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Cable Internet access

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Title: Cable Internet access  
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Subject: Internet access, Midcontinent Communications, Comcast Cable, Internet in the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic
Collection: Digital Cable, Internet Access
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Cable Internet access

In telecommunications, cable Internet access, shortened to cable Internet, is a form of broadband Internet access that uses the cable television infrastructure. Like digital subscriber line and fiber to the premises services, cable Internet access provides network edge connectivity (last mile access) from the Internet service provider to an end user. It is integrated into the cable television infrastructure analogously to DSL which uses the existing telephone network. Cable TV networks and telecommunications networks are the two predominant forms of residential Internet access. Recently, both have seen increased competition from fiber deployments, wireless, and mobile networks.


  • Hardware and bit rates 1
  • Shared bandwidth 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Hardware and bit rates

Broadband cable Internet access requires a cable modem at the customer's premises and a cable modem termination system at a cable operator facility, typically a cable television headend. The two are connected via coaxial cable or a Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) plant. While access networks are sometimes referred to as last-mile technologies, cable Internet systems can typically operate where the distance between the modem and the termination system is up to 160 kilometres (99 mi). If the HFC network is large, the cable modem termination system can be grouped into hubs for efficient management.

Downstream, the direction toward the user, bit rates can be as much as 400 Mbit/s for business connections, and 250 Mbit/s for residential service in some countries. Upstream traffic, originating at the user, ranges from 384 kbit/s to more than 20 Mbit/s. One downstream channel can handle hundreds of cable modems. As the system grows, the cable modem termination system (CMTS) can be upgraded with more downstream and upstream ports, and grouped into hubs CMTS for efficient management.

Most Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) cable modems restrict upload and download rates, with customizable limits. These limits are set in configuration files which are downloaded to the modem using the Trivial File Transfer Protocol, when the modem first establishes a connection to the provider's equipment.[1] Some users have attempted to override the bandwidth cap and gain access to the full bandwidth of the system (often as much as 30 Mbit/s), by uploading their own configuration file to the cable modem - a process called uncapping.

Shared bandwidth

In most residential broadband technologies, such as FTTX, Satellite Internet, or WiMAX, a population of users share the available bandwidth. Some technologies share only their core network, while some including Cable Internet and PON also share the access network. This arrangement allows the network operator to take advantage of statistical multiplexing, a bandwidth sharing technique which is employed to distribute bandwidth fairly, in order to provide an adequate level of service at an acceptable price. However, the operator has to monitor usage patterns and scale the network appropriately, to ensure that customers receive adequate service even during peak-usage times. If the network operator does not provide enough bandwidth for a particular neighborhood, the service can become sluggish if many people are using the service at the same time. Operators have been known to use a bandwidth cap, or other bandwidth throttling technique; users' download speed is limited during peak times, if they have downloaded a large amount of data that day.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Ferri, Vic. "Cable Internet-Are You Being Capped?". Using the Internet. MouseTrax Computing Solutions. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  2. ^ "Virgin Media cuts broadband speeds for the heavy downloaders". May 2007. 
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