ADSL vs Fibre broadband: What do they mean and which do you need?

ADSL vs Fibre broadband: What do they mean and which do you need?

Fibre broadband is fast becoming the de facto choice for new broadband connections thanks to its fast speeds and ever increasing availability.

What is ADSL broadband? 

Let’s talk about ADSL first, which is still the most regularly available type of broadband and works using a standard copper telephone line. ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. You might sometimes hear broadband referred to as DSL which, well, we reckon you can guess what that means.

ADSL can be unreliable in terms of broadband speed – what speed you can get depends very much on the distance you live from your telephone exchange. And pure distance isn’t always a great guide, as it depends on the distance the phone cables cover rather than an ‘as the crow flies’ measure of direct distance. While Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can provide an estimate, they can’t always be accurate.

ADSL accounts for around half of the Zimbabwe’s broadband lines, though this number will decrease over the next few years as fibre takes over.

It may be slower than fibre optic, but the resounding benefit of ADSL is the price. Standard ADSL still has the monopoly on the most affordable broadband.

What is fibre broadband? 

Fibre broadband is better, faster and more reliable than standard ADSL internet and is delivered to homes and businesses through fibre optic cables. Pretty much every major internet service provider now offers fibre.

Most connections connect to your home via the phone network cabinet in your area. The fibre comes from the telephone exchange and terminates at the cabinet, with the connection into your home provided by your copper phone line as with ADSL. Effectively fibre brings the exchange much closer to your home. This system is called FTTC, or Fibre To The Cabinet. Most FTTC fibre connections offer average speeds of around 35Mb (4MB per second) or 65Mb (8MB per second).

The future of fibre broadband connections

Increasingly we’re going to see a new system implemented, with direct fibre connections into our homes – relatively few of these connections exist currently.

This is called FTTP, or Fibre To The Premises, where promised speeds can hit as much as 1Gb.

For around half of Zimbabwean homes, the final connection between the home and the network is a ‘drop wire’ from a telegraph pole.

In a nutshell fiber broadband connections are definitely the way to go when considering in investing on a broadband connection mainly because of their speed and fewer limitations over adsl.


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