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What is Cable Internet and How Does it Work?

Cable Internet service uses the same coaxial cable network as cable television to provide Internet to your home. For cable Internet to really work, a transmission between a cable modem termination system and a cable subscriber modem is required for a user to be able to use the Internet service on their computer. First, your Internet Service Provider sends a data signal over a coaxial or coaxial cable to your home, specifically your modem. Then the modem uses an Ethernet cable to connect to your computer or router, which is what gives you high-speed Internet access. If you choose to use a router, you can transmit a Wi-Fi signal throughout your home.

What is Cable Internet Used For?

Cable Internet is used to access the Internet through a fast broadband connection. Unlike DSL and dial-up access available at different speed levels, cable Internet has as fast a connection as cable television broadcasts. It can be up to ten times faster than DSL and dial-up Internet services. Cable Internet is a great tool for those who work or play online games and want uninterrupted service. Live video technology can be used with the Internet via cable, making it react in real time to conference calls and to transmit important messages. Telephone services that are connected via the Internet via cable are gaining popularity and offer crystal-clear talk time at a fraction of the cost of traditional telephone services.

History of Cable TV in US

In the 1950s, there were four television networks in the United States. Due to the frequencies assigned to television, signals could only be received in a "line of sight" from the transmitting antenna. People living in remote areas, especially in remote mountainous areas, were unable to watch the programs that were already becoming an important part of American culture. Cable television originated in the United States almost simultaneously in Arkansas, Oregon, and Pennsylvania in 1948 to improve poor reception of air television signals in mountainous or geographically remote areas. "Community antennas" were erected on mountain tops or other high points, and running cables to their homes were connected to antenna towers to receive transmission signals. Today, US cable systems offer hundreds of channels to some 60 million homes, while providing an increasing number of people with high-speed Internet access. Some cable systems even allow you to make phone calls and receive new programming technologies!

Who provides Cable internet service in your area?

Main Cable internet providers in USA

MSO nameBrandTotal subscribersTechnology
Charter CommunicationsSpectrum16,000,000Cable/Fiber/IPTV
Cox CommunicationsContour4,132,000Cable/Fiber/IPTV
Altice USAOptimum/Suddenlink3,300,000Cable/Fiber

Pros and Cons of Cable internet service


  • Dedicated, standalone, always-on connection.
  • Faster and more reliable than DSL, satellite or dial-up internet.
  • Good for data-intensive applications like streaming video and online gaming.
  • Bundling specials are available by bundling your cable television with other services in a single package, usually internet and phone, but sometimes services like cellular phones. These bundles can actually save you quite a bit of money, especially if you bundle all three typical services together. It also provides the convenience of having a single bill.


  • Neighborhoods share bandwidth, so heavy use by others may impede connection speeds during peak hours.
  • Not available everywhere.
  • Annoying Monopolies Many areas only have a single cable television provider, and this creates a monopoly. While the competition from satellite is increasing, the corporate culture of these monopolies is especially poor. Customer service can be terrible, if not non-existent in many cases, and consumer satisfaction with cable TV companies is consistently some of the worst among any companies in the United States.

Equipment You Need for Cable Internet

Cable Modem A modem is an electronic device, usually a box, which receives data from the network cable supplier and delivers it to home. The modem can connect directly to a computer or a router to distribute Wi-Fi.

What’s a DOCSIS modem?

A DOCSIS modem means that a modem meets specific technical standards. The acronym stands for “Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification.”So what does that mean to you? If you buy or rent a newer version of a DOCSIS modem, you can get faster internet speeds.

With the growing demand for faster Internet speeds and the availability of gigabit speeds through competitive technologies such as fiber networks, CableLabs needed a new generation of technology to satisfy and exceed gigabit speeds for consumers. And that's where DOCSIS 3.1 comes in. The DOCSIS 3.1 standard supports download speeds of up to 10 Gbps and a load of 1 Gbps, which is up to 10 times faster than DOCSIS 3.0. Currently, ISPs by cable offer Internet Gigabit service using DOCSIS 3.1 technology.


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