At this point, the Internet, in one form or another, is universally available.  You will find so many variants of internet technology that it can get mind-boggling to pick the most appropriate technology for your business.

If you’re a small business or a larger business with multiple small business-sized locations, DSL and cable internet can be good options. While T1, wireless, and satellite-based Internet could be better fits for many bigger businesses or those having very specific internet requirements.

However, it is always a good idea to research your options well before deciding on any one technology. If you go about picking the wrong technology, you will be stuck with it for quite some time. You might end up paying more or might not get the desired QoS. Therefore, it is critical to understand what each technology has to offer.

In this article, we will help you understand the benefits and limitations of DLS and Cable internet. These are great insights into deciding whether these technologies are appropriate for you or not.

What are DSL and Cable Internet Technologies?

Before we go ahead with the benefits and limitations of DSL and Cable internet, we need to understand what these technologies are.

DSL Internet:

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet is a popular broadband connection requiring a dedicated pair of copper wires connected within the user’s telephone lines and a modem or a transceiver. Although it uses telephone lines, DSL uses a separate frequency for internet transmissions. Therefore, it is possible to use the phone line and the Internet simultaneously without interfering.

Cable Internet

Similarly, cable internet uses the cable TV infrastructure to deliver Internet. It also has three components, including modem, CTMS, and coaxial cable.

In short, these technologies use telephone or cable infrastructure to deliver you the Internet. With this understanding, the subsequent logical question is whether DSL and Cable internet are appropriate for business usage.

Cable Internet

Not every business requires sophisticated telecom services, such as SIP or MPLS.  For some businesses, business phone service with DSL or Cable internet does the trick. However, at times these might not give you the desired results. So, it is essential to understand their benefits and limitations.

Benefits Of DSL and Cable Internet

The benefits of DSL and Cable internet are the top reasons why people opt for these technologies. So if the benefits mentioned below add value to your business, you should definitely consider these technologies.

●  Cost-effective

Cable and DSL are two low-priced internet solutions. The cost typically between $50 and $100 a month and provide very high speeds. If you also factor in the cost of business phone lines at an average of $40 a month per line, a business with 6 lines and Internet will spend around $300 a month.

Comparing this cost to the average six-line integrated T1 that costs $400 a month, DSL or cable internet with phone lines is a less expensive solution.

●  No Additional Wiring

DSL and Cable connections use the existing telephone or cable wiring, so you don’t have to invest a significant amount for the initial setup. This could be a lifesaver for a startup or a small business setting up a new location.

●  Reliability

Unlike satellite internet, cable internet doesn’t get affected by inclement weather conditions, so you won’t face outages due to storms. This makes cable internet an excellent choice for unreliable weather regions.

●  Speed

Cable is a really great option for high-speed requirements and can also have speeds going up to 1000 Mbps. You might have to have the corresponding hardware, such as gigabyte modems, to achieve that speed. You can even perform high data-consuming activities with cable internet.

DSL is also appropriate for smaller businesses who can work with up to 100 Mbps speed and have only minor internet usage such as emailing and browsing the Internet. They can even have a great multimedia experience with it; however, the speed slows down if too many computers access the Internet simultaneously.


For high VoIP usage, DSL might not be the best technology.

However, even with these benefits, you should consider the limitations also before choosing your internet technology.

Limitations Of DSL And Cable Internet

Although DSL and Cable internet are valuable technologies, they have their limitations. Moreover, there are many reasons your business can’t get DSL or Cable Internet if certain criteria haven’t been met. It is essential to be aware of these limitations to choose the most appropriate internet technology for your business. Some of these limitations are as follows:

●  Lower effective bandwidth:

Cable and DSL are oversubscribed. This means that the total amount of bandwidth sold in a given area is much higher than the bandwidth supplied.  This is because phone and cable companies figure that only a percentage of subscribers will utilize the service at any given time. Therefore, effectively you receive a lower bandwidth than that sold to you.

●  Distance-sensitive bandwidth:

DSL service from the phone company is distance sensitive – the further your location is from their wire center – the lower the bandwidths that are available.  At some point, you can’t get the service period.  Repeaters and amplifiers are used to increase the reach of DSL, but distance is still the number one reason DSL might not be available in your area.

●  No residential & commercial separation:

If you think that your business can do with sharing the bandwidth with the other businesses in the area, you have only half analyzed the problem. There is no separate commercial and residential cable and DSL internet. Therefore, you’re not just sharing the bandwidth with neighboring businesses but with all the nearby homes as well. This further reduces the effective bandwidth you get.

●  Minimum order or herd requirement:

When the cable was introduced, it was primarily a residential service; commercial zones were left off the network.  So with cable, you either have access to it, or you don’t.

Minimum order or herd requirement

To provide cable internet in a business district, cable companies would require a certain minimum ROI.

Therefore, a business wanting cable will need to subscribe for a certain dollar amount of service for a particular number of months – or recruit neighboring businesses to subscribe as well to fund the construction required.

●  Expensive expansion:

If your business grows and you need more business lines, the incremental cost of DSL/cable with phone lines will increase.

On the other hand, the Integrated T1’s utilize voice over IP technology to offer more included lines and become more economical as your business and need for service increases.

●  Limited geographical availability:

DSL and cable internet have limited availability.  If you have an existing contract and you move your business to a new location, the same services might not be available.  If they’re not, your service provider might not let you out of your contract. This means you will continue to pay for a service that you will no longer use.

●  Support response time:

If your DSL or cable service goes down, the time frame for a repair tech visit is by the next day.  However, if you have an integrated T1, the technician should arrive within 4 hours.  The longer response time might not be a problem for all businesses. However, if you have time-sensitive tasks, you need to ask yourself the question, “Can your business be without internet access for 24 hours?”

●  Expensive internal calling:

If you have multiple locations spread across a large geographical area, calls between your sites on standard business lines are toll calls. So you have to pay for such calls too. However, if you purchase integrated T1s from the same provider, those calls are “on-net” and toll-free.

●  Load coils incompatibility:

Load coils are filters that block out any non-voice frequency.  Load coils are necessary for voice communication on a business phone line to travel over longer distances.  DSL is incompatible with load coils and, therefore, cannot travel through load coil. Consequently, it isn’t easy to transfer voice communication over long distances using the DSL internet.

●  QoS troubles:

Due to the issues such as latency and jitter, it isn’t easy to deliver voice over IP on DSL and cable internet. Further, the QoS also depends on the existence of a DSLAM in the nearest wire center.

QoS troubles

The phone company’s wire center is where your phone lines originate.  A Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexor (DSLAM) is a device used to create DSL internet service.  A DSLAM is an expensive piece of equipment. If a given area is not densely populated or there are few businesses willing to pay the higher cost of business DSL, the phone company that services the area will be less likely to install a DSLAM in its wire center.


There are many things to consider before you purchase DSL or cable, or any other internet technology.  The best thing to do is to contact a telecom consultant or agency.

Consultants and agents offer many different services from many different providers.  They’re experts in their field and can help you determine what service is the best fit for your organization.

CarrierBid takes it a step further.  We’ll help you determine the best service, find you the best price, and we don’t charge a fee.

If you would like to receive more information regarding CarrierBid telecom consulting services, please complete the form on the right side of this page.

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