PC Doctor January 26, 2018

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Dear PC Doctor:

There are some terms I’ve heard that I don’t understand. What’s the difference between cable and fiber for internet?

Thank you,


Dear Mark:

Cable is a high-speed cable internet connection. Coaxial cable is copper or copper coated wire covered with insulation and an aluminum coating. It is used to transmit television, telephone, and data signals. Traditional cable Internet uses cable TV infrastructure to transmit data. Although cable Internet does not interfere with your television, you may have to share the connection with your neighbors. Coaxial cable has a higher cost for its length because of the price of copper.

Fiber is a broadband fiber connection. Fiber optic cable carries the same types of signals as cable. It can cover longer distances without amplification and has been seen to be less liable to interference. Fiber optic Internet is a newer technology than cable. Information is sent via small, flexible strands of glass that transmit light. This allows data to be sent faster over greater distances.

Most phone service companies also offer cable Internet. It’s accessible by almost anyone in any area. There are fewer fiber optic-based Internet service providers on the market. Not all fiber optic networks reach all cities and neighborhoods, although that is changing.

There’s also DSL. DSL service uses your local phone line to deliver high-speed internet. Unlike dial-up service, DSL uses separate frequencies for phone and internet, so you can use both at the same time.

To know which is better for you, you’ll want to know what’s available in your area, costs, and upload and download speeds.

Until next time,
Happy Computing!

PC Doctor