A cable Internet provider sends Internet data over the same lines that bring you your cable TV. They’re called coaxial cables.
One coaxial cable can carry 750 to 100 megahertz of data. It takes each cable TV channel about six megahertz to operate. That leaves plenty of space for hundreds of channels – and lots of Internet bandwidth.
A cable Internet signal takes up about the same amount of space as a TV channel for both downstream data (data that comes to your computer from the Internet) and upstream data (things you upload like posts to social media, or files sent to email recipients).
To use your cable TV network for high-speed Internet, you need a cable modem and a cable modem termination system. The termination system stays at your Internet provider’s headquarters.
In between – there’s that coaxial cable we mentioned before, that carries your TV channels and high-speed Internet data. National cable operators set up several hubs to connect neighborhoods.
The coaxial cable system splits available bandwidth evenly among subscribers at any given time. To prevent users from taking more than their share, operators can impose data limits.
Need more bandwidth to game, stream and more in your home? Cable Internet providers offer higher pricing tiers to give you access to more Internet speed.
Under optimal conditions, when fewer users are on the network, cable Internet speeds can reach as much as 100 megabites per second! Users will find far less speed during high-traffic hours, though.
Cable Internet operators can sometimes use a partially-fiber-optic network, from the control center to distribution points near a neighborhood. They then use copper wires for that final mile, to the subscriber.
Often a cable carrier will offer phone services in a bundle, too. Usually, the more services you sign up for from a provider, the more you save on individual services if you bought them separately.
Whether you’re a cable TV subscriber or want to be one, you have an option for high-speed Internet – without a lot of equipment to add!