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Fibre vs ADSL – The Difference in Speeds

Fibre vs ADSL – The Difference in Speeds

Lately, you may have heard a lot about Fibre Internet and the fact that it’s bringing faster download speeds to users across South Africa. But what exactly is the difference in speeds between ADSL and Fibre Internet – and more to the point, what does the terminology all mean?

Internet speeds: Breaking down the jargon

Starting with the basics, ‘Internet speed’ refers to the rate (speed) at which information or data travels from the Web to your device, be it a computer, tablet or smartphone. Internet speed is calculated in megabits per seconds (Mbps), and you’ll usually find that the speed at which you download from the Internet is much higher than the speed at which you upload, as most Internet activity is centered around downloading data.

Your Internet speed depends on the type of connection you have – ADSL or Fibre – and various factors affect the speed of each of those.

Why is Fibre Internet faster than ADSL?

ADSL uses telephone lines to transmit data along copper cables from your nearest telephone exchange to your home or office. The further you are from the exchange, the slower your speeds will be. Copper cables are often affected by bottlenecks: the more Internet traffic, the slower your download speeds – just like traffic on the roads.

Fibre Internet – sometimes referred to as ‘superfast broadband’ – uses fibre optic cables to transmit data. This means that data has the potential to travel at the speed of light, and isn’t affected by your distance from the exchange. It can also handle much higher volumes of traffic without your download speeds being affected.

ADSL offers perfectly acceptable speeds – up to 40Mbp


s – for most Internet activities, including business functions, media streaming and gaming. However, Fibre Internet users enjoy the fastest speeds (up to 200Mbps), and this type of connection is particularly beneficial to large businesses conducting the majority on their work online or via the cloud. Of course, these advantages come at a cost, and Fibre Internet can be pricier than ADSL broadband.


ADSL and Fibre Internet options available in SA

Fibre Internet is a relatively new technology in South Africa, which means it’s only currently available in major business districts and city centers. ADSL is available anywhere that telephone lines exist.


Need more help choosing?

Read our post Fibre vs ADSL: Which is best for your business? or contact us on 087 943 8853 or info@intrawit.co.za for advice.

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