DSL, Cable, Satellite, or 4G – HDTV and Broadband Internet Service Comparison

September 14, 2021 by No Comments

Service providers now offer telephone, Internet and television services. It is convenient to have only one provider and one invoice per month. With the availability of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), the lines between different services have become even more blurred.

Broadband (high speed) Internet service for residential or small business requirements has generally been available from two sources: DSL, a system that is coupled to the telephone company’s telephone wiring, or Cable, a system that is coupled with similar to cable television wiring. In 2008, about 25 million customers used cable broadband and about 22 million customers used DSL. In 2001, a total of approximately 5 million customers used cable or DSL broadband.

For most people, TV coaxial cable has outperformed DSL, but if you were very price conscious, DSL cable may have been competitive. So in a discussion of broadband options, we should include cable and DSL, but we will also discuss new options that are now available like WildBlue satellite, and soon-to-be-available services like WiMax (WiFi with an access point throughout the world). town). ) and ViaSat (satellite communications on steroids).

The impact of video downloads (especially HDTV):

Despite the relatively small number of users, research indicates that systems like BitTorrent and YouTube account for more than half of all Internet traffic. In 1995, the total amount of data transferred over the Internet backbone was approximately 1.5 million GB. By 2006, it had grown to more than 700 million GB.

ABI Research projects that the number of video downloads will increase from 215 million downloads this year (2008) to 2.4 billion downloads in 2012. This number becomes more impressive considering that a much higher percentage of those downloads in 2012 will be HDTV files, which are much larger (a non-HDTV movie is about 3GB / hour, HDTV file size depends on encoding – size of an MPEG-4 encoded HDTV movie file is about 5 GB / hour, a 1280 X 720 unencoded movie file size is greater than 150 GB / hour and a 1920 X 1080 unencoded movie file size is greater than 350 GB / hour).

For 2010, forecasts indicate that 80-90% of Internet traffic will be video transfer.

Cable and Telephone Companies (DSL):

Cable broadband has a capacity of approximately 30 MBPS of bandwidth, however speed may vary. Unfortunately, measurement in real world conditions can be more difficult. If many people in your neighborhood use the same broadband service as you, and those people use a lot of bandwidth, for example for video downloads, then you are sharing some resources and your performance will suffer. Most service providers offer services with a bandwidth between 3 and 6 MBPS for downloads. The upload bandwidth is less: generally between 200-600 KBPS.

Average DSL speed in the US is 768 KBPS. One type of DSL technology, VDSL, is capable of 30 MBPS bandwidth, but this service is not widely available. Instead, phone companies more commonly offer ADSL or SDSL (cheaper and slower) services.

Cable and DSL broadband service providers often use bandwidth caps for residential and small business customers. Service providers concerned with the overall capacity of their network can set capacity limitations so that they can provide the same performance to all of their customers.

Cable TV and HDTV phone companies:

Verizon is building fiber optic networks that will be capable of transmitting more than 200 HDTV channels in addition to all conventional TV channels.

Most cable operators have enough available bandwidth for only about 10-12 HDTV channels without a major reorganization of their networks.

WiMax and LTE:

In major metropolitan areas in the US, WiMax should be available by the end of 2008. Sprint will make its commercial debut with WiMAX in Baltimore in September. WiMax supports maximum data rates of approximately 20 MBPS, but, as with most broadband technologies, that bandwidth will be shared among users. On average, a user will see data speeds between 1MBPS and 4MBPS.

Most of the major wireless service providers are skipping WiMax, instead planning to build networks using a similar technology called Long Term Evolution (LTE), a successor to today’s cellular technology. WiMax has an advantage over LTE, which will not be ready until 2010. These two technologies are known as 4G networks (the current mobile phone technology to access the Internet is called 3G). If mobile broadband service is important to you, you will find these products very attractive. Unlike their GSM and CDMA rivals, both 4G networks are based on “orthogonal frequency division multiplexing” (OFDM), also sometimes called “discrete multi-tone modulation”. Since both LTE and WiMax are based on similar technology, a unified standard is theoretically possible and discussions are ongoing. Motorola has said that 85% of the technology and work for WiMax equipment will be reused in its designs for LTE equipment.

WiMAX and LTE can offer large amounts of bandwidth operating at the low power levels required for mobile devices. Another advantage of WiMax / LTE is its ability to communicate outside of line of sight (unlike conventional WiFi) and communicate in large buildings, theoretically making dropped calls, typical of today’s mobile phones, a thing of the past. A company called MobiTV will use the WiMAX network for broadcasting TV, including HDTV. VoIP (telephone service) has already been implemented in WiMAX networks in other parts of the world.

Satellite broadband:

WildBlue Satellite has also recently entered the broadband market. This broadband service does not require a telephone or cable line. WildBlue Satellite broadband service offers download / upload speeds starting at just $ 50 per month (512 kbps download speed with up to 128 kbps upload speed) or $ 80 per month (1.5 Mbps download speed and uploads up to 256 kbps). For those who live in areas that do not have good cable and DSL broadband service, this is an attractive alternative. iNetVu offers a portable system for vehicles.

A new very powerful satellite, Viasat-1, will be launched in 2011. This satellite will greatly enhance the satellite’s competitiveness in this field. ViaSat-1 has a total throughput capacity of more than 100 Gb / second, which is more capacity than the current US fleet of bidirectional C, Ka and Ku band satellites combined. In 2010, Ka-Sat will launch a similar service in Europe.

Both the WildBlue and ViaSat terminals use a network technology that uses satellite bandwidth more efficiently, called DOCSIS (Cable Data Service Interface Specifications), which reduces the cost of Internet service for consumers. Terminals include satellite modems and Ka-band transceivers. DOCSIS has the ability to address “rain fading”, a reduction in signal caused by a large layer of clouds, such as during a thunderstorm. DOCSIS automatically responds to a reduced signal caused by atmospheric conditions with variable power control and data encoding techniques.

ViaSat-1 will offer a more than 10-fold increase in capacity with frequency reuse using a technique called “SpotBeams” (WildBlue also uses SpotBeams). ViaSat-1’s high level makes it ideal for streaming new video applications that require ultra-high bit rates, such as HDTV, HD digital cinema, and 3D TV. Spotlights can be compared to a reflector. SpotBeam focuses a signal on an area 100 to 200 miles wide. The same frequencies can be reused many times, but for a different focus area.

WildBlue and ViaSat are geosynchronous satellites. A geosynchronous satellite remains on the same point on Earth orbiting approximately 36,000 kilometers above the equator. Your signal must make a round trip, and the minimum time for that trip is about 1/4 second.

HDTV satellite:

While local HDTV channels are more available via cable than satellite, DirecTV and Dish Network each offer more national HDTV channels. DirecTV offers about 60 national HDTV channels and Dish Network has about 50 HDTV channels. DirecTV and EchoStar plan additional satellites to offer at least 150 national HD channels, as well as local HDTV stations.

“Satellites will be limited not so much by the number of channels they can transmit but by the number of channels they can get,” Bob Scherman, Satellite Business News.

By 2010, 60% of TV receivers are projected to use a satellite signal, up from 15% in 2002.


Average DSL speed in the US is 768 KBPS.

Average internet speed over cable broadband is approximately 4.5 mbps.

WildBlue service is approximately 500 KBPS.

WiMax service will be between 1 MBPS and 4 MBPS.

The ViaSat-1 (2011) service will be approximately 2 MBPS.

HDTV service is currently more complete by satellite television companies such as DirectV and Dish Network. The new systems Verizon is rolling out, or perhaps a complete overhaul by local cable TV operators, will offer the best competition.

The provision of HDTV and broadband services in the US is currently fragmented from the satellite industry. Both may be available from local retailers, but a unified system is lacking. This compares badly with Europa and EutelSat, which will launch Ka-Sat in 2010 (Ka-Sat is very similar to ViaSat-1, discussed above), and will install this satellite in a “neighborhood” of satellites, so that a single system You will receive both the television signals from your HotBird satellite system and Ka-Sat’s high-performance broadband. This is unfortunate for American consumers.

Currently, more than 90% of broadband customers use cable or DSL broadband. However, new decent competition is coming into play, and it will be difficult for these services to maintain their market share.

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