Different kinds of internet connections exist. In the old days, the only choice was dial-up, which is connected to a landline and literally “dials” the internet service provider (ISP) like a regular call to signal that you want to connect to the internet.
DSL works the same way as dial-up, using phone lines, but they are connected to the internet 24/7 and no longer have to “dial” or “call” the ISP to get connected. Satellite internet uses a satellite dish, while mobile broadband uses your portable phone’s internet.
To know the internet service option best suited for your needs, you need to understand how each of the connection types works, their pros, and cons, and if they can accommodate your internet requirements. Today, we’re going to focus on cable internet connections.
What is Cable Internet? How Does it Work?
Cable internet is one of the most popular types of internet connections today. It provides high-speed internet via cable TV infrastructure. Meaning, if you have cable TV, there’s a good chance your cable provider also offers cable internet and you can use the same network (without any additional cabling) to access the internet.
There are three elements that make cable internetwork:
The hardware is usually included during installation by the cable provider (either for free or paid monthly). This is positioned inside your house and comes with a coaxial wire/cable. The modem communicates between your computer and the provider’s systems.
Coaxial Cable or Wire
This is the glue that connects your modem to the CMTS. Without this, your cable TV and cable internet wouldn’t work since it is responsible for transmitting data over long distances.
Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS)
This hardware is housed in the ISP’s location. It is connected by thousands of coaxial cables from all over the area.
PROS and CONS of Cable Internet
So what can you expect from cable internet? Here are the strengths and weaknesses of cable internet:
High Connection Speed
When cable internet was offered in the market, it only went as high as 2 Mbps. These days, almost all cable providers offer 12 Mbps as the basic plan with advanced plans going as high as 300 Mbps.
You don’t need to dial/call the ISP to get you connected to the internet. Cable internet should always be turned ON, as long as your modem is working and the cable provider has no connection issues.
No Landline Required
Unlike dial-up internet, which requires a landline throughout the connection, cable internet does not affect your phone line or cable TV. You can use your landline, watch cable TV, and be connected to the internet all simultaneously without trouble.
Internet Speed Doesn’t Rely on Distance From the Cable Provider
Unlike DSL internet, which speed varies depending on how near or far you are from the DSL provider, cable internet connections are reliable even if they are physically far from the cable company.
Affordable Plans With Bundle Options
The cost of cable internet is often cheaper than DSL. You can also have your internet bundled to other services such as your cable TV, broadband, and landline.
CONS of Cable Internet
What disadvantages are there if you pick cable internet?
No Low-Priced or Slow-Speed Internet
DSL packages go as low as 1 to 2 Mbps, which is often slow, but definitely affordable. The problem with cable internet plans these days is that their basic plans begin at higher speeds (some start at 5 Mbps, while others at 12 Mbps), which means you’ll be investing in a connection that’s higher-priced from the get-go.
Security Issues May Occur
Cable internet is susceptible to higher security risks than DSL. However, this can easily be prevented with a good antivirus program and personal firewall.
Connection Speed May Have Peak and Off-Peak Hours
The biggest problem with cable internet is that bandwidth will be shared over the same cable line. This means the number of people online simultaneously in your area will dictate how much bandwidth your connection actually receives.
Need to Pay for Cable TV
Most cable internet providers tie up the plans with a subscription to cable TV. While cable TV is fine, many people have already made the switch to streaming on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and other similar providers, rendering cable TV channels unnecessary.
Cable Internet vs. Other Types of Internet Connections
As you can see, cable internet has many redeeming qualities.
First of all, cable internet is superior to dial-up internet hands down. But fiber optic internet is the golden standard these days, so choose this if it is available in your area.
If you’re located in a remote area, it is best to stick to satellite internet than force cable internet that would most likely have distance-related disconnection issues.
DSL internet is cheaper, but even the slowest speed can be stable. Cable generally provides higher-speed internet but does have high/low peaks. When choosing between DSL and cable internet, it can be tricky and best to choose based on internet requirements.