What Is the Different Between Broadband and DSL?

Broadband is a catch-all term for Internet signals with a high bandwidth, and DSL is a certain type of Internet connection that falls under the broadband umbrella. DSL stands for digital subscriber line and transmits through the wires of the telephone network.

Because broadband is a catch-all term, no specific type of Internet connection is broadband. Rather, many different connections that meet the bandwidth criteria for broadband are considered as such. Cable, satellite, DSL, fiber-optic and wireless Internet can all be broadband connections. By contrast, dial-up Internet of the 1990s would not be considered a broadband connection.

DSL, being a specific type of broadband connection, has the potential to delivery a variety of speeds. Typically, DSL speeds range from 256 kilobits per second to 24 megabits per second. DSL speeds are contingent on distance from the Internet service provider.

Other forms of broadband Internet provide varying advantages and disadvantages. Cable, another common form of broadband Internet, typically offers faster speeds than DSL. Cable's Internet speeds are also not contingent on the distance from the Internet service provide. However, cable Internet speeds can be adversely impacted by the usage habits of people near the subscriber. If many people use cable Internet at the same time near each other, then everyone's connection suffers.