Many people have broadband internet (1.5 or 2Mbps) that allows the streaming of high-definition video, sending and receiving large files and playing online games. How do you connect to the home internet? This article takes a look at some of the most common residential internet technologies:


This is the most popular form of residential internet and provides “last mile access” from the ISP to the end-user. The last mile is the part that gets to the customer.

Cable internet makes use of a cable modem termination system at the provider’s facility and a cable modem on the user’s end. The systems are connected using a coaxial cable. The distance between the ISP facilities and the end-user can be up to 100 miles.

The cable system spreads the speeds evenly for all users. But when many users connect at the same time, the speeds become slow for everyone.

Cable modems are programmed with rate limits to prevent users from taking up all bandwidth for themselves. Some ISPs have metered rates where users who use up more data pay more.

Cable speeds go as high as 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload.


Digital subscriber line uses cable television systems just like cable. DSL uses existing phone networks. Residential DSL is asymmetrical meaning that download speeds are faster than upload speeds. Symmetric DSL where upload and download speeds are equal is less common.

Also like cable, DSL is used as the last mile where the user’s copper phone line and telephone exchange link up. This connection is limited to about 2 miles and the further you are from the exchange, the slower your speeds will be.

This type of connection works well in areas that are close to a telephone exchange. Download speeds for DSL are limited to 40Mbps.


This is the newest type of connection that uses optical fiber to connect users with high data speeds over long distances. Fiber internet offers high internet speeds in both directions.


LTE or Long Term Evolution is a next-generation wireless technology that offers true broadband speeds to mobile devices and wireless modems. You don’t require cables with this connection, you can connect using an LTE mobile device, a USB or battery-powered dongle.

Speeds can be 50Mbps download and 30Mbps upload but the next evolution of LTE promises even faster speeds.

LTE is quite promising as it can help solve the last mile connectivity issues, it works over longer distances and it’s portable.

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