Cable Connection: The Way to Surf


Date: March 10, 1998


The Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened the way for cable TV (CATV) companies to become full-fledged telecommunications companies, offering two-way voice and data communications services, in addition to television programming. After passage of the Act, the cable companies were eager to expand into the new fields of business that had been opened to them, especially the rapidly growing Internet Service Provider (ISP) business. The biggest hurdle facing the cable companies is that cable television systems were designed for one-way traffic, and must be upgraded into modern two-way networks in order to support advanced communications services. This is an expensive and technically complex undertaking. In addition, interfaces allowing subscriber’s PCs to access the Internet via the CATV cable had to be developed. These interface devices are called cable modems. Cable modems are designed to take advantage of the broadband capability provided by the cable TV infrastructure, enabling peak connection speeds many times faster than conventional dial-up connections. Cable Modems, Cable TV Meets the Internet Cable modems have only recently been introduced for private commercial use. Cable modems and the cable data networks they are a integral part of hold the promise of providing a great deal of communications bandwidth for the private user. Greater bandwidth equals greater speed in the realm of the Internet. The Internet has only been around for private use for a relatively short period of time, nonetheless, it has grown quite rapidly. It appears that the Internet will continue to grow at a rapid pace. People will begin to use the Internet for more and more applications. Networking will eventually be a part of the most minute parts of our daily lives. New Internet applications will undoubtedly require greater data speeds, and cable data networks are a tremendous step forward in providing that speed. Cable modem technology is still in its infancy, but it has already revolutionized Internet “surfing”. Cable modems are providing connection speeds that people only dreamed about a short time ago. However, on a greater scale, as more and more people start using cable modem service, the cable companies will have to continue upgrading their networks to keep up with increased demand. Eventually, fiber-optic cable will reach into individual homes. This breakthrough development will increase bandwidth by orders of magnitude, and it is cable modem that has already started this process. Method “Cable Modems, Cable TV Meets the Internet” is an informative overview of cable modems and cable data systems. Extensive research was done to investigate how cable modems work, and how cable modems fit into a cable data system. The cable industry was only allowed to enter the ISP business less than three years ago. Because cable modems are relatively new devices, and cable data network technology has advanced rapidly, the latest up-to-date sources of information had to be used to provide accurate information. Recent magazine articles and Internet sites had the most current information. The information in hardcover books was obsolete and dated. After researching the subject, the results of the research were presented in the paper. The references used as sources of information for the paper are cited. Results Cable modems are proven technology. Cable data networks provide tremendous speed as well as upgrade potential. Discussion The material presented here shows that cable modem technology is robust and has tremendous potential to continue growing.


Cable modems are just another step to the total networking of everyday life. This development is still a long way off. But, it is bound to happen. It will happen sooner, rather than later Residential Internet usage has grown rapidly despite the frustratingly slow speeds available through conventional dial-up telephone modem connections. These voiceband connections are limited to 56 Kbps or less. Surfing the ‘Net with a dial-up modem is usually a click-and-wait experience. There is a tremendous demand for faster Internet connections. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened the way for cable TV (CATV) companies to become full-fledged telecommunications companies, offering two-way voice and data communications services, in addition to television programming (Clark, 1999). Cable companies that offer these extended services are known as Multiple Service Operators (MSO). The aspiring Multiple Service Operators realize there is a sizable market of Web surfers who feel a “need for speed”, and they