Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Comparison of Technologies

The availability of different broadband technologies is an important factor for a fast and qualitative expansion of broadband infrastructure, meeting different local needs occurring form topography and population structure.
Share this
With DSL, cable access, the optical fibre technology, radio broadcasts and new mobile standards, a variety of technologies is available on the market that ensure reliable broadband services. However, it is important to chose a technology that is best for the individual region.



Down-Upstream Rate(1)

Efficiency range(1)

Infrastructure architecture


Future of the technology

Wired Broadband Technologies


24/1 Mbps 5 km
  • internet access by transmitting digital data over the wires of a local telephone network copper line terminates at telephone exchange (ADSL) or street cabinet (VDSL)
  • Vectoring: Elimination of cross talks for higher bandwidths
  • G.Fast: Frequency increase up to 212 MHz to achieve higher bandwidth
  • use of existing telephone infrastructure
  • fast to install 
  • small efficiency range due to the line resistance of copper connection lines
  • further speed and range improvements by enhancing and combining new DSL-based technologies (phantom mode, bonding, vectoring)
  • bridge technology towards complete fibre optic cable infrastructure

VDSL, VDSL2, Vectoring

100 /40 Mbps1 km


500/500 Mbps250 m 


200/100 Mbps(4)2-100 km(2)
  • coaxial cable in the streets and buildings; fibre at the feeder segments
  • network extensions to provide backward channel functionality
  • use of existing cable television infrastructure
  • fast to install 
  • high transmission rates
  • Further implementation of new standards (DOCSIS 3.1) will allow to provide higher bandwidth to end-users

Optical Fibre Cable

1/1 Gbps

(and more)
10-60 km
  • signal transmission via fibre
  • distribution of signals by electrically powered network equipment or unpowered optical splitters
  • highest bandwidth capacities
  • high efficiency range
  • high investment costs 
  • bandwidth depends on the transformation of the optical into electronic signals at the curb (FTTC), building (FTTB) or home (FTTH)
  • next generation technology to meet future bandwidth demands

Wireless Broadband Technologies

LTE (Advanced)

(1000/30) Mbps(3)

3-6 km

  • mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas


  • sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system
  • highly suitable for coverage of remote areas (esp. 800 MHz)
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • shared medium 
  • limited frequencies
  • commercial deployment of new standards with additional features (5G) and provision of more frequency spectrum blocks (490 - 700 MHz)
  • meets future needs of mobility and bandwidth accessing NGA-Services


42,2 / 5,76 Mbps3 km


  • highly suitable for coverage of remote areas
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • run time latency 
  • asymmetrically
  • 30 Mbps by 2020 based on next generation of high-throughput satellites


300/300 Mbps300 m
  • inexpensive and proven
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • small efficiency range 
  • shared medium
  • increased use of hotspots at central places 


4/4 Mbps60 km
  • gets continually replaced by Wi-Fi and LTE

Source: Analysis Mason, 2012 "Policy orientations to reach the European Digital Agenda targets"

©ateneKOM 2014


1 Technical standard max.

2 Depends on amplification

3 Depends on the frequency spectrum used


Last updated on 06/07/2015