Fixed Wireless Internet vs DSL: What are the Pros and Cons of both Types of Internet

Living in a rural area has plenty of benefits, but just like anything, there can be some drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is the lack of options for service providers – in this case, internet providers. Of those few options, DSL is among the most popular service types. DSL is more readily available because it uses existing phone lines to carry data. 


Another option that is becoming more and more available in rural areas is fixed wireless internet. This type of internet is broadcasted through airwaves from towers to receivers installed on the user’s property, which is typically within 10 miles of the tower. This service is particularly great in areas without the infrastructure to supply high-speed internet. 


DSL and fixed wireless internet are very different. This blog will break down both rural internet types to help you select the best option that meets your needs. 




What is Fixed Wireless Internet

Fixed wireless internet is a high-speed, reliable internet service for rural and underserved areas. Internet is sent from the main access point (typically supplied with high-speed fiber-optic lines) to individual receivers installed at businesses, farms, and homes. Each receiver is typically within 10 miles and has a line of sight with the access point.


The pros and cons of fixed wireless internet

The pros:

  • The Internet is sent through airwaves and doesn’t require phone or cable lines. 
  • Service is reliable and fast – speeds are comparable to high-speed cable.
  • There are no data limits.
  • No phone service is required with your service – you can cut the cord.
  • Fixed wireless internet suppliers are typically locally owned and operated businesses. 

The cons:

  • You must have a line of sight connection with the access point and in most cases, you need to be within 10 miles of the access point. This can limit availability.
  • Fixed wireless internet may be more expensive than DSL. The cost is typically in line with cable internet services. 
  • Fixed wireless internet is a good internet option for streaming videos, listening to music, sending large emails, running your business’ credit card machine and other web-based tools. 

What is DSL

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) uses phone wires to transmit internet signals. The use of phone lines has allowed DSL to become one of the more readily available internet services. DSL differs from dial-up internet by allowing both internet and phone services to be used at the same time. 




The pros and cons of DSL


Pros of DSL:


  • The cost of DSL is sometimes cheaper than other internet services.
  • Newer versions of DSL are getting faster but still fall behind cable and fixed wireless internet. 
  • There are no new wires needed for service. DSL runs over standard phone lines.
  • It’s always on – no need to dial in or wait for services to start up. 

Cons of DSL:


  • Typically service is provided by the phone company, which means you’ll also likely be required to carry phone service. 
  • Speeds are dependent on your proximity to the DSL main distribution point. The closer you are the faster your service will be. Your speed will slow down the farther you get from the main distribution point. 
  • Some DSL providers implement data caps
  • DSL is a good option for people who are looking for a cost-effective internet service to check e-mail and browse the internet. It’s not a dependable option for streaming videos, listening to music, emailing large files, or running a business.