Internet connectivity is a prerequisite for progressing in the current times. However, there are loads of internet connection types in the market, which can easily confuse common consumers. Don’t worry, though. In this article, we will cover all the major internet service types out there, so you can compare them and find the best one for yourself.

Cable Internet Service

One of the most common forms of internet access in the US is cable, which has about 88% coverage nationwide. How does cable internet work? It transmits high-speed broadband in the form of electrical signals over traditional television wiring in a community. In other words, cable providers use the same infrastructure for internet service that they utilize for bringing cable TV to your home. Tapping into the network backbone at the ISP’s station, cable internet is essentially a “last mile” connection. 

What kind of speeds can you expect with a cable internet connection? Cable internet delivers about 10 to 200 Mbps download and 1 to 10 Mbps upload speeds on average. Using this, you can conduct multiple online activities such as streaming, gaming, videoconferencing, general web surfing and so much more. It supports 5 to 7 connected devices at the same time. Moreover, the latest DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) standard ensures a high-speed bandwidth distribution with lesser latency than other network types.

Where can you find a cable connection? In almost every big or small city or suburb where coaxial wiring is available. There are hundreds of cable companies operating in the US. Because of its widespread coverage, the pricing for cable internet connections is also relatively affordable for an average household. Take a look at Cox internet prices, and you’ll see how a fast cable internet plan will cost you less than $100 generally. 

Here are a few pros and cons of cable internet:



·       Best for bundling internet, TV, and landline

·       Faster speeds than DSL internet

·       Connection not reliant on distance from the ISP station

·       Limited availability in rural areas

·       Shared bandwidth reduces speeds in peak hours

·       Unequal download and upload speeds

DSL Internet Service

DSL stands for “Digital Subscriber Line” and is one of the oldest internet connection types in the US, which gives it a greater coverage spanning 89% of the nation. How does DSL internet work? Digital Subscriber Line utilizes the telephone wiring in an area to transmit data in the form of electrical signals to a home. It is easy to confuse DSL with dial-up. Unlike dial-up, DSL is an “always-on” connection. It uses higher frequency bands to keep the phone bandwidth separate from the internet, allowing you to use both services at the same time. Like cable, it is also a “last mile” connection.

What kind of speeds can you expect with a DSL internet connection? With an ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) connection, you can get a 10 to 15 Mbps download speed and 1 to 3 Mbps upload speed. Whereas, with a VDSL (Very-High-Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Line) connection, you can enjoy up to 300 Mbps download and up to 100 Mbps upload speeds theoretically. However, the speeds may drop if the distance between a DSL station and your home lengthens.

Where can you find a DSL connection? DSL internet is available wherever there is copper phone wiring, i.e. in urban and suburban areas, reducing its pricing to as low as $19 a month on average. 

Here are a few pros and cons of DSL internet:



·       Affordably priced packages

·       Direct connection with ISP prevents peak-time slowdowns

·       Doesn’t require new wiring to be installed  

·       Connection efficiency relies on distance from the ISP station to the residence

·       Lower speeds than other connection types

·       Unequal download and upload speeds

Fiber Optic Internet Service

Fiber optic internet is by far the fastest broadband type in the market. It is a yardstick for all internet services because its speeds are unrivaled and its infrastructure is quite sophisticated. How does fiber optic internet work? Fiber internet uses state-of-the-art optical fiber cables, composed of either glass or plastic, to transmit internet signals in the form of light waves to fiber-connected homes. Since it requires new fiber cabling to be installed in an area, fiber internet has only 43% coverage in the US.

What kind of speeds can you expect with a fiber internet connection? Light travels faster through the fiber optic cables using the principle of “total internet reflection.” This enables fiber providers to beam equally fast upload and download speeds, ranging between 500 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps to residences and businesses. With such superior speeds, you can conduct intensive web activities on more than 10 connected devices at the same time. What’s more, fiber internet pricing is surprisingly low for the high speeds. However, the installation costs more than $99 on average, which is a bummer.

Here are a few pros and cons of fiber internet:



·       Next-gen network technology with extremely fast internet performance

·       Symmetrical download and upload speeds

·       Expensive installation of fiber optic lines

·       Limited availability

Satellite Internet Service

Before there was anything, there was satellite internet. As the name signifies, satellite internet delivers broadband to homes via geostationary satellites. How does satellite internet work? What happens is that a satellite provider beams internet signals from its station to the orbiting satellite in outer space, which in turn, sends the signals down to the receiving dish installed on the rooftop of a subscriber’s home. This trip happens within seconds and in the shape of radio waves. Since it relies on wireless transmission more and doesn’t depend on grounded cabling, satellite internet has the greatest availability in the US, nearing 99%, which is a sheer blessing for rural residents.

What kind of speeds can you expect with a satellite internet connection? We all know that wireless performance can’t beat the wired one, so consequently, with a satellite connection, you can only experience up to 50 Mbps download speeds and up to 3 Mbps upload speeds realistically, through ISPs may advertise up to 100 Mbps. Plus, these speeds are not without data caps. Satellite internet in general costs about $30 to $150 on average a month, based on the plan you’ve chosen. 

Here are a few pros and cons of satellite internet:



·       Greatest availability in both urban and rural areas

·       No cable installation required

·       Susceptible to weather interferences

·       High price for low speeds

Mobile Wireless Internet Service

The internet market is a particularly thriving one, which is why many mobile companies have also hopped the bandwagon and introduced their own versions of cellular broadband, known as mobile internet. How does mobile internet work? Mobile internet transmits data packets to eligible mobile devices through cellular towers in the vicinity, and in the form of radio waves. Whoever has a mobile device can subscribe to mobile internet from a carrier. This is why mobile broadband also has 99% availability in the US, because cellular towers are available almost everywhere, enabling you to use the internet on your compact device on the go.

What kind of speeds can you expect with a mobile internet connection? The current wireless communication standard for mobile broadband is 4G LTE, which offers a 55 Mbps download and 13 Mbps upload speed realistically, though theoretically, it promises up to 100 Mbps. Moreover, 5G is just on the horizon, as well, bringing up to 1 Gbps mobile internet performance for connected users. Keep in mind that mobile data is expensive and comes with data caps, which can be annoying, but it is a great option if you wish to be connected on the go.

Here are a few pros and cons of mobile internet:



·       Wireless mobile internet covers both urban and rural areas

·       More secure than public Wi-Fi

·       Expensively priced plans with data caps

·       Requires 4G or 5G compatible devices

The Final Word

Choosing the best internet option for yourself is tough. However, after going through the aforementioned major broadband types, you can make an informed decision and get connected right away.