5 Types Of Internet Connections And Why One Should You Opt for?

Internet fiber wires

The Internet is so vital to our lives in the modern era that it’s close to being recognized as a human right. Internet availability is at an all-time high, and it’s rising. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to find a venue without free Wi-Fi available.

When you’re picking the internet for your own place, however, you have to know more about it than just how to log in. With that in mind, here are the top five most common types of internet connection and their differences.  

Also, we won’t go into the legacy types of internet connection since this really wouldn’t make much sense. It’s a well-known story that some millennials see as a major part of their coming-of-age story, but since it’s no longer a thing, it’s really not worth going over once again.

1. DSL

The DSL (digital subscriber line) was a revolutionary method of delivering internet service through telephone lines. It was far superior to the traditional dial-up connection, but in 2024, it lagged behind more modern solutions like cable or fiber-optic internet. Either way, it’s still used all over the country, especially since some other options don’t have infrastructures that are as widespread. 

That’s probably its main strength in 2024 - availability. Even today, it’s more widespread than cable internet, not to mention fiber, which is still a growing technology. There’s also no need for additional wiring. This makes it incredibly simple to set up. 

Another advantage over cable internet is the fact that it uses a dedicated connection. This means that the availability of the internet, its speed, and everything else don’t fall during peak hours in the neighborhood. 

Aside from the fact that it’s significantly slower than some of its counterparts, one of its biggest downsides is the fact that it’s distance-sensitive. Moreover, its infrastructure is aging, and the potential for upgrade isn’t great.

2. Cable 

One of the first things you need to keep in mind when talking about cable internet is that it currently seems like an obvious choice. Why? Well, because it’s almost as available as DSL, but it’s much faster. Naturally, if you have fiber as an option, you should definitely take it. If not, cable might be your best bet.

It’s fast, has broad availability, and, most importantly, offers numerous bundling options, which will be amazing for your budget. 

Even if you’re working from home, as a remote worker or a blogger, the speed you get with cable internet will be more than enough. 

Now, the downside is that it’s slightly more expensive than DSL or satellite internet, especially for its most expensive plans. Add to this installation and equipment fees (if you don’t already have a cable from the same provider). Still, there’s no doubt that it’s worth it.

The biggest downside is the shared bandwidth, which means that your connection speed may drop during peak.

3. Fiber

Fiber internet relies on optical cables that send information via light instead of sound or electrical impulses. Since light is a lot faster, the connection is a lot faster, as well. 

The cables themselves aren’t more durable/resilient, but since the infrastructure for other types of connection was set in previous decades, there’s quite a difference. These cables are newer and made with better materials. 

When it comes to the broadband vs. fiber discussion, what you need to know is that fiber is superior in every way that counts. It’s faster, it’s not losing strength over distance, and it’s more resilient/reliable. 

The only downside is the fact that it’s not universally available. Unlike DSL (relying on phone lines) and cable internet (relying on cable company infrastructure), fiber is still a technology in development. 

So, if you have the option, you should always go with fiber. If not, check what your local providers have to offer and pick the best option from the list.

4. Satellite

Satellite internet is exactly what it sounds like - internet that is delivered to your home via an antenna dish. These internet speeds are quite decent nowadays. The technology is also rapidly improving, which means that speed and reliability are only going up. 

The biggest advantage of satellite internet is the fact that you own the infrastructure itself. In other words, you don’t have to think about internet providers in your area or rely on their offer. You just buy the antenna, and that’s it.

The best part about this is that since there are so many people working remotely, a decent internet connection is a major bottleneck when it comes to your preferred location. With satellite internet, you could move to a rural area. You could even work from a cabin in the woods. A hidden perk of this is the fact that life in rural areas is, on average, a lot cheaper. This will more than justify paying slightly more for your internet. 

5. Mobile

In the past, mobile internet was seen as the absolute last resort. It was slow, and it was expensive. Today, neither of the two is true. Mobile internet is as big as it ever was. Due to the incredibly high demand (and the number of mobile users in the world), this is one of the fastest-growing technologies at the moment.

With the availability of 5G networks, it’s as fast as any ethernet-cable-connected internet you may have in your household. Moreover, it’s far cheaper than it was, and it’s usually included in your mobile operator's plan. It’s a wireless internet sent by massive relay towers. 

The benefits of mobile internet are quite numerous. First, you carry your mobile phone everywhere you go; everyone does. This means that it’s used by almost everyone in one form or another. 

In the past, availability was pretty low (it still concerns a lot of people); however, the coverage today is pretty impressive. 

Which Internet Connection Should You Go for?

Here are 4 important factors to consider before buying an internet connection.

1. Speed

How fast do you need your internet to be? For basic web browsing and email, a decent DSL connection or even Mobile Internet might cut it. But if you're looking to stream 4K videos or play intense online games, you'll likely want something zippier like cable or fiber internet.

2. Data Caps

Some internet providers put annoying data caps or limits on your monthly usage. If you'll be doing data-heavy stuff like streaming shows constantly, make sure to choose an unlimited or very high data cap plan.

3. Availability

This one's important! The types of internet available can vary a lot depending on where exactly you live. Cable and fiber may not be an option in rural areas. Sorry, but satellite internet might be your best choice if you live way out in the boonies.

4. Budget

Of course, pricing will likely be a huge factor for budget-conscious folks. DSL and certain cable/fiber promotions can make for decent affordable options if speed isn't your top priority. Just watch for those pesky fees!

There's no perfect one-size-fits-all internet connection. But taking the time to understand the good points and downsides of DSL, cable, fiber and those other choices? That's the way to maximize your online satisfaction without overpaying. Wishing you happy streaming, browsing and gaming!

Wrap up

Sure, you don’t have to know how the internet works in order to use it, but it doesn’t hurt, does it? There are, however, many benefits of understanding the differences between different types of connections. 

For instance, when choosing between seemingly similar DSL and cable internet, you need to know the difference. Also, as soon as fiber internet appears in your neighborhood, you should seize the opportunity. All of this is possible only if you understand these types of connections. 


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