Homes and small businesses all over South Africa have opted for fibre over DSL as peoples’ digital lives become even more well-established. So many facets of life have moved online and new avenues of digital interaction have opened up – including telemedicine, e-commerce and virtual learning.
Remote workers, small businesses, home-schoolers and couch potatoes all over the country have opted for fibre as DSL internet simply does not cater for their needs. But what is the difference? Why is DSL becoming outdated?
DSL versus fibre
If DSL is a bicycle, then fibre is a Ferrari. The differences between the two internet options are huge. Fibre offers a steady, fast and reliable connection, whereas DSL will leave users feeling frustrated by slow speeds and unstable lines.
The key difference is the type of line that is used. DSL works on telephone lines, while fibre is brought to homes and businesses through fibre optic cables. With fibre, data can travel at the speed of light, and upload and download speeds are generally the same.
Many users can connect to a fibre line without compromising the quality of the connection. The more users that connect to a DSL line, the slower the internet speeds will be. Basically, DSL lines are not designed for heavy data transfer. Rather, they were intended to be phone lines that evolved into being used for the internet.
Telephone lines are also a major target for thieves, as they can be sold for scrap metal. What’s more, these lines are easily affected by bad weather. By relying on telephone lines, DSL connections are often inconsistent. Fibre lines, on the other hand, are more robust and not susceptible to bad weather and human interference. They are stronger and can include data encryption and anti-tampering to provide enhanced security and privacy.
Here are some more differences between DSL and fibre:
- DSL download speeds can reach up to 35Mbps, whereas fibre download speeds can reach 1Gbps.
- DSL upload speeds can reach 10Mbps, whereas fibre upload speeds can top out at 1Gbps.
- DSL has asynchronous speeds, where the upload and download speeds differ. Fibre has synchronous speeds, where the upload and download speeds are the same.
- More users over DSL connections will slow the network down. For fibre, the signal strength is not affected by the number of users.
- DSL uses insecure and unreliable connections, whereas fibre has better security and reliability.
Fibre for work
Now that we’ve been through the nitty-gritty, let’s have a look at how fibre can work for those at work. In a recent study, researchers found that 40% of workers can do their jobs at home. While this statistic applies to the American workforce, it still gives us food for thought. If South Africa is to keep up with the big economic players, individuals and businesses need to digitally transform the way they work.
A major issue in South Africa is the dreaded load-shedding, but having fibre can help keep businesses online even when the electricity fails. By plugging WiFi routers into a UPS box (Uninterrupted Power Supply), fibre internet connections can stay up and running for up to four hours.
Fibre is a necessity for those wishing to conduct their work online. The connection speeds available with DSL do not allow for professional conference calls. Ditching DSL for fibre allows remote collaboration to improve, as fibre allows for better voice and video quality. It also enables teams to upload and download huge files without disruption.
Remote learning requires high-speed connections
The internet has opened up huge potential for education; for schools and universities alike. However, tech can steal attention. Screen freezes, silence, delays and jittery videos cause frustration for both learners and educators. Neurological studies on digital fatigue have shown that learners are seriously affected when technology fails.
With a DSL line, these issues are almost certainly going to happen on a daily basis. To really capture the potential that remote learning offers, online students need to have a stable connection so that they can interact with their classmates and teachers, upload and download assignments, do research and access teaching resources.
Symmetrical speeds, such as those offered by fibre, enable learners to engage in lessons conducted via videoconferencing. Digital learning is a powerful tool that empowers students to engage with materials in new and exciting ways. It’s not just about moving the classroom online; learning apps and digital collaborations with students worldwide help to prepare them for a workforce that is progressively moving online.
Fibre for your free time
Fibre is not just for workers and learners. Leisure activities, such as watching shows, playing games, scrolling through social media and keeping in shape are massively improved for those with a fibre line. Online streaming of videos and films is a painful affair if it is to be done using DSL. Gamers need to have a stable line and to be able to transfer a lot of data.
If more than one device is connected to a DSL line, connectivity suffers and gameplay or streaming is seriously affected. Apart from entertainment, the internet offers a self-paced, discrete and abundant source of workout opportunities. Whether it is attending a live gym class via video conferencing, or streaming a pre-recorded workout video – it is necessary to have a high-speed connection to avoid the frustration of lagging or lost connection.
Looking ahead: Why fibre has become a necessity
It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population is always online and cyberspace is only set to grow. The stigma related to working and studying online has disappeared in recent years, leaving internet users hungry for faster and more stable connections. Video-conferencing for work, remote learning and online entertainment services all require higher bandwidth speeds than those offered by old-school DSL lines.
In the future, new kinds of apps and social media will emerge that are going to require high-speed, stable connections. Augmented reality is a technology that is already being used in the business world to make remote working more personal and interactive. Slow connections cost workers and students a lot of time in terms of lost productivity.
Make sure your home and workplace are ready for the future with fibre. For more information about our fibre offerings or to get a quote for an internet upgrade, please contact us today or check if we’re connected to your address.