Cable modems, introduced in the early 1990s, quickly became the first technology to offer broadband Internet access at an affordable price. DSL, which was not introduced until a few years later, became a formidable and competitive alternative.
Making a choice between these two technologies will depend on what is available in your area and what specific services and rates are best for you. Generally, the hardware required for these services is the same: Your computer, an Ethernet card and a high speed modem is all you need to get online.
Both cable modems and DSL provide an "always on" connection to the Internet, meaning that there is no need to dial-up to a provider to get online. Just open your favorite Internet browser and you''re instantly online.
Here''s where the difference lies - with cable modems, you can be located virtually anywhere in the country and still get service so long as you have access to a cable TV system. On the other hand, with DSL, your home or office must be located in an area that is serviceable by the telephone company''s equipment.
Not So Priceless
In this area, Comcast Online and Urban Cable Works Road Runner services are offering a blazing 6Mbps (megabits per second) average download times, or the time it takes information to reach your computer, to subscribers today.
DSL, on the other hand, is only averaging 3Mbps to its subscribers.
More often then not, price is one of the main issues with subscribers. This is really where DSL takes the cake. Users can expect to pay a minimal $14.95 per month for Verizon''s DSL service as compared to $39.95 per month for Comcast Online.
Here''s the down side - for that low monthly payment, DSL users are sacrificing by getting a fraction of the bandwidth that cable subscribers are getting. For the lowest priced plan, users can only expect to see 768Kbps (kilobits per second) download speeds and 128Kbps upload speeds.
If you do the math, the download speeds are only 13 times faster then your typical dial-up modems. Upload speeds are only twice as fast as your modem.
With cable services promising 6Mbps upload speeds, users can expect to surf the Internet more then five times faster then DSL and 70 times faster then a typical 56.6Kbps modem.
In the end, it boils down to one statement - you get what you pay for. If you want the fastest speed possible, cable is probably best for you. If, on the other hand, you want to save a little extra money in your monthly budget and you don''t care how long it takes for the information to filter down to you, maybe DSL is the right way to go.
Either way, broadband Internet access has virtually wiped out the archaic and dreaded dial-up modem. With technology research ramping up quickly as the market recovers, you can only expect it to get bigger and better.
Michael Trantas is CEO, e-Safe Solutions, Inc., and can be reached at: mtrantas@ e-safesolutions.net.