DSL, Fiber or Wireless: Which Broadband Best Suits You?
According to the internet monitoring group akamai.com, the Philippines is lagging behind its Asia Pacific neighbors in the internet speed competition. Based on the recent report released in 2017, the country’s average connection speed is only at 5.5 Mbps. Compared to other Asian countries with average speeds ranging from 7 to 20 Mbps, the Philippines comes in near the bottom of the table in Southeast Asia and lags behind the rest of the world.
In the most recent global index by internet speed monitor Ookla published in August 2018, Philippines came in 97th out of 125 countries in mobile speed and ranked 84th out of 135 in fixed broadband speed.
Clearly, the broadband situation in the Philippines has a lot of room for improvement but if you are in the market to sign up for a broadband service today, what options do you have?
Today, users have a choice of more than one type of broadband connections available for commercial use in the Philippines which cater to different lifestyle and needs. While the broadband speed is ultimately the number one consideration, its efficiency may vary due to various factors that the different broadband providers address differently.
Before jumping the gun and making your decision based on the download speed, read our back-to-basics guide to determine which will suit your preference, budget, and set-up first.
Types of Internet Connection In The Philippines
DSL which stands for Digital Subscriber Line is the most basic broadband connection type using a wireline transmission technology to transmit data over traditional copper telephone lines already installed to homes and businesses.
The most affordable and has the most availability among all the three. Basically, it’s the standard connection in the market right now and is the go-to connection for basic to moderate internet use due to the fact that it doesn’t have a data cap and its connection speed is decent enough for browsing, streaming, and downloading.
Higher download speed can be extremely expensive and are mostly packaged as internet plans for businesses. To date, the maximum download speed available for consumers is 6MBPs.
|Speed||Up to 20Mbps|
|Value for the money||2/5|
Should you get a DSL connection?
You could never go wrong with a DSL connection. As mentioned, it’s sufficient enough for any types of activities or works on the internet and its coverage pretty much extends almost anywhere in the country.
For a home with at least 3 devices connecting to the network on the average, a 6MBPs connection can already suffice. You can upgrade for a higher speed if your work requires higher bandwidth, but it can come with a hefty price tag.
Faster broadband internet speed for only ₱1,299 a monthFast 10 Mbps with 50 GB monthly quota
A state of the art connectivity technology which uses fiber optics to convert electrical signals that carry data into light then sends it through transparent glass fibers that are about the diameter of a human hair.
The download speeds offered by Fiber connections are extremely fast and is basically the golden standard for internet connections in other countries. Its minimum speed is at least three times faster than a regular DSL connection with almost the same price range. Whether you’re just doing simple browsing or gaming, a fiber connection will most likely provide you with a seamless experience.
Fiber connection is still in its early stages in the Philippines, thus limiting its availability to key cities/areas in the country. Limited coverage is a bane for a large number of Filipino internet users who would not have the opportunity to use the connection for now.
Should you get a Fiber connection?
If you’re located in Metro Manila. Cebu, or Davao, a fiber connection is perhaps the fastest and most practical connection that you can get.
|Speed||Up to 100Mbps|
|Value for the money||5/5|
Fiber-fast Speed Now up to 25 Mbps!Same unlimited data & monthly fee, but higher 25 Mbps speeds (from 20 Mbps).
3. Wireless broadband
This connection provides internet through a radio link between the customer’s location and the service provider’s facility. Wireless broadband can be mobile or fixed.
One of the strongest points of wireless broadband is its portability. You can get access to the internet anytime anywhere as long as your provider’s coverage is extended to that location. It doesn’t have to be plugged-in into the power outlet all the time to function, making it a viable backup in cases of a power outage or outdoor connectivity.
Stability isn’t exactly the best in wireless broadband. It uses 4G technology in transmitting data to the devices, but it isn’t as reliable as a wired connection (DSL and Fiber). Since it’s greatly dependent on mobile internet, any kind of obstruction can affect its reception.
Another downside to wireless broadband is that service providers set a certain data cap to their subscriptions. Heavy video streaming and gaming aren’t really suitable for this type of connection.
Should you get a Wireless connection?
There are only two scenarios where a wireless connection would make sense:
- If you’re in need of a backup connection for your work. This is most common with online workers to ensure that their job doesn’t get disrupted by blackouts.
- If you only need light access to the internet for communication purposes, light browsing, and occasional streaming.
|Speed||Up to 50Mbps|
|Value for the money||3/5|
The reliability of an internet connection may vary according to the location and the provider of the service. Some providers have better coverage in certain areas where their competitors don’t. Some locations may have limited serviceability in general due to its proximity to the providers’ service box.
Besides the state of the country’s digital infrastructure, another big part of your decision lies in the broadband provider and what they offer.
Experience the internet at lightning fast speedsUp to 100 Mbps with 1 TB monthly cap!
Broadband comparison and pricing
While all of them offer high-speed internet connection, choosing which one would be suitable for you will still boil down to the internet’s availability and reliability in your location.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) is the most well-established internet service provider. They have a wide array of internet services that you can choose from and is one of the providers that has the widest coverage.
|3mbps with 30GB monthly data cap||₱699|
|10mbps with 50GB monthly data cap||₱1299|
|15mbps with 100GB data||₱1699
Globe Telecom, whose subsidiary Smart Communication claimed the top spot as Philippines’ largest mobile phone company in 2016, is the other major player in the home broadband market. While globe also offers wired internet connections, the most prominent in their line up is their wireless service.
|Up to 5 Mbps with 400GB Cap||₱1,299|
|Up to 10 Mbpp with 500GB Cap||₱1,599|
|Up to 50 Mbps with 600GB Cap||₱1,899|
Coming onto the mass market as a fiber-only internet service provider, Converge aims to provide pure end-to-end fiber internet connectivity at a nationwide scale. It is perhaps one of the game-changing internet providers in the country because of the speed that they’re offering are faster than the average speed that its competitors offer at an extremely attractive price point. The downside is, they’re not yet available in areas outside Metro Manila.
Primarily, the performance of a broadband service will greatly depend on the location. In order to get your money’s worth, you should not rely on the internet provider’s promised download speed alone. You can find more comprehensive information in our roundup of the best broadband offers in the country.
There are certain items that you need to tick off to find that internet service that’s a perfect match for you.
Ask your provider
- Does the ISP have service in your area?
- Can the broadband package of your service your location?
Ask your neighbors or people in the location
- Is the internet connection stable?
- Does the internet consistently cut off randomly on a regular basis?
- Can your needs work around a limited data cap?
- Do you (want to) download or stream a lot?
- How often will you use the internet?
- Are you willing to pay for a bigger data cap?
- Can you settle for a lower speed in exchange of unlimited internet?
Understand your demand for internet
- Does your internet practices or activities require a very fast download speed?
- Is a fast download speed but with data cap more practical?
- Is an unlimited internet but lower internet speed more practical?
- How many will use the service in your household? The more people using the higher speed and more data cap you’ll need.
Assess your lifestyle
- Do you need a landline?
- Do you watch the TV and cable channels?
- Are you more into streaming services like Spotify or Netflix?
With a little bit of an effort to get to know an internet service provider or a broadband service better, you’ll be saving yourself from a long-term agony of dealing with a sluggish internet connection. Lastly, align your expectation with your own assessment and the amount that you are prepared to pay monthly.