ADSL vs Cable In Australia – which is better?


In Australia, there are many different broadband options to choose from.

Broadband is a necessity for most homes, with many people opting for either ADSL or cable broadband. But what’s the difference between the two? And which one is better for you? In this post, we’ll take a look at what they are and the pros and cons of each type of broadband, so that you can make an informed decision about which is best for your needs.

What is ADSL?

ADSL stands for Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line, and is a form of broadband that allows information to be sent over existing telephone lines. How does it do this? By using frequencies above the frequency range used for regular phone calls.

This method of broadband transfer has been in use since the mid-1990s, but was superseded by cable broadband in terms of popularity. It is still popular across Asia however, due to being relatively cheap compared with other types of high-speed internet access.

It is considered one of the simplest ways to connect to the internet through telephone cables. It can be used with any type of existing phone line, so it is often an ideal solution if DSL service is already available in your area. The broadband signal that this technology uses operates at frequencies between 25 Hz and 1 MHz. Although it has a much lower data capacity than cable does, it has excellent noise resistance which makes interference issues very rare. The speed that you experience will vary depending on how far away from the nearest switching station you are located and how many users in your area are connected at once.

What is Cable?

Cable broadband is a type of internet connection that uses a physical cable to deliver data to and from the user’s computer. There are three different types of infrastructure used to provide cable broadband – coaxial cabling, telephone lines, and high voltage power lines.

Cable broadband also uses existing infrastructure- in this case, pre-existing cabling laid during the construction of homes and buildings – to send data from point A to point B. In fact, there are three different types of cable broadband, each using different types of cables.

Coaxial cables

No matter which type is used, the main idea behind all three is the same- data to be transferred over short distances are sent through cables that already exist in homes and buildings. The earliest version uses coaxial cabling normally found in a household TV setup.

Phone line

The second method uses similar technology but sends data through a phone line – this is typically found in areas where standard telephone lines cannot achieve the speeds required by modern users with their internet needs.


High voltage power lines

The third option available to customers who use cable broadband also uses existing infrastructure, but instead of coaxial or telephone cabling, it uses high voltage power lines that run into residences and businesses from distribution poles outside town limits. This system is often the fastest and most reliable but can be more expensive to install.

So, you’re trying to decide whether to go with ADSL or cable internet? Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of each:

What are the pros of ADSL internet?

1. Typically more affordable than cable.

2. Can be installed relatively easily – no need for a technician to come to your home.

3. Works with most devices, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

4. Generally offers faster speeds than cable.

5. Good for small households or those who only use the internet for basic activities like checking email or browsing the web.

What are the cons of ADSL internet?

1. Speed can vary depending on your location and how far you are from the nearest telephone exchange.

2. Not available in all areas.

3. Your home must be wired for telephone service in order to use ADSL.

4. Being a digital signal, it can be prone to interference from other electronic devices.

5. Upload speeds are typically slower than download speeds.

What are the pros of cable internet?

1. Generally delivers faster speeds than ADSL, especially if you live close to the cable company’s office.

2. Works with a wide range of devices, including gaming consoles, streaming media players, and smart TVs.

3. Upload speeds are generally faster than download speeds.

4. Extremely reliable and less prone to interference than ADSL.

5. Available in most areas.

What are the cons of cable internet?

1. Requires wiring to your home, which can be costly and time-consuming.

2. Not available in all areas.

3. Can be more expensive than ADSL.

4. Can experience outages during bad weather conditions or when too many people are using the cable network at the same time.

5. Upload speeds may not be as fast as download speeds for some people.

Which is better and why?

The answer to this question largely depends on your individual needs and preferences. ADSL is a great option if you want a reliable, high-speed internet connection that is available in most areas. However, cable may be a better choice if you require faster upload speeds, want the convenience of having wiring installed in your home, or are willing to pay more for a higher-speed connection. Ultimately, the best decision is the one that best suits your specific needs.

If you’re still not sure which type of internet connection is right for you, be sure to contact your local service provider and ask for advice. They will be able to help you decide which type of connection is best for your needs and budget.

Speed comparison between the two services

ADSL stands for “asymmetric digital subscriber line”. It normally has a maximum download speed of 24 Mbps and an upload speed of 1.5 – 3 Mbps (although more recent ADSL2+ standards boast speeds up to 24 Mbps).

Cable internet access uses coaxial cables to connect users to the internet. These generally offer faster download speeds than DSL, reaching speeds as high as 150-300 Mbps or even 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) for some services. They are also available in most urban areas and offers more stable uptime due to less exposure to elements such as lightning; however, it can be much pricier than DSL service.

However, in Australia, ADSL and cable internet are now being upgraded to NBN (National Broadband Network)

What is NBN?

The NBN is a 100% government-owned company that is responsible for the rollout of Australia’s new high-speed broadband network. The NBN uses a variety of technologies to deliver fast, reliable broadband internet to homes and businesses all over Australia.

How does NBN work?

There are three main types of NBN connections: Fixed Wireless, Satellite, and Fibre.

  • Fixed Wireless: This type of connection uses antennas to transmit broadband signals directly to users’ homes or businesses. Fixed Wireless is ideal for rural and regional areas where cable or ADSL service is not available.
  • Satellite: This type of connection delivers broadband signals by satellite to users who live in remote areas or who cannot access other types of NBN connections.
  • Fibre: Fibre technology connects NBN users’ homes or businesses to the network using optical fibre. Optical fibre is a thin cable that transmits light signals which move information very quickly. Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections use a single piece of fibre, while FTTP/B uses a combination of optical fibres and copper wiring.

NBN’s satellite connection has almost doubled in speed in the last year, according to an announcement from NBN Co. The company says its aim is to eventually offer satellite speeds high enough for life online, including streaming multiple TV channels at once – but not everyone thinks this will happen anytime soon. Satellite NBN customers currently receive speeds between 12Mbps and 25Mbps download and 1Mbps and 5Mbps upload, which is more than enough for standard home usage.

NBN’s Sky Muster II satellite was launched in October 2017 and is now providing broadband services to over 200,000 rural and regional Australians who previously had no high-speed internet access. The original Sky Muster satellite has been upgraded to offer speeds of up to 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload.

What are the top NBN providers in Australia?

From our experience,

  1. Aussie Broadband
  2. Telstra


In the end, it really comes down to personal preference and what is available in your area. If you’re happy with your current Internet service and it meets your needs, there’s no reason to switch. However, if you’re looking for a faster, more reliable option and you have access to NBN, it’s probably the best choice for you.

If you are still uncertain, get in touch with one of our network setup engineers for some free advice.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...