Understanding Fiber vs DSL Internet

The days of dial-up internet — with its beeps, boops and scratching sounds — have come and gone. That once-familiar sound of connecting to the internet has rarely been heard since the creation of DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line internet connections. DSL reshaped the way we use and think about the internet and it was a game-changer for internet users and service providers alike.

DSL works by using the existing telephone network. Similar to how phones transmit your voice through copper wires of telephone lines, DSL internet sends data through those same copper lines to bring your internet connection to your home. It separates the frequencies between phone calls and internet connections, though, so phone lines won’t be tied up and users can have access to high-speed internet connections from a phone jack.

It was revolutionary for the time. Since DSL broadband utilizes copper telephone wires it allowed for far-reaching access to a huge portion of the world’s population. It was reliable for general web browsing and provided decent speeds. However, DSL technology is over 20 years old, and since then our internet habits have changed and technology has evolved. The copper lines that made DSL internet so accessible have become its most notable weakness. That’s because the longer the copper wire is and the farther away from your internet service provider you are, the slower your connection becomes.

With how fast technology has been advancing in the past two decades, DSL is beginning to date itself. That’s where fiber-optic internet comes in. Instead of using telephone lines, fiber-optic cable uses thin strands of glass and that send and receive data through light rather than electricity. That’s what allows fiber optic networks to reach so far and gives them their incredible speed; fiber-optic networks deliver speeds up to 1 Gpbs, which is the same as 1000 Mbps — the fastest DSL speeds usually top out around 6 Mbps.

Because fiber-optic networks use glass and light, rather than copper and electricity, the lines are more durable and resilient. Weather, including big storms or temperature changes that affect the old copper lines don’t have the same effect on fiber-optic cable. That’s also why power outages and strong electrical currents will cause little to no interference to your internet connection.

Currently, Fiber internet’s biggest drawback is its need for new equipment. It takes time to be installed, unlike DSL, which benefitted from using existing telephone lines. However, fiber networks are rapidly expanding, starting in high population areas and branching out.

While the installation process takes more effort than DSL did, the upkeep of a fiber internet connection is significantly easier. The strands of glass inside the fiber optic cable are thinner than a human hair and hundreds of those strands are bound together inside the cable, making them incredibly strong and far less likely to be damaged than copper lines. Copper cable also needs to be replaced much more frequently just from regular use and exposure to elements. The glass strands in fiber optic cables don’t degrade like copper does, with most fiber optic cables graded to last at least 25 years.

Fiber is the way of the future and Beehive is helping create the networks that will connect us for decades to come. That, matched with the incredible speed and bandwidth that fiber internet provides, makes it an ideal option for users. Now, see if you’re eligible for the best internet around.


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