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Choosing the correct ADSL solution

Written By : Dale Hurwitz | 2009-12-10

What is the best adsl solution for me? We hope this article will help you answer that question...

There are three main components to consider when deciding on an ADSL solution.

  1. The ADSL line
  2. The ADSL account
  3. The ADSL router or ADSL Modem

ADSL line

The ADSL line currently comes in three variations and runs off your existing Telkom telephone line. The variations will determine the maximum possible speed of your ADSL solution, so it is important to ask yourself the question "what do i want to use the ADSL line for?". If you are using the line for basic internet browsing or email then the entry level offering of a 384Kbps line will be more than sufficient. If you want to use voice over IP programs such as Skype, download large files, listen to music online or have lots of people that will be working off one connection then you should consider the fastest speed ADSL which is 4Mbps. The middle solution which is 512Kbps in our opinion does not make sense as it is substantially more expensive than the entry level ADSL line offering, without being substantially faster. The table below will clarify this.

Name Speed Price (Incl. VAT)
Fast 384Kbps R152.00
Fatser 512Kbps R326.00
Fastest 4096Kbps R413.00

As the above table shows, the speed difference between the "Fast" ADSL line and "Faster ADSL line is less than 30%, but the pricing is over 100% more. If you are looking at the "Fastest" ADSL line it is less than R90 more than the "Faster" ADSL line, but it is eight times faster.

To sum the ADSL line conundrum up, if you need a fast connection go with the "Fastest" ADSL line option. If you re budget concious and dont require the speed the entry level "Fast" ADSL line option will be more than sufficient.

ADSL account

There are numerous types of ADSL accounts you can select from. The ones we will be looking at are:

  • Regular Fiber ADSL accounts
  • Per gig ADSL accounts
  • Uncapped express ADSL accounts
  • Business Uncapped ADSL accounts

The regular Fiber ADSL accounts are what apply to most people. They have a fixed usage limit that ranges from 1Gb to 20Gb's. Fibre accounts are generally of a better quality as the bandwidth internationally is run over fiber optic cables as opposed to satellite. The speed of the account is the same, however when you click on a link the new page will begin to load faster. The speed of the Fiber ADSL accounts will be limited by the speed of your ADSL line. The average user that wants to browse the internet, check email and make the odd Skype call an account that is 3Gb's or less will generally be more than sufficient. With all capped ADSL accounts it is not a bad thing to use a lot of bandwidth, providing that the bandwidth is used for productive reasons.

Per gig ADSL accounts are similar to the Fiber ADSL accounts, however you only pay for what you use. When you sign up for a per gig ADSL account you set a maximum limit for the account and if you use less you pay for less. This works exceptionally well in business environments where for example over the festive season coming up most businesses close for a certain period, and they do not pay for the bandwidth that is not used when the office is closed. The downside of these accounts are that if they are abused it can become costly for individuals or businesses.

Uncapped express ADSL accounts offer a fixed price account with unlimited usage. These accounts have a limited speed during peak hours, but after hours the speed is limited by your ADSL line. This is often used for general internet browsing in larger companies, or for home users who want to download a substantial amount of music or videos.

Business uncapped ADSL accounts offer businesses the ability to have a static IP address over an ADSL line. This service can be a cost effective alternative to leased lines (Diginet connections). The business uncapped adsl accounts offer a better quality bandwidth when compared to the Uncapped express accounts, but they are limited in speed 24/7, depending on which speed account you choose.

ADSL router or modem

The difference between a router and a modem is that a router connects to the internet automatically, were as a modem requires a computer to initiate the connection. In almost all circumstances a router would be advised. There are numerous brands that you can acquire. Our preferred brands are either Netgear or Linksys. We have found that over the years these brands are amoungst the most reliable and easiest to use. It is also advisable that when you purchase a router get one that has wireless built in. This will allow you to connect to the internet without having to plug a cable from the router into your computer or laptop. Almost all laptops have wireless built in. If you have a desktop you will generally need to purchase a wireless card, but they are relatively inexpensive.


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