Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between ADSL and Cable

ADSL vs Cable

ADSL and cable broadband are two options if you choose to leave behind you dial-up modem, if you haven’t done so already. Both types of connection should offer you speeds that are many folds faster compared to the standard 56kbps modem but there are certain differences between them that you should look into before you opt for one or the other. The most major one is the service with which they are bundled with. ADSL is bundled with your phone line while cable broadband is bundled with your cable TV subscription.

When it comes to speed, cable broadband theoretically has much higher available speeds compared to ADSL. But in practice, it doesn’t really translate very well due to several factors that affect the speed of each subscriber. Cable broadband is shared between the subscribers in each locality and there is no way to ensure that each subscriber is getting his fair share of the speed. The speed deteriorates as more people are online and even individuals who download excessively can affect performance. This does not happen with ADSL as each subscriber has a unique connection and the provider can provide traffic shaping or ensure minimum speed.

Another downside to cable broadband is the lack of static IPs. Each subscriber gets a different IP address whenever he connects, which would prevent the subscriber from hosting any sort of site or server on his own computer. There’s software that can help so that your domain names are always pointed to your IP but it is another extra layer in your system. ADSL providers can provide static IPs as standard or as an option for the package that you are subscribing to. With a static IP, your IP address would never change no matter how many times you restart your modem.

Before you even decide on which one to get, you need to check the availability in your area. Cable is very popular in the US and it has more or less equal coverage to ADSL. But in other areas of the world, ADSL is more popular.


1. ADSL goes through your phone line while cable broadband goes through your cable TV line

2. ADSL is theoretically slower than cable broadband

3. ADSL connections is unique to each subscriber while cable broadband is shared in each locality

4. You can get static IPs with ADSL but not with cable broadband

5. Cable is very popular in the US but ADSL is more prevalent in other parts of the world

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