxial cable TV wires, its download speeds range from 3 Mbps to 100 Mbps plus. Distance does not affect the quality and speed of your service, in contrast to DSL. Cable is also generally way faster than DSL and satellite, and more companies provide the service than fiber optic broadband. However, in most cases, users in a particular area have to share available bandwidth , and the more people use the cable broadband service at once, the slower the connection becomes.


Obviously, a satellite service uses satellites to channel the Internet feed to subscribers’ installed satellite dishes. Regardless of location, this service offers up to 15 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. Satellite is used where cable, fiber and DSL are unavailable.

However, not only is it pricier; it’s slower as well compared to other broadband options.

Fiber Optic Service (FiOS)

Lastly, fiber optic service (FiOS), the newest type of Internet service, functions over an optical network with the use of light, with speeds reaching 65 for uploads and 300 Mbps for downloads. FiOS offers the highest speeds available – “at the speed of light – compared to DSL, cable and other traditional copper wire-dependent connections. The only downside is that fiber is only available in certain areas.