High Speed Internet Access - Broadband

Cable Modems and DSL (Digital Subscriber Link)

*** fiber and satellite sections will be added in the near future **

*** also see http://www.cable-modems.org , and for cable modem standards see CableLabs® and their sister site Cablemodem.com

*** to see if Cable is available in your Neighborhood, go to http://cpss.go2broadband.com - for Cable TV info, see the NCTA (National Cable and Telecommunications Association) site

This is the new hot ticket, and EVERYBODY is getting it !!  The lure of going from turtle-speed 56k, to 1 Mbps or better is just too much to turn down.  Cable Companies are referred to as "MSO's" (Multi-Service Operators).    

The Cable Modem and Cable TV Explosion

The Death of BRI ISDN
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) technology has been available for a number of years from the public telephone companies.  To residential customers, only the slower "BRI" ISDN (Basic Rate Interface ISDN) is available, and can attain either 64 or 128 kbps, depending on whether 1 or 2 channels are used.  So the top speed is 128k, which is just twice that of ordinary dial-up -- nowhere close to the data rates of cable modems and DSL. 

NOTE:  PRI (Primary Rate Interface) ISDN is still being widely used by companies and govt aganecies.  PRI ISDN uses 23 or the 24 channels of a full T1 (23 bearer channels, or "B" channels, are used for customer data, and one channel, the "D" channel - is used for signaling)  is still being widely used.


The Future:  Cable vs DSL vs Wireless vs FTTC vs DBS

It was long thought that FTTC (Fiber To The Curb) would ultimately win out, once the funds had been raised to complete such a massively expensive project.  But the other technologies have some important advantages:

The Worldwide, the base of cable modem subscribers is projected to more than double between last year and 2008, going from 32.8 million to 69.4 million, according to a study just released by IDC.  

US Customers prefer Cable, but around the world, DSL has become the top choice. And by the end of the decade, wireless broadband will join DSL and cable as a major player in the market-share battle, according to new study by Visant Strategies. By 2009, Visant analysts project that wireless broadband will be growing faster than wire-line due to acceptance of technologies such as 802.16/WiMAX. Sales of WiMAX equipment will hit $2.2 billion in five years, Visant believes.

In the U.S., cable remains the top choice for broadband -- with about 50 percent more subscribers than DSL. By far, the majority of U.S. cable customers are residential users, although IDC's projections also call for about 2.5 million business cable modem subscribers by 2008.  The DSL companies have been losing ground to the MSO's  -  rapidly.  Cable technology can, in theory, achieve networking speeds of approximately 30 Mbps (using a 100 Mbps network interface card), whereas most forms of DSL cannot reach 10 Mbps. (VDSL is one variant of DSL that matches cable's performance, but it is not generally available.)

Cable Modem Troubleshooting

As with everything, there are often significant challenges in getting it to work properly.  That is what these pages are here for . . . to help you get up and running.

See the "Getting it to Work" page for the actual steps, which include workarounds for the most common problems.  

Alternatively, here is a great site for extensive & detailed info: 


CableLabs® - Cable Modem Standards body

As with all standards, everybody wants to get into the game.  ANSI, ITU-T, IEEE, IETF, etc - all feel they must be at the forefront of ALL standards.  But in this case, CableLabs® ( http://www.cablelabs.com ) is leading the way.  Their primary six interrelated initiatives are:

Founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry, Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) is a non-profit research and development consortium that is dedicated to pursuing new cable telecommunications technologies and to helping its cable operator members integrate those technical advancements into their business objectives.

CableLabs serves the cable television industry by: CableLabs benefits the cable television industry and consumers by: