Selecting Internet service for your home can be difficult. Multiple technologies are available from different companies all boasting various speeds and features. The easiest way to make your decision is to compare the features of each service and see what fits your needs. Two of the most common Internet service types are cable, which is provided by Comcast, and digital subscriber line, or DSL. Comparing these services' best and worst features can help you make the best choice.
The first concern when looking for a new provider should be bandwidth. This determines the amount of data you can download or upload at a given time. A higher rate of bandwidth will allow you to load web pages faster, download files faster and enjoy your online experience more. According to speeds tests reported by the High Speed Internet Access Guide, Comcast has a download bandwidth of 16.52 Mbps and an upload bandwidth of 3.92 Mbps. All of the DSL carriers listed average with a download rate of 6.14 Mbps and an average upload rate of 2.01 Mbps. Though these were actual speeds measured in an Internet speed tests, your actual bandwidth can vary greatly.
What Effect Bandwidth?
Though Comcast boasts a much higher bandwidth than DSL providers, you won't always be able to actually achieve those measurements. The reason for this is that each neighborhood has a high-bandwidth line that all cable customers must share. If you have a neighbor that taxes the lines heavily, your performance may suffer. A DSL line runs from your house to the phone company's central office. You don't share with anyone so you get your full bandwidth all of the time. This doesn't mean you'll get the full advertised bandwidth, however. The issue with a DSL line is that your signal degrades the farther you are from a central office. Your bandwidth won't change during peak hours, but you may not get the rate you were hoping for either.
Wiring and Equipment
Another thing to consider when selecting cable or DSL is the way the signal gets to your computer. A DSL signal is transported through the old copper telephone lines in to your house. You then plug your telephone line into a DSL modem with will convert the signal for use with Ethernet lines or Wi-Fi. You may need to install filters between your phone jacks and telephones to avoid losing your connecting when you use your phone. Your Comcast cable signal will come through the same cable wires that feed your television. Again, this wire must be plugged in to a modem to convert the signal for use with your computer. Using the television will not affect your network.
Price is always an important measure when weighing one option against the other. Comcast offers a few Internet service plans and your price will vary based on the service you choose. Its average Internet connection will cost about $50 a month as of this writing. DSL prices will cover a wide range depending on the speed of your service and the service provider you are using. You can expect to pay between $15 and $45 per month.