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Broadband vs. DSL

The biggest difference between broadband and DSL? Well, there isn’t really one because broadband isn’t a type of Internet – it’s a way to describe it.

Broadband means fast – a particular kind of fast. Any Internet service can be classified as a broadband connection as long as its download speeds are faster than 256 kbit/s. But, just how fast is that?

For context – a fiber optic Internet connection can reach up to speeds of 500 Mbps. Mbps stands for megabits per second. Kbit is short for kilobit. There are 1,024 kilobits in one megabit!

A DSL connection can reach up to 40 Mbps, which means that DSL Internet is considered broadband Internet.

Getting online with a broadband connection

When you have a broadband connection, you have a fast way to get online. A broadband connection is necessary if you want to easily:

  • Download videos/movies
  • Download and share music
  • Upload photos and videos
  • Play online games
  • Watch clips on social media

Since broadband means fast, Internet service providers all want to make sure you know they offer broadband Internet – and DSL Internet is no exception.

The only broadband exception? Dial-up. It’s the only non-broadband Internet connection out there. Dial-up uses a phone line (like DSL), but instead of allowing Internet and phone use at once, you can only do one or the other.

If you have dial-up, chances are you live in an area where broadband Internet isn’t available – mostly rural areas far outside city limits. A DSL connection is available in areas outside cities, but sometimes doesn’t reach the most rural spots.

A broadband connection, whether it’s with fiber optics, cable, DSL or satellite, just makes it easier to do more online.

So, next time you hear the term broadband, remember: it’s not a different type of Internet service. It’s just a way to classify fast Internet.

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