Whats the difference between T1, DSL and Cable internet

Written by on Friday, June 13, 2008 22:05 - 0 Comments

Internet: What Are The Differences Between T1, DSL, Cable Internet?

While cable, DSL, and T1 all offer far greater performance than using regular dial-up, they vary quite a bit in dependability, availability,  and cost.  All three are “always on” connections, meaning they are direct inter-network connections, also termed Wide Ara Networks (WAN).  By comparison, a dial-up users calls their ISP, and connects to that network before being passed (via T1 or faster connections) on to the WAN.  In internet parlance, this super-WAN is known as a “backbone”.

What is  T1?
Operating at 1.54Mbps, T1 lines are the most common high speed lines available.  Prior to the Internet revolution, T1’s were the standard for telephone company access in medium to large companies.  A T1 is capable of providing full speed, uncompressed video at the same time as offering digital and video services.  T1 lines provide direct connection to data backbones, and offer the greatest degree of stability.

What is DSL?
DSL is a common connection for small to medium businesses, or home users.  Top speed is usually much lower than 1.54Mbps.  Users of DSL rarely get throughput rates higher than around 25 times normal dial-up speeds.  Also, because it requires close proximity to a switching station or a switching station’s relays, DSL is relatively limited in its availability. 

A DSL connection’s stability can be affected by a number of factors, including rainy weather.  The reason for this is that DSL is primarily used over the copper lines used by phone companies, which are often run underground.  This makes them susceptible to moisture leaks which can reduce transmission speeds as data packets become corrupted and must be re-transmitted.

What is Cable Internet?
Cable internet promises faster throughput than DSL, at a competitive price.  The upper limit for cable transmission is 52 Mbps, but this limit is usually only available to ISPs or major companies.  Fiber Optics are necessary to achieve top-end speeds.  A little discussed drawback of cable internet is that the total available bandwidth is reduced as more users are added to the line providing the service.  In areas with a great deal of internet access being put on the cable lines, transfer rates can be reduced by 50% or even more.

Another potential disadvantage of using cable internet is that cable itself is designed to be primarily one-way, with information streaming at high speeds away from the provider, but speeds returning to the provider are only slightly higher than DSL speeds, under the best of conditions.  Keep in mind that high-use areas will reduce the speed even more.

What’s The Bottom Line?
Having T1 access is financially restrictive for most applications, but provides the most throughput and dependability because it is actually a direct connection to backbone services.  Cable Internet provides the highest bandwidth available to a majority of users, placing them usually within 1-3 uplinks from backbone services.  Lastly, DSL is the least dependable of these options, but is still sufficient for most home or small business requirements.

Article written by MyComputerAid.com

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