CNET's guide to choosing the right broadband connection
By Daniel Tynan
Life is full of hard choices: McDonald's or Burger King? Britney or Christina? Cable modem or DSL? Sometimes your options are indistinguishable (well, except that McDonald's fries are tastier), but in the case of broadband Internet services, one thing is crystal clear: both are vastly superior to slow 56Kbps dial-up connections.
There are about 16 million cable and DSL subscribers in the United States, and that number is steadily rising, according to research firm Instat-MDR. Still, that's only about 20 percent of all domestic Net surfers. What about the rest of you? Isn't it time you moved into the fast lane?
A broadband connection isn't a miracle cure for sluggish Web surfing, but it ain't half bad. Most Web pages load at least three times faster using DSL or a cable modem than they do over dial-up. Broadband is also much swifter for downloading files, streaming video, or sending big e-mail attachments. If you work from home, need to access files on a company server, regularly move around big chunks of data, or surf the Net more than an hour per day, the time you'll save is easily worth the $40 to $50 cost per month of either service.
DSL and cable modem services are largely concentrated in high-population metro areas, so if you can get one type, you can probably get both. Which should you choose? Is one truly superior? Read on to uncover the reality.
The lowdown on DSL
Here are the facts vs. the fiction on this almost-mainstream access choice.
The inside skinny on cable
No, we're not talking about TV. Get the dish on this no-dish broadband.
DSL vs. cable: the death match
Round by round, the high-speed big guns face off. Who will prevail?
See our at-a-glance breakdown of prices, speeds, pros, and cons of cable vs. DSL.
Help me dig up the dirt on DSL!