Best Internet Alternatives to DSL

Alternatives to DSL internet

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As the internet became more and more popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, digital subscriber line (DSL) technology ushered in the first broadband internet connection. It made continuous, always-on, high-speed internet access available and silenced the screeches of dial-up modems. DSL was also a welcome solution to the complaints of millions of dial-up users who just couldn’t deal anymore.

Many other broadband offerings have far exceeded the speeds and capabilities of DSL, to the point where it is considered a legacy technology that is being phased out by some of the nation’s largest internet providers. We’re not calling it the end of DSL yet, but now is an excellent time to start exploring other types of internet

Looking for faster internet? What connection types are available in your area.

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Here’s a look at several alternatives to DSL internet that provide reliable and stable connections now and for the future.

Fiber Internet

Fiber internet is by far the fastest of any internet service. It is also what many ground-based internet providers are investing in to sustain their business success today and down the road.

Fiber internet relies on fiber optic technology, which transmits data between two points using pulses of light, rather than the electric impulses copper networks utilize. It is the future of land-based internet, as it provides massive bandwidth and incredibly fast speeds over long distances.

Currently, fiber is typically only available in densely populated areas where it is easy to get it to the greatest number of users in an efficient manner. However, recent funding from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is incenting providers to begin deploying fiber networks in more areas. In short, fiber will become more available over the next several years.

Things to Consider

Top Fiber Providers

  • Fiber & DSL provider
  • WiFi router included
  • Unlimited data included
  • Simplified pricing
  • Unlimited data included
  • No annual contract required

Cable Internet

Cable internet is one of the most widely available internet services in the United States. Similar to DSL, cable internet transmits data over copper coaxial cables – the same cable over which cable TV is distributed. If you have access to cable TV, you more than likely have access to cable internet.

While it doesn’t have the same speed potential as fiber, cable internet is capable of reaching speeds over 1000 Mbps. This is plenty of speed to support working from home, streaming, gaming, and a “smart” home. Top speeds are dependent upon the provider and your location.

Things to Consider

Top Cable Providers

  • Same-day installations
  • 8+ million free WiFi hotspots
  • Unlimited data available
  • Contract buyouts up to $500
  • Free access to WiFi hotspots
  • Nationwide availability

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is the most accessible type of service. If you have an unobstructed view of the sky, satellite internet is available to you. For this reason, satellite internet is ideal for those in remote and rural locations. It often is the only internet service in these areas.

Though it is the most widely available service, it is also the slowest and laggiest. Download speeds can reach about 100 Mbps, and upload speeds can be as low as 3 Mbps. It relies on line of sight from your satellite dish to a satellite, or group of satellites, orbiting the earth, making it prone to weather disturbances and other obstructions.

Things to Consider

Top Satellite Providers

  • Fast satellite internet
  • Ideal for rural areas
  • Up to 3x faster than DSL*
  • Satellite internet
  • 2-year fixed pricing
  • No hard data caps

5G Internet

Fifth-generation internet technology is the latest evolution of cellular data networks, set to replace LTE, 4G, and 3G in the coming years. 5G is a wireless technology with several layers in its spectrum that can provide speeds as high as 10 Gbps. While we won’t see 10 Gbps publicly available for some time, 5G is capable of providing stable speeds to consumers hovering around 100 Mbps and higher.

5G internet is a wireless technology with reception and speeds varying depending on location. If it is available in your area, it is a viable solution for broadband internet access. As of now, there are only a couple of providers offering in-home 5G internet, but we expect that to change as this relatively new technology continues to deploy and advance.

Things to Consider

Top 5G Providers

  • Variety of plans
  • Wide availability
  • Fiber internet speeds
  • Fast symmetrical speeds
  • Fiber-optics network
  • No annual contracts

Fixed Wireless Internet

Similar in function to satellite internet, fixed wireless internet operates by line-of-sight from a transceiver on your property to a provider’s tower rather than to a satellite orbiting the earth. Fixed wireless is capable of speeds that compete with and surpass those of DSL internet; however, a direct line of sight is mandatory for fixed wireless internet.

If you live in a rural area, fixed wireless internet offers an alternative to satellite internet. As long as there is a clear line of sight between the receiver and the tower, its signals are capable of traveling long distances (~10 miles). One advantage fixed wireless has over satellite internet is that it is less likely to be disrupted by inclement weather. Fixed wireless is also great in densely populated urban areas and apartment buildings.

Things to Consider

Top Fixed Wireless Internet Providers

  • Variety of plans
  • Wide availability
  • Fiber internet speeds
  • Fast speeds in rural areas
  • Affordable prices
  • Quick installations

Final Thoughts

DSL is a readily available type of broadband internet, but all signs point to the sunset of the technology. It simply can’t provide the bandwidth and speeds today’s lifestyles demand.

However, we encourage you to begin looking for alternative solutions to DSL, as it is older technology with many limitations. As providers invest in new technologies, such as 5G and fiber internet, you can expect to start seeing more choices and faster speeds becoming available in your area.

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Keith Carlson
Written By
Keith Carlson
Written By
Keith Carlson
Keith is a Contributing Writer for HighSpeedOptions with over 10 years of experience in writing and marketing. He has written for and contributed to organizations in the non-profit, financial, and enterprise internet and cable service industries. At HighSpeedOptions, Keith covers everything from broadband news to emerging technologies and how they complement different lifestyles and budgetary needs. In his free time, Keith enjoys spending time with his family, reading as many books as he can, and photography.