Cable internet faster than DSL

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Cable internet access is faster than the one provided by digital subscriber line (DSL) or the transmission of internet via the wires of a domestic telephone network. This has been proven by a study that compared data captured under the US Federal Communications Commission’s broadband measuring project.

Authored by Jolene Splett and Daniel Genin, the research revealed that American DSL users enjoy a download speed of 5.4 megabits per second (Mbps) on average, while cable users get a download speed of 13.5 Mbps. However, cable users experience more congestion than DSL, resulting in lower download speed.

“DSL broadband provided connections on average delivering download speeds above 80 per cent of the assigned speed tier more than 80 per cent of the time. By contrast, a significant fraction of cable connections received less than 80 per cent of their assigned speed tier more than 20 per cent of the time. One must keep in mind that cable connections typically have higher download speed tiers than DSL connections,” noted the research.

The authors explained that cable networks are more prone to recurrent congestion than their DSL counterparts due to something in the internet service providers’ (ISPs) network architecture.

In particular, 9 to 12 per cent of the studied DSL connections suffered recurrent congestion, whilst 27 to 32 per cent of cable connections have this problem. Apart from that, some internet cable providers recorded high concentrations of recurrent congestion.

Interestingly, the study also discovered that DSL is more resilient if there is a “tight initial segment”. For DSL, 37 to 50 per cent of connections with a tight initial segment saw recurrent congestion, whilst for cable it was between 91 and 100 per cent, they added.


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