The Internet as we know and use it today has humble origins. When we began using it at home, we connected to the World Wide Web using dial-up connections.
Just as we got used to the characteristic dial-up tone, better broadband services appeared, most notably ADSL, short for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines, which made for quicker connections than ever before.
More recently fibre connections began to gain popularity as service providers recognise internet users’ ever-increasing need for speed. But is there really a significant difference between broadband services like ADSL and fibre?
While most people who have an internet connection at home or work still use ADSL and other broadband services like VDSL (very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line), wireless services like LTE (Long Term Evolution) and mobile services, fibre has become more sought-after primarily because of the huge advances it offers in terms of larger uncapped data and higher speeds.
And it shows: recent reports showed that the number of ADSL subscribers of a major South African internet service provider declined by 23 986 subscribers from March 2016 to March 2017.
What is fibre?
Fibre to the home, or FTTH services have been named to describe the type of cable that is used for this internet connection. In contrast to traditional copper cables, fibre connections use glass cables, which allow data to be transferred at speeds that are significantly higher.
For instance, the latest tests show the top internet service provider with fibre connections in South Africa reaching download speeds of up to 907,456 Kbps, compared to average broadband speeds of 6,700 Kbps.
As the internet starts to gradually move from being a luxury, to a necessity, additional to traditional utilities like water and electricity, the price of services for the home and business has also decreased to serve this need.
Chances are – even if it doesn’t have a characteristic dial-up tone to remember – that ADSL and its kin might soon also be things of the past.