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DSL vs Fibre - What is the best solution?


DSL vs Fibre - What is the best solution?

DSL vs Fibre

You have most likely come across different networks while shopping for an internet solution for your home or business.  The most common internet connections are Fibre Optic, DSL, Satellite, Wireless or the new trend Fixed LTE.  Each network type is different in the way they transfer data, and each offer their own unique advantages.

What is the best solution between DSL and Fibre Optic? As all networks, these connections also highlight pros and cons. 

What is DSL?


A Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is an internet connection delivered via a telephone line.  Telephone Lines are mostly made out of copper. In short, DSL transmit data using electricity over copper cable and can be affected by electromagnetic interference which can weaken the signal.

Did you know you get different types of DSL? Most definitely, but not all the types of DSL ae used in every country. 


What types are there?

  • R-ADSL – Rate Adaptive Digital Subscriber. It supports symmetric data transmission (equal download and Upload Speed)
  • ADSL- Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber.  This connection gives higher download speed than upload speed
  • ADSL Lite – Lower speed version of ADSL with a download speed upto 1mbps and upload speed of 512kbps.
  • HDSL- High Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber.  Provides a symmetric connection with down and upload speeds that are equal.  This is useful in videoconferencing
  • IDSL- ISDN Digital Subscriber Line – ISDL is an Always On connection
  • SDSL- Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line- Supports symmetric data transmission upto 1.54 mbps
  • VDSL- Very High Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber- VDSL is the fastest of all DSL connections and can provide transmission between 13-52 mbps download speed and 1.5 – 2.3 mbps upload stream over a single pair copper wire
  • VDSL2 – Very High Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Line 2- Faster than VDSL with transmission upto 100mbps


DSL is available in most areas and offers competitive speeds for users that are seeking basic connectivity. The further you are away from your nearest Exchange such as Telkom, the slower your speed will be.  DSL also requires a lot of maintenance which means that there are reliability issues.

What is Fibre Optic Internet?


Fibre Internet is the fastest thing this side of the sun and everybody is talking about it.  So what is all the fuss about? Is it simply about speed, or is there more?

Fibre Optic is flexible, hair thin strand of glass which transmit pulses of light.  They are so small that they are bundles into larger cables called “Fibre Optic Trunks” containing multiple Fibre lines which can carry multiple signals at once.

In short, Fibre harnesses the speed of light by transferring data through means of glass cabling which make the fastest most reliable form of connectivity available. Fibre is less vulnerable to interference.

This technology offers clarity in data transfers and can travel up to 50km to/from an exchange before any degradation in speed takes place. It is much easier to maintain than DSL and you do not need a landline.  This technology can be use at your home (FTTH -Fibre to the Home) or business (FTTB- Fibre to the Business). 

With Fibre Internet you can get down and upload speeds upto 1000mbps. Isn’t that fantastic?

The biggest drawback to Fibre at the moment is that it may not be available in many locations due to infrastructures that are not available or not ready. However, it is worth checking your coverage and feasibility.

Bottom Line: DSL may be cheaper than Fibre Optic Internet, but not necessarily in value because Fibre offers a faster, more reliable connection.  But in availability the comparison is not close.

For an explanation on Fibre Optic Internet, please have a look at our video


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