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Living in rural Oregon has some great benefits like getting to enjoy all of the natural beauty of the state, having space from neighbors, and getting more privacy. However, one drawback of living off the beaten path is that there can be fewer options when it comes to internet service. This has many wondering about the differences and benefits of fixed wireless internet vs DSL internet service.

DSL internet is very popular, but if you are far away from the provider’s hub the quality can be poor. In other instances, you may be so far out that DSL is not even available. Fixed wireless internet could be the solution to your rural internet problems. DSL and fixed wireless internet are very different, so we will explain their pros and cons to help you choose the best service for your needs.

is fixed wireless internet better than dsl internet
Photo by Mason Jones on Unsplash

What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

Fixed wireless internet broadcasts internet signals using communication towers. From the tower, the signal is delivered to a special radio antenna on your house (also called a “dish”). This radio antenna is your modem. It connects to a router inside of your house which distributes internet service to your devices.

Fixed Wireless Internet vs DSL Overview

When comparing fixed wireless internet vs DSL, the signal delivery method, equipment, and speeds are key differences.

  • Typically need to be within 10 miles of the tower with a line of sight
  • Can provide high-speed internet in areas without DSL or cable infrastructure
how does fixed wireless internet work

Fixed Wireless Internet Pros

  • No phone/cable lines needed
  • No phone/cable service needed (cord-cutting)
  • Reliable and fast internet service
  • No data limits and suitable for streaming, gaming, and telecommuting
  • Providers are local small businesses with real human support

Fixed Wireless Internet Cons

  • Not all locations are within range of a tower that can provide service
  • Typically more expensive than DSL internet (but similar to cable internet prices)
  • The antenna must be mounted to the house and a cord must be run from the outside to inside

What is DSL?

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a type of internet service that uses phone lines to transmit internet signals. Since DSL delivers internet connection via phone lines, it is widely available. It differs from dial-up internet in that you can use the landline phone line at the same time as the internet without interruption.

DSL Internet Overview

  • A good option for simple web browsing and affordable cost
  • Not always dependable for streaming, music listening, large file transfers, or business purposes
how does dsl internet work

Fixed Wireless Internet vs DSL Internet Pros

  • DLS internet service can be very cheap
  • DSL speeds are starting to improve (still not as fast as cable internet or fixed wireless)
  • No new wires or equipment needed

DSL Internet Cons

  • You may be required to have phone service as well as the internet because DSL is provided via phone companies
  • Speeds vary based on proximity to the main distribution point (closer means better speeds)
  • Data caps may apply

Wireless Internet vs DSL: Which is Better?

When considering fixed wireless internet vs DSL internet service, it really depends first on what services are available at your property. If both options are possible, you’ll want to find out how far you are from the nearest DSL hub and ask neighbors if their DSL service is sufficient. If you are a heavier internet user and plan on streaming video or have a business to run, fixed wireless internet is likely to be a better option. It truly just depends on how you use the internet and where your property is located.