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In a world where the internet has become a necessity, and multiple types of residential internet connections are available in the market, you cannot help but wonder what type would be better for your usage. Several familiar terms get thrown at you when it comes to the subject. You may hear someone saying they use fiber internet or suggest you go for that?after all, it is the latest hype in the residential internet market. But, the abundance of information on the subject can become complex and daunting more often than being helpful.

Our article today focuses on the most popular type of broadband?cable internet. We will talk about how it works, what are its advantages, and briefly touch upon some of the best cable broadband providers in the U.S. industry. After all, according to NCTA an estimated 78 million internet users in the U.S. prefer to connect via high-speed cable internet?despite the increasing reach of fiber optic networks in residential quarters.  

What Is Cable Internet?

Cable internet is the type of broadband delivered via pre-existing coaxial cable networks, which were employed to broadcast TV channels to less than a handful of states in 1948. In the 1960s an estimated 800 cable systems were in place across the U.S., and with the birth and rise of cable TV networks in the 70s and 80s, the cable TV industry came to life with full force. Within a decade or so, i.e. in 1996, the cable modem was introduced and residential cable broadband services launched.

The capacity of coaxial cable?commonly referred to as the “TV Cable wire”?to carry signals of higher frequencies relative to the copper phone wire (used for DSL) makes it a great medium for faster data transfer. The traditional “DSL internet wire” and “Cable internet wire” are similar in that both use copper to transmit data via electrical signals. But DSL is delivered over old-fashioned copper phone wires while Cable broadband is carried by coaxial copper wires which also transmit video and sound.   

A major advancement in the realm of cable broadband came through in the late 1990s and the early 2000s when cable infrastructures across the U.S. began to receive a boost and got upgraded to what is called a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network. Meaning, the fiber optic backbone of the network extended into close proximity of the users with fiber lines now running from the provider’s hub to the local area optical node. Nowadays, Cable service providers in the U.S. commonly utilize HFC networks in conjunction with the latest DOCSIS protocols to deliver super-fast cable broadband.

How Does Cable Internet Get to You?

Now that you have a basic idea of what is referred to as cable broadband, it is time to wrap your head around a few details about how it reaches you.

To deliver cable internet, a cable modem transmission system or CMTS is required at the provider’s end?at the hub site?while a cable modem compatible with the service must be installed at your end.  

From the Hub, data travels via fiber-optic lines until it reaches the optical node in a neighborhood. From the node onwards, it hops onto the coaxial cable which extends to your location. Signal amplifiers maybe used at some point in this “last mile journey” between the node and your residence?depending upon how long this stretch is.

DOCSIS?Data over Cable Service Interface Specifications?come into play at the time of “hop over” and enable high-bandwidth data transfer to continue via a pre-existing coaxial cable system. That is why it is necessary to have a cable modem that is compatible with the communication standard used by your ISP’s network.

Once the electromagnetic signal from the node reaches the cable modem at your end, it is translated into digital language and sent to your device(s) via wired Ethernet or as Cable Wi-Fi. The Digital signal sent from your device(s) travels back pretty much the same way with the modem doing the translation for you.

The Pros of Subscribing to Cable Internet  

Here is a brief run-through of the chief advantages of cable internet which make it a great choice for American homes?

Lighter on the Pocket

Cable internet comes at rates that are a little higher than DSL?but with all the speed and data variations you get, it is still cheaper than Fiber?even though Fiber is becoming cheaper by the day. Cable broadband plans can get you a connection up to 200 Mbps fast for under $50, and as you move to higher speed tiers the per Mbps cost continues to drop?getting you more value for your investment.

The economical rate of cable broadband is largely owed to the fact service providers rarely have to lay new infrastructure to give out a connection?because a vast majority of urban and suburban neighborhoods are already wired to deliver cable TV.   

Widespread Availability

Cable broadband is widely available across the US?an estimated 90% of the landmass is covered by cable networks. This makes it one of the most easily available types of the internet almost in the entirety of urban and suburban America. While rural America in general lacks wired infrastructures, some rural communities do get served by service providers such as Xfinity from Comcast and Suddenlink by Altice. Largely speaking finding a cable service provider does not pose a problem in the US?and this has certainly contributed to the widespread popularity and adoption of cable broadband.

Fast Speeds

Cable internet delivers speeds much faster than DSL. Although upload speeds remain in the low range?up to 50 Mbps?download speeds via hybrid Fiber-Coaxial networks reach up to 1,000 Mbps in areas where network capacity allows. Generally speaking, you can easily find a cable internet provider which offers plans starting at 100 Mbps or above?thus delivering a super-fast connection for average household usage.

The Cons of Subscribing to Cable Internet  

Peak-Time Slow Down

Since the node in your neighborhood connects a number of subscribers with a given provider’s network, you are essentially sharing the bandwidth with others in the area. At peak traffic times, when almost everyone is connected to the internet, you are bound to face slowdowns due to network congestion.

Asymmetrical Speeds

Unlike fiber, coaxial and copper phone wires do not allow data to be transmitted at the same speed both way?that is why it is not possible to have equal downstream and upstream speeds. For this reason, the best upload power you get with cable internet for homes is up to 50 Mbps.

Vulnerable to Interference

Again, unlike fiber optic cables, coaxial cables are vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. With cables made of copper?as is coaxial?electrical noise can affect the speed of data transmission, and as more and more data packets get lost or corrupted, retransmission is necessitated.  

Here are Some of the Best Cable Internet Options 

While there are over 400 cable internet providers in the U.S., it remains a fact in any given neighborhood you’ll often not come across more than one cable broadband option?because of how the market share works.

Also, while some service providers like Spectrum are widely available across 41 states, others like Cox are a little limited with service locations spread around 19 states, and still others like WOW! are more limited, serving 19 markets in 9 states.

Like so?depending on where you live?you may just get only one Cable option at your address. And, the choice will ultimately boil down to the internet service types available to you?whichever works better to fulfill your digital needs. If however, any of the following cable internet providers serve your area, we’ll say you call at 1-855-349-9328 to determine provider availability, explore relevant offers to take your pick, and subscribe.   

Spectrum Internet Service

Spectrum Internet is widely popular and for all the right reasons. With starting speeds as high as 200 Mbps in most markets, and must-have perks?all at a very competitive rate?the Spectrum service is a no-brainer choice where available.   

Contact Spectrum professionals at  1-844-481-5997 to check offer availability in your area.

Cox Internet Service

With Cox Internet plans you can make your online journey more personalized and productive. Cox offers a variety of speeds starting at 25 Mbps and going up to 940 Mbps in select locations. In between speed tiers?50, 150, and 500 Mbps?are all suitable for a range of consumer needs.

Contact Cox experts at 1-855-349-9316 to check offer availability in your area.

WOW! Internet Service

WOW! Internet is a choice popular for affordable high speeds in its service locations. Speeds start at 100 Mbps and go as high as 940 Mbps?in between you’ll get 200 and 500 Mbps tiers. All in all, WOW! has plans for a range of needs and wants.

Contact WOW! representatives at 1-844-343-1373 to check offer availability in your area.

The Takeaway

Cable internet is one of the most reliable types available in the internet market?faster than DSL and Satellite, but cheaper than Fiber while giving comparable download power. Plus it is easily available with a wide variety of plans for a number of ISPs.

In case, you are looking into switching providers, do contact professionals at 1-855-349-9328 to determine options in your area, and get advice about which provider/plan may be the best fit for your needs.

FAQs

Is cable faster than DSL?

Yes. Cable internet is faster than DSL. Generally speaking, DSL with “Fiber to the Loop” gives speeds as high as 100 Mbps. Whereas cable broadband can easily reach up to 940 Mbps when delivered over a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network.

Can I increase my cable speed?

Try to do the following:

What is a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network?

A hybrid Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) network is a combination of fiber optic and coaxial cables. This system transmits data from the headend to any given neighborhood through fiber optic lines which run until the optical node. Here DOCSIS tech comes into play and assists the data to hop over to coaxial cable lines until the transmission completes at the subscriber’s end.