Fiber vs ADSL: Differences between both types of connection

In this section we have covered about fiber vs adsl connection and the key differences between them. Although fiber optics is the one that capitalizes practically the majority of offers and advertising on fixed broadband in the current market, the offers of ADSL connections are still alive and sharing the same sector. But fiber optics and ADSL, although catalog companions, are not the same.

Next, we are going to tell you what each of the data transmission technologies that currently occupy the broadband of any operator consists of. What they consist of, what they are alike (if they are alike at all) and how they differ. Below is the comparison between Fiber vs ADSL.

What is ADSL

Adsl Vs fiber optic cable

Although in both cases we always talk about broadband, practically the only common places that we find between ADSL and fiber optics are that they offer high connection speed and that they share the channels through which they are installed. The conduits that the operators open under the ground and that serve to conduct a multitude of wiring, including telecommunications.

When we talk about ADSL we do so knowing that we are referring to a telephone cable that allows data to be transported at full speed. The ADSL or ‘ Asymmetric Digital Subscriber List ‘ ( Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is based on the telephone line, it is an encapsulated copper pair (evolved) that allows separating the data transmission channels from the voice, so our navigation through The Internet is not interfered with by phone calls that occupy the same throughput.

In the case of ADSL, data travels through two 64Kbps channels while voice travels through a dedicated 16Kbps channel. In fact, when we use ADSL as the broadband connection of our home, it is necessary to connect a splitter or splitter to the telephone socket in which we are going to connect the fixed telephone at home, so that the device uses only its reserved channels both for input and output.

What is fiber optics

Fiber vs adsl connection
Fiber optic

If in the case of ADSL we were talking about a copper pair, a copper cable like the traditional telephone, in optical fiber we make the leap to glass fiber, which changes the way data is transmitted through it.. If electrical pulses are used in the first, light pulses are used in fiber optics.

We do not always talk about fiberglass, of course, although it was the original and remains. Over time, other materials that are also used in fiber connections such as plastic fibers have appeared, but the transmission method is maintained: light pulses, laser pulses or LEDs that use reflection and refraction for data encoding. And the entry of light into the equation implies a considerable increase in the speed of data transmission. But at the same time, a considerable increase in the volume of information.

Thus, with the advent of fiber optics, not only the available bandwidth (such as the ‘giga’ that is already marketed quite commonly) was increased, but also the transmission speed. That is, the speed at which data travels from our router to the server : the ping. Something that has made it possible to build new uses on fiber for existing technologies of the caliber of e-sports, which need very low latencies for competitions to be fair.

With the arrival of fiber, there was also an improvement in the transmission of information packets due to the fact that there are less information losses than in ADSL. Being electrical, ADSL can be affected by electromagnetic interference even though it is shielded for it. Light, however, travels along the fiber cable for more interruptions than a bad cable can cause. The fiber is, therefore, faster, has a higher transfer rate and prevents information loss.

Other differences between fiber optics and ADSL

When we have talked about fiber optics being ideal for practices such as e-sports because of its low latency, this is because light travels at such a high speed that the length of the network does not affect the network itself practically connection. So being further or closer to the station we connect to is indifferent when we talk about fiber optics.

In the case of ADSL, the distance we are from the central to which we are connected greatly affects the speed offered by the network. Hence, in ADSL connections it is usual to speak frequently of speed forks (‘up to 20Mbps’) and it is ensured that minimums are met and that in fiber we speak of more exact figures, since there are no speed drops as a result of distances. And in ADSL, yes.

Fiber offers more speed, stability and bandwidth at the cost of requiring new infrastructure

Although it is already being solved over the years and the effort of the operators, optical fiber has the disadvantage of needing its own infrastructure. ADSL uses telephone cables that already flood practically every square centimeter of each country, but fiber requires rewiring, hence full coverage is not yet available in practically any territory. It advances, but you have to wire.

Type of cableCopper pairFiberglass or plastic
AdvantageHigh speed Telephone infrastructureVery high speed Low latency No electromagnetic interference Indifferent to distance
DisadvantagesLoss of information due to electromagnetic interference Loss of speed due to distanceOwn infrastructure

Thus, and summarizing, we find that ADSL was the first broadband to arrive and that it had in its favor with telephone wiring, so its deployment was much faster, but against it had its low speed, the fall speed based on distance and packet loss from transfers. With fiber, increased speed, bandwidth and the assurance that each data packet arrived safely at its destination. And unless 5G ends up showing us that this is not the case, fiber optics is the medium-term future of telecommunications.

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