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What's the difference: ADSL, VDSL, 3G and LTE
ADSL, VDSL, 3g, LTE all different internet types with different capabilities. The question is; just how fast do you really need your internet to be? For some, the thought of waiting for a YouTube video to finish downloading is like Chinese water torture, others don't mind too much. For others, that crucial Skype calls needs to be seamless. We all have different internet needs.
So just how much speed do you need and what kind of connection might best suit your purposes? Let's look the differences between them, as well as some pros and cons of each.
Short for Asymmetric digital subscriber line. It is 'asymmetric' because the download speeds are far higher than the upload speed. Its been a staple in SA for a while already and is widely available. ADSL offers consumers high download speeds (but low upload speeds) at reasonable prices.
- Pros: Reliable speeds, reasonable cost, available almost everywhere.
- Cons: Needs a fixed landline, better speeds are available, compared to VDSL the speeds are slower.
Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL). VDSL is ADSL on steroids. Averaging around 3 times faster speeds than ADSL, it is a line that's able to handle HiDef TV, VoIP and fast internet access. VDSL infrastructure is rolling out in South Africa. Telkom and MWEB offer 20Mbps and 40Mbps VDSL lines.
- Pros: Faster download speeds and much faster upload speed.
- Cons: Needs a special modem, needs better coverage – check if it is available in your area.
3G is the third generation of mobile telecommunications technology. You've probably used 3G data on your smartphone already. It's powerful enough for smooth video calls, downloads and even live video streaming.
- Pros: Fast, mobile, some reasonably priced data packages available.
- Cons: Data is more expensive than ADSL.
LTE is the Rolls Royce of internet. Short for Long Term Evolution; it's the absolute fastest mobile internet you can get. LTE has tested as the fastest connection in the country.
- Pros: Flying through the internet at supersonic speeds.
- Cons: Expensive, if not uncapped you'll use your data much quicker, drains batteries quickly, need specific LTE enabled devices.

As the demand for higher speeds increase, these options will all become more widespread. For now, you need to decide just how fast you need your internet to be to suit your needs.