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Presented by Persimmon Telecommunications 609.333.6932                                                                              Updated: October 13, 2014
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Comparison of Cable, DSL and T1 Broadband Internet Access Options

Pros and Cons of Cable, DSL and T1 Internet Access!

High speed internet access is possible via cable, DSL or T1. To see which are available at your location(s), visit:

Residential High Speed Internet Quotes for lower cost but less reliable data services with higher bandwidth variability.
Business Cable, DSL, and T1 Price Quotes for more reliable but more expensive data connections that also include guaranteed bandwidth.

If all of these options are available at your location, which should you choose? Which is really faster? See a PowerPoint presentation on the topic at How to Compare, Shop for, Choose the best Internet Access option.


Internet service via cable is provided by your cable TV company on the same type of cable that is used for cable TV. Advertised speeds vary depending on your location. Generally, higher speeds are provided to business accounts. On residential accounts, the speed (bandwidth) is not guaranteed to be available at all times since it is a shared service. It is shared with your neighbors. If your neighbors are using the internet at the same time as you are, the bandwidth available to you could be radically reduced and the latency of the service could be increased. This is the same with some business cable services; however, some of the cable companies offer fixed bandwidth to businesses.

Many businesses use cable Internet service as a backup to their primary Internet service. As cable Internet service becomes more reliable and as the bandwidth has been increasing, some businesses use cable Internet as their primary service with T1 Internet service or Ethernet over Copper Internet service as the backup. THis latter approach can make sense financially for businesses that are comfortable with a lower bandwidth on their backup Internet access than on their primary Internet access.

Nowadays, most US cable companies provide public WiFi Internet access at locations that purchase cable Internet access. This public service is typically additional bandwidth over what the customer purchases.

If your cable company offers a free trial or an attractive price for a month-to-month service, it may be worthwhile to try it and see if the available bandwidth meets your needs. However, at any time, a neighbor, who has not done so before, may start using cable internet access in such a way that interferes with you in an unacceptable manner. If this happens, there is a possibility that you could convince your cable company to provide another circuit into your neighborhood. However, don't hold your breath waiting for them to do so. Cable operators give priority to business cable internet access over residential cable internet access.

There are times when cable internet service goes down, and when it goes down it can be down for hours or even days at a time. Most cable companies are pretty good about restoring service in a timely manner, however, there is no Federal mandate as there is with T1 service.

If you plan to use VoIP phone service (aka Broadband phone service), note that there are cable customers using VoIP. However, cable systems are generally not tuned for VoIP and neighbors of yours can wreck havoc with the quality of your VoIP service. One of my VoIP customers had an interesting experience with cable Internet Access. She was on a second floor of a Manhattan highrise. Sometimes the person at the other end of a VoIP conversation could not hear her or her voice was very weak. She had the cable company investigate: they determined that the cable signal at her modem was too strong, they turned down the signal strength, and the problem was fixed. A week later the problem returned. When they turned the signal strength down, cable customers on the upper floors of the highrise building had too weak a signal and so the cable company had to turn the signal strength up. She solved the problem by moving - the VoIP service allowed her to take her Manhattan number with her to another state.

For those locations where cable is available, get Business Cable Internet Access Price quotes or Residential Cable Internet Access Price quotes.

DSL - Digital Subscriber Line

DSL is a family of technologies provided via twisted wires, the same wires used for traditional phone service. In fact, some DSL providers require that you have a normal phone number and service with them. However, some DSL providers do provide "Naked DSL or "Dry Loop DSL", that is, DSL without the requirement of the customer buying normal phone service from the same provider. As with cable, advertised speeds vary with location; one reason for the variation in speeds is the distance to the phone company central office. The speed (bandwidth) that you get is generally stable over time but it can be much less than the published speed. Like with cable offerings, your DSL might be specified as "up to 3 Mbps down and 384 Kbps up". Depending on the length and condition of the twisted pair running from your location to the central office, you may only be able to get 1 Mbps or less down. However, whatever speed you get initially, you will usually get most of the time. However, there is sharing with other users at the Central Office and between the Central Office and other network nodes, so your speed can vary. SDSL (Synchronous DSL) is a business class DSL that has a higher priority than residential DSL or ADSL (Asynchronous DSL). SDSL is less oversubscribed than ADSL and is subject to fewer bandwidth degradations.The point is that DSL speeds can vary but normally the bandwidth variation on a given DSL circuit is small compared to the variation on a given residential cable circuit. However, there are exceptions. For example, I know of an instance when more or less the same time every day, DSL service seemed to disappear completely. This is unusual.

DSL goes down sometimes and it's not unusual for it to be down for hours at a time. Some locations have more reliable DSL service than others. For example, if the service is provided via overhead lines, it is more likely to go down than if it is provided by lines that run completely underground. Business DSL which costs more than residential DSL is generally more reliable than residential DSL. DSL is also considered to be more secure than cable since cable uses radio frequency signals that could be captured and also because cable is shared.

Generally, VoIP phone service (aka Broadband phone service) works very well over DSL lines. If there are problems, it's probably because your computers that are sharing the DSL with your VoIP phones are competing for the available bandwidth. This can sometimes be cured by programing your router for Quality of Service giving a guaranteed bandwidth to the VoIP IP address(es).

T1 Internet Service

For guaranteed high-speed Internet Access, you can not beat T1 access. Although a standard T1 is 1.5 Mbps, you can get more by going to bonded T1s or a T3 (a T3 is 28 T1s). However, you will pay significantly more for a T1 than for DSL or Cable - prices average $180 to $600 for a full T1 depending on your location and exactly what you want with the T1. Out in the country, you can see up to $750 or so while in some "sweet spots" you can beat these prices. Organizations whose business would grind to a standstill without Internet Access, spend the extra monies for the reliability and consistency of T1 service. Although T1 service is provided over twisted pair wires as is DSL, it is a more reliable technology. With dedicated T1 service you get close to the published bandwidth when it is provided by a tier 1 carrier. There is some overhead but there is no sharing on a dedicated T1.

Furthermore with T1 service you get reliability. On the average, T1 service is down at most 15 minutes in a year! If there is a major outage, for example, caused by a storm or other disaster, the carriers are required by law to fix T1 service first then they work on other services like DSL and POTs service. As an example, during some hurricanes, T1 and DS3 services were typically restored in hours or perhaps a day while DSL and POTs service was only restored after days or weeks. For a business or other organization who does not want to take the risk of possibly having an extended outage, T1 service is often well worth the cost.

Of course, T1 service is a very good platform for VoIP phone service.


Ethernet, Ethernet over Copper (EoC), Ethernet over DS1, and Ethernet over DS3 are more desirable services than cable, T1 or DS3 services since they provide similar reliability as T1 service and the cost per megabyte of bandwidth is usually much less than for T1 or DS3 service. Ethernet services are not as widely available as T1 service; however, carriers are building facilities to make it available in more and more locations.

Satellite Internet Service

Because of the latency and limited throughput allowed on satellite internet service, it is generally only used at remote locations where there are not sufficient other choices. If you are in this situation and would like more info, Contact us.Another disadvantage of Satellite Internet service is that it comes with throughput limitations. For any specific bandwidth, you pay more as your usage increases or your service is cut off each month once you reach the throughput limit.

More Info on Business Internet Access Service
To see a chart comparison, see Internet Access Comparison Chart. If you would like more info on dedicated services, read the featured articles on the various state pages that are linked at the bottom of the following:

Cable -
T-1 -
T3 -
DS3 -
OC3 -
Ethernet -

Obtain Real-Time quotes for your dedicated service requirements.

Determine the speed of your current connection.

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