One of the most common forms of Internet in the United States is cable Internet. Subscribers to this type of broadband Internet use a cable modem to connect. Like other types of broadband Internet, cable Internet provides access from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to the subscriber. This is known as “last-mile” access because the cable signal is carried over a short distance from the provider’s location to the subscribers’ home or business.
Cable Internet requires the subscriber to have a cable modem at their house which is connected to the ISP facility by a coaxial cable. Distances between cable modems and the ISP facility are typically no more than 100 miles and many cable providers have various hubs around large cities. Cable Internet speeds can be fast, but because they are shared across a wide area, the system can get slowed down if too many people are online.
What do you need?
If you have cable Internet, you can’t connect without a cable modem. A coaxial cable connects the ISP modem at the server’s hub to the cable modem at the customer’s home or business. Cable Internet signals can travel over longer distances than DSL because the wiring is already in place for cable TV.
Having cable Internet is convenient for those living in a large urban area because there are plenty of providers, plans and options. Plus, cable modems provide faster Internet than dial-up and, in some cases, DSL. You can still have a phone line and be connected to the Internet with a cable connection.
Cable routers work with a modem to allow multiple devices to connect to the Internet. Many people don’t think they need a router when getting cable Internet, but if you have more than one device in your home, a router let’s everyone connect.
Aside from allowing multiple devices to connect to the Internet, a router has helps keep your network safe from hackers with password protected access. Routers also lets users share data and access printers on an office network.
A coaxial cable is what connects cable Internet to your home or office network. The cables are protected by a layer of rubber which helps insulate the wires and keeps them from breaking or starting a fire. Because the cables are protected, they are safer from outside interference and can transmit data quickly and efficiently. Coaxial cables can transmit large amounts of data, up to 100 megabytes per second. Which makes them ideal for a broadband Internet connection because both Internet and cable TV can run through the same line. That means you can get both high speed Internet and hundreds of TV options when you pick a cable Internet provider.
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Top Choice: Mediabridge Coaxial Cable (Amazon)
DSL uses a modem to connect your computer to a phone line to access the Internet. DSL lets you use your phone and the Internet at the same time and is faster than dial-up.
Cable modems transmit data over cable television lines and, unlike DSL, it doesn’t rely on the provider’s central location for fast speeds. Cable is typically faster than DSL, but you do have to share bandwidth with your neighbors which can slow things down during high traffic times.
With a cable Internet provider, you have access to Internet, TV and phone services, but you are also sharing your connection with your neighbors which can slow down broadband speeds. Mid-afternoon and evenings are the heaviest traffic times.
Depending on what provider you choose, price can affect how fast your Internet speeds are. Price hikes are common as well.
During bad weather, your cable connection can be affected. The copper cables are subject to static interference and corrosion. Fiber-optic Internet, which is available in certain areas, is more reliable, even in bad weather, and the speeds it delivers are much faster.