There are four major types of broadband technologies on the market at this stage, and they are clearly delineated into the following categories: fiber optics, digital subscriber lines (DSL), cable broadband, and wireless. Each type can lay claims to being the best broadband around for certain users, so we have complied a list of relative strengths and weaknesses of each type of broadband in order to expose the advantages and disadvantages to you.
You will need to use your judgment to determine which type really measures up to your expectations and projected needs and wants in order to make the best possible decision, but also know that not every solution presented here is representative of your market. Your market may not even have some of the following offerings, or they may not be fully developed for one reason or another. With that in mind, be sure to do your homework to understand how well these pros and cons describe your local Internet Service Providers (better known by the acronym ISPs) before your put money down for a plan or sign a contract.
Fiber Optic Pros
Fiber optics are blazingly fast, and it is one of the very reasons that the backbone of the Internet is literally lined and formed of these light-based networking components. Fiber optics provide data at rates several times higher than the competition at very similar price points, which also makes fiber optic broadband plans very affordable by any measure. The cost of sending data over light is low compared to electricity, and light can carry more data a greater distance, a fact that significantly enhances the position of fiber optic based networks as environmentally friendly as well as very fast. Finally, fiber optics are considered to be some of the most forward looking of all broadband technologies since metal wires of a finite theoretical use as a medium for data transmissions. The only real long term rival for fiber optics might just be wireless.
Fiber Optic Cons
The biggest downside to fiber optics is easily the fact that it has a very low market penetration. The permits needed to dig and trench fiber optic wiring to every house in the country are not going to be free, and you can expect telecoms and cable companies to lobby to make it even harder!
DSL technology is widely available, even in many rural areas. In fact, it is very hard to determine if DSL or cable broadband has the best market penetration, but both have remarkable penetration at this time. DSL is also fairly quick and has the ability to run in bonded mode for future upgrades.
DSL technology relies on older wires, many of which are built into our homes, rentals, and places of business. These wires may ultimately prove to be the Achilles heel of DSL as they are already a weak link in the data delivery chain.
Cable Broadband Pros
Cable broadband, similar to DSL, has phenomenal market penetration. Unlike DSL, bonded lines are already well-entrenched in the cable modem broadband network, and thus the speeds on tap from modem cable modems tends to be much higher than through rival DSL networks in many markets.
Cable Broadband Cons
Cable networks may not offer broadband offerings in very rural areas, and like DSL networks there is clearly a finite limitation to what the wiring can do. A second line run to each house and businesses is the immediate solution this already-bonded technology has to overcome this limitation, but that may only be prolonging the inevitable.
Wireless Broadband Pros
Wireless broadband offers some unrivaled abilities in the field, such as portability, and it is quickly catching up to existing broadband rivals in terms of raw speed. That brings us to one of the cons for wireless broadband…
Wireless Broadband Cons
Current generation wireless broadband speed is almost on par with mid-range DSL or lower-mid range cable modem speeds, but that is hobbled by the limited data cap in most cases. Stability is still a minor issue to contend with as well when using wireless broadband.
The Best Broadband Internet Package For You?
Now that you are better armed with information, you should be ready to decide which broadband is the best broadband for you and your needs.