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DSL, Cable or Fiber: What Do You Need for VoIP

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One of the first decisions you need to make when you want to switch to VoIP is your network connection. What service should you get for the type and amount of digital communications you intend to do? What is the right fit for your home or business? A homeowner or a small- to medium-scale business operator typically has three choices: DSL, Cable, or Fiber. Which one is the best?

Know Your Options

The first step in selecting a service is to know your options. So what are the differences between DSL, cable, and fiber? Do any of these matter for VoIP? Let’s dig.


Today one of the most basic options is to get a digital subscriber line (DSL) service. Here, your internet connection is set up on top of your telephone service. It uses a DSL modem to connect to the internet while keeping phone lines free.

Cable Internet

Cable internet access, on the other hand, makes use of the cable television infrastructure to connect to the web. Like DSL, the cable is classified as last-mile access connectivity. These cable internet services, alongside DSL, are more commonly used by residential internet and VoIP users. The last option, fiber optics, is perhaps the best one around.


Fiber optics internet service is definitely high-speed internet and does not lag even over great distances. This is a business-class internet that requires professional installation and maintenance. Fiber optics network services send voice and video data through thin glass fiber cables. Electronic data is sent as light. So, you can just imagine the speed and clarity that you get from fiber internet. Now, from these three, you need to choose your service based on your needs. Think about the amount of VoIP traffic you expect.

Internet Speed

The foremost consideration when looking for network services for your VoIP is bandwidth availability, often referred to as speed. Digital communication requires bandwidth allotment. Conversations are made through the exchange of data packets over the digital network. You need to make sure your internet plan has enough bandwidth for your telephony needs.

The ideal bandwidth for VoIP

When it comes to speed, the service with the least is DSL. While it is a dedicated line, service providers usually impose a cap between 500 kbit/s and 300 Mbit/s. The average DSL speed in Canada ranges between 6 Mbit/s and 50 Mbits/s. Cable, on the other hand, is much faster, at an average of 5 to 1000 Mbit/s. This is great for residential users, and good enough for small to medium-scale businesses. The downside with cable is that it is a shared line. When there is heavy usage within your shared network segment, your internet speed may slow down. Compare these with fiber optic speed, which has a minimum of 10 Mbit/s, and can go to a maximum of 100 Gbit/s. Fiber internet service is exclusive and dedicated. And, even with distance from the central office, the speed does not lag. An added advantage of fiber the typical faster upload speeds, often seen as symmetrical speeds. In that case, download speed and upload speeds are the same; expressed for example as 300/300 Mbit/s. Ideal for work from home.


Another important consideration is reliability. Your network service provider should have a robust system in place. Since you will use their service for telecommunications, you need to be digitally available 24/7 through consistently good connections. In this respect, both DSL and cable are good enough for typical residential VoIP needs. These provide consistent service, albeit with some gaps in performance consistency. Cable, in particular, may suffer from interference and latency issues during data packet processing. Lags, when there is heavy usage within a shared network, are to be expected with cable internet. DSL is not the best option when you have a business that needs to rely heavily on VoIP 24/7. The cable internet may do at the start, for example. However, expect the need to upgrade once your requirements increase. Fiber broadband is a reliable choice and resolves bandwidth, latency, and other issues. However, a fiber optic line needs to exist between your place of work and the service provider’s central office.


As expected, fiber broadband adds up as the most costly. Fees start at $125 per month. For DSL and cable internet, fees range from $50 to $150 per month. But then again, you have to consider your needs and the number of users. Businesses usually find the cost of fiber broadband to be worth it once they start to expand. VoIP, through fiber broadband, can be leveraged to improve business processes and hasten growth.

VoIP Monitoring

A key component in making the most of VoIP communications is monitoring your network connections and digital communications services. Third-party service providers, such as VoIP Spear, persistently, and consistently test your network’s performance. Should your VoIP and network connection experience problems, you’ll know right away and you can troubleshoot ASAP. VoIP is affordable and reliable (residential and business) communications technology as long as you’ve thoroughly considered your network needs, and monitoring and security requisites.

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