Cable is the most widely available method of internet distribution in the United States after telephone lines. The cable network was originally laid to channel subscription TV to US homes. Making it an ideal medium for the provision of the internet.
The cable TV system in the United States was first laid in the 1950s. TV signals were sent along the cables as analog radio frequency transmissions. The cables carried VHF video and FM radio. During this century, the US cable network has switched over to digital transmission. Speeds were improved by replacing the long-distance sections of then network with fiber-optic, although the last stretch to each home is still carried on coaxial cable.
How Does Cable Internet Work?
The coaxial cable used for cable internet has a greater capacity than the telephone wires that are used to deliver traditional DSL. The cable TV network carries internet signals through to an access point at the service provider’s central office for the area. At that location, traffic switches over onto the internet.
The wire that enters each house is invariably coaxial cable. This is copper wire, the same as the telephone network. However, the coaxial cable is thicker and has more shielding from environmental interference.
Each home connection leads to a local junction, from which all signals get switched onto a single cable that continues through to the cable TV company’s center. The performance of each cable broadband internet service greatly depends on the quality of the cable used for this single channel and the amount of traffic loaded onto it.
This sharing of a cable for a number of customers is the same methodology used for the telephone network, where the concept is called “trunking.” In cable TV systems, it is called “statistical multiplexing.” This backbone from neighborhood junction to the access point is usually carried by optic fiber. This type of network is referred to as a hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) system. In rural areas with little chance of cost recovery, the backbone may still be carried on coaxial cable.
Cable TV providers supply each customer with a set-top box to decode the encrypted messages of the TV signal. The internet system is implemented in the home with a separate box, which acts as a hub and creates a Wi-Fi network within the building.
The signals for data upload, data download, TV, and FM radio all travel down the cable simultaneously. The set-top box and the internet hub in the home can distinguish between these different channels because they travel in waves of different frequencies.
Signal frequency refers to the length of each wave, implemented as an electronic pulse. Fewer waves can travel per second if the wave is long and more short waves arrive per second – hence, frequency. The TV set-top box simply filters out any waves that are not within its required wavelength range. The internet hub does the same, only recognizing waves of its operating frequency.
Cable internet systems use the same unequal frequency range split as ADSL broadband internet. They allocate a smaller frequency range, or “bandwidth,” to the upload channel than that for the download channel in order to provide optimal download speeds. This is because in typical usage, a residential connection requires much more data to be sent to the user than will be received back at the central access point. The bandwidth allocated to the one-way TV channel is much wider than the space allocated to internet activity.
Is Cable Internet Reliable?
Cable internet supplies reliable high-speed internet. Any fixed media has better performance than wireless systems because the electronic pulse has a clearly defined path to follow. This is easier to protect from interference than radio waves traveling through the air.
The only points of failure in the cable network lie in the connections between cables. If the junction between the local branch and the backbone experiences a mechanical failure, then the delivery of the internet will be interrupted. However, this is a rare occurrence.
Electronic signals can only travel so far before they weaken. They can travel further on a cable than they can through the air. However, they still deteriorate. To combat this problem, the cable company places signal boosters at points along the journey. These are also known as “repeaters.” They receive the weak signal and retransmit them with a refreshed voltage to help the signal carry further.
What Is the Best Cable Internet?
Cable internet services have variable performance from area to area because of the infrastructure that is available and the number of customers that are allocated to each trunking connection. When deciding between ADSL, cable, wireless, and fiber, each consumer needs to assess the performance of each option before committing. This is because the same cable service may work very well in one area of town, but have poor performance in another zone.
What Is the Fastest Cable Internet?
Undoubtedly, the best cable system is one that has less cable and more fiber-optic. Systems that are entirely carried on fiber aren’t classified as cable networks, however. So when you are considering a cable internet plan, at least the last stretch to your house will be implemented with coaxial cable.
Older networks that deploy coaxial cable for the backbone will not be as fast as those that used fiber.
Is Cable Internet a Good Option?
Generally, cable internet is faster than wireless services and ADSL carried on the telephone network. However, cable internet services are usually more expensive than traditional ADSL. Cable companies are likely to offer better deals for service bundles. Those who want to subscribe to a TV package and an internet service might be able to get the pair cheaper through the cable company than just subscribing to TV through cable and using a separate internet provider.
How Do I Get Cable Internet?
Around 89 percent of all households in the USA are within the cable TV service area. So, if you are one of the unlucky 11 percent, you won’t be able to get cable internet. The cable networks are privately owned. Although there are many cable TV companies in the United States, each home is served by only one company. Therefore, each household doesn’t have any option over which cable provider to use. The choice will be between the one company that provides cable or ISPs that use ADSL, wireless, satellite, or fiber networks.
How Do I Install Cable Internet?
The cable ISP company will supply you with a cable modem and hub that will connect your home to the cable internet service. This hub should just plug into the TV socket in your home. If you don’t already have a cable television socket, the company will need to come out and fit one. Generally, you don’t need to do anything for the installation of the equipment.
Once the hub is connected to the service, you will need to access it from your computers and other internet-enabled devices. This task is implemented by looking for the signal of the hub in the network connections list on your device. You will need an access password in order to connect your device to the hub’s Wi-Fi system. This password is usually printed on a sticker on the hub.
Pros of Cable Internet
- Ease of installation – the cable television company does all the work to ensure that the proper cables are connected to your home.
- Ease of Use – Cable internet is always on and just requires you to set up a wireless connection to the hub that your internet service provider will supply.
- Reliability – The sturdy, well-insulated cable reduces packet loss and reduces delays on any signals.
- Cons of Cable Internet
- Choice of Supplier – each household has only one potential provider.
Who Should Use Cable Internet?
Cable internet is an excellent choice for residential internet users. The sturdy cable makes multiple simultaneous internet activities in the home possible without any quality of service impairment. The separate frequency channels for TV and internet traveling on the cable means that having the TV on does not slow down the internet connection.
1. Is cable internet good for streaming?
Cable TV offers a reliable, lag and jitter-free service, which makes it a good choice for video and audio streaming.
2. Is cable internet good for gaming?
The reliable connections of cable internet make it a good choice for online gaming by regular residential users. Those who want to set up a games service might be better off getting a commercial internet service, however. This is because a game server is expected to send out a large amount of data, which the upload bandwidth of a standard cable internet contract wouldn’t offer, resulting in slow upload speeds.
3. Is cable internet secure?
In theory, data thieves could tap the cable on its stretch over common areas outside the home. However, in practice, data thieves don’t operate in the physical realm. You should deploy software security systems to implement security on your internet connections and be cautious about giving away your passwords to prevent data theft.
4. Is cable internet faster than DSL?
In general, cable internet speeds are faster than DSL internet. However, some providers have not invested sufficiently in their infrastructure in all locations and in other areas might overload their network with too many customers in order to increase profits. You will have to test your local service to check whether it has faster internet broadband connections than the DSL service available in your locale.
5. Is cable internet better than satellite?
Satellite internet connections are much slower than cable. Satellite services are usually only considered as an option if there is no other internet delivery system available. Satellite services are also more expensive than cable internet. You would only consider satellite over cable if you live in a remote area that is not served by a cable television network.
6. Is cable internet better than fiber?
Most cable internet services are partially carried by fiber-optics. The more fiber-optic cables in a network, the faster the service will be. If you can get a service that is carried entirely on fiber-optics all the way to your house, then that would provide a much faster service than cable. However, the fiber optic internet services are a lot more expensive than cable internet and are not available everywhere
7. Is cable internet better than wireless?
Cable internet offers better security and faster speeds than fixed wireless. A fixed wireless service carries the internet to homes over radio waves. Once the home is connected to the internet, that service can be distributed around the building by a Wi-fi hub in the same way whether the connection is delivered to the home via cable or via wireless. Having cable internet does not prevent you from having Wi-Fi in the home. Most households would only consider fixed wireless internet services if there is no cable TV service available to the property.
8. Average cost of cable internet plans
The price of cable internet varies from provider to provider. As you don’t have a choice over which cable internet provider to sign up with, there isn’t really a concept of shopping around for a good price. The cost of cable internet is also influenced by whether it is taken by itself or as part of a bundle that includes cable TV. As a general rule of thumb, cable internet is a little more expensive than telephone network DSL and cheaper than wireless, satellite, and fiber internet.
9. What is the cheapest cable internet?
Prices for cable internet vary from area to area even when they are supplied by the same company. In all areas, cable TV companies will give you a better price if you buy a combination plan that includes TV and internet. You will also be offered an initial discount on the subscription fees as a signing incentive. However, these special deals can be confusing because the charges will ramp up once the introductory offer expires.
Accessing the Internet with Cable
Cable is a good option for internet access. It is particularly a good deal if you also want to sign up for a cable TV package. However, before you plump for an internet and TV package, keep in mind that there are plenty of internet TV streaming services available now, which might be more entertaining than basic cable. Shop around and compare cable prices and speeds with your ADSL options before you plump for cable internet.