What’s the Difference Between Fiber vs. DSL vs. WiFi?

At CTTC, We get asked all the time, what is the difference between the different types of internet connectivity available in our region, so we thought we would give a quick overview of all of the options out there, and more specifically the ones available to most of our communities.


The Internet Has Become a Critical Tool For the Success of Rural Texas Communities

Living in rural Texas presents many unique challenges that our friends in the big city rarely have to face. For many, one of those challenges is access to reliable, fast internet for your home and business. However, CTTC has laid the groundwork to help our Central Texas communities lead the way in fiber connectivity, building Smart Rural Communities, and providing fast, reliable internet connectivity with lightning-fast speeds. Over the past year, it has become more important than ever to be able to work from home, run online businesses, and have access to telemedicine, and CTTC has been here to ensure our rural Texas towns like Bend, Big Valley, Cherokee, Doole, Millersview, Eola, Evant, Goldthwaite, Locker, Lohn, Melvin, Mercury, Mullin, Priddy, Richland Springs, Rochelle, San Saba, Star, and Voca have the best connection possible.


The Four Main Types of Internet Connections

When it comes to choosing which type of internet delivery service is best for you, it is important to know the differences between your choices and what options are available. There are four primary types of internet connections: Fiber, Cable, DSL, and Wireless Internet. Each type of connection has different download and upload speeds, as well as different delivery methods. Here are the facts you need to know about each type of connection:

Fiber Internet Connection  (Available from CTTC)

Fiber internet is a broadband internet connection delivered through glass fibers that allow for data to be transferred at about 70% of the speed of light. Fiber connections are fast (up to 1 gig-1000 Mbps) and are resilient to external factors because the lines are dedicated only for internet connections. 

Cable Internet Connection

A cable internet connection uses underground coaxial cables that are shared lines that also transmit television signals. Cable connections can be as fast as fiber internet (up to 1 gig-1000 Mbps) in some cases, but connections are not very common in rural areas. Cable connections also experience lags during peak use times due to the shared nature of the connection.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) Connection (Available from CTTC)

DSL is an affordable, fast option that transmits signals over copper phone lines. DSL is often the best option available to rural communities due to the lack of existing fiber or cable lines. Most communities have existing phone lines that can be shared to transfer data over the internet at speeds up to about 115 Mbps.

Wireless Internet

Wireless internet is becoming more common but has been less widespread up this point. This type of connection uses stationary fixed points to transmit the data signal from one location to another, it does not require a cable delivery system, so it is very flexible. WIreless connections transfer signals over the air instead of through a cable or fiber, so the connection is much slower, around 25 Mbps. These connections are also impacted by weather and sightlines, and if the signal becomes blocked by a tree or a building, the connection will deteriorate. 

What is Mbps Exactly?

One of the most important questions you need to ask when considering an internet provider is how fast does my internet need to be? The national average internet speed in the United States is 42.86 Mbps, but what is Mbps anyway? Broadband speeds are measured in “megabits per second,” shortened to Mbps. Bits are tiny units of data with a megabit representing a million of them. The higher the number of Mbps, the faster your internet connection. Any internet speed of less than 25 Mbps is considered a slow connection.


How Does WiFi Play A Role in Connecting Communities?

WiFi is often confused as being interchangeable with other internet connections. In actuality, WiFi is what transmits data inside of your home or business from your router to devices such as your smartphone, tablet, smart TV, laptop, and anything else that can pick up and utilize an existing internet signal. A WiFi signal is local, which means that it will generally only reach the areas within your home or office. It does not create internet access; it only allows you to have the signal carried to your device when there is internet service available. Wireless internet service is not WiFi, and WiFi is not internet service. The two go hand-in-hand, but they are not the same thing. WiFi does allow businesses to offer customers a connection while they are shopping or having a coffee. The quality of the WiFi connection will depend on the type of internet connection and router that it is connected to.


Why Fiber is the Future of Internet Connectivity 

In rural areas, many large cable companies do not want to make the investment in infrastructure for internet services for residents. This means that many rural communities are being left behind when it comes to technology and growing businesses beyond our local neighborhoods. However, CTTC has invested greatly in the future of our region, digging hundreds of miles of fiber lines to prepare for the future. 

Fiber is the most reliable, and fastest option available today. The further you move from the source of the connection, the fiber signal barely degrades. It has a higher resistance to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI), so you can rely on the fact that your signal won’t be interrupted by things that carry an electrical signal. Likewise, the speeds are not affected by environmental factors either. It can reach speeds from 50Mbps to 100Gbps, which are unmatched by other technologies.

Fiber is also far superior when it comes to security since the only way to disrupt a fiber optic internet connection is to cut a cable. This compromise can be identified quickly, fixed rapidly, and there is no way that anyone can tap or listen in on your transmissions. Optical fibers are easy to install and simple to upgrade so it is a great solution for a growing business, especially in a rural area. 

Finally, the cost of using fiber internet is lower than other methods. The initial cost may be higher than wireless or other wired methods, but the cables require less maintenance since they are resistant to corrosion, and, because of this, they are far more reliable.


Speed and Reliability for Your Business

If you are looking for high-quality internet that is fast and reliable, contact CTTC to discuss all of your options for internet services. We are happy to break down all of the differences between our services and help you decide which is right for you. When your business or home needs the best possible internet service, only CTTC has the internet options that will keep you reliably connected. Don’t let internet connection be a challenge for your family, CTTC is here to connect you to the rest of the world quickly and reliably.