Cable Internet Frequently Asked Questions About Cable Internet Service
What is cable internet?
Cable Internet is one of the most popular ways of obtaining a broadband connection. Cable broadband Internet allows you to have an always-on connection that delivers considerably faster speeds than dial-up without interfering with your ability to make and receive telephone calls.
Many users prefer Cable Internet to other broadband options, such as DSL, because it utilizes the same wiring already used to provide cable television in their homes. This typically makes installation faster. It also means that broadband users are working with their local cable provider, a company that they already trust.
Cable internet service providers are currently increase connection speeds at a pace faster than DSL and Satellite. Upload speeds of up to 768 Kbps, and download speeds, the more important number, can be as fast as 8 Mbps from providers such as Comcast. Because of this speed, Cable Internet is especially useful for people who enjoy playing on-line games, downloading music, sending instant messages, and surfing graphic-intensive web sites.
One drawback to cable is, the more people using cable, the slower the service. When stated download speeds exceed 2 Mbps this drawback is less noticeable.
How does cable internet work?
Cable Internet works similar to cable television. Cable providers use an infrastructure of fiber optic wires to transmit television broadcasts. These same lines are used to connect you to the Internet. This is possible because each wire actually consists of multiple channels. Most of these channels are used for television transmission, but some are reserved for data transfer. Those channels are used for accessing the Internet and separate ones are used for uploading and downloading. Your speed, in part, depends upon the number of channels made available for users.
The transmissions travel to your cable provider’s regional data center. This center acts as the main hub for all of the television and data transmissions for your area. From here, the transmissions are sent out along the fiber optic lines to your Local Node Box. This box collects transmissions for all of the households in your neighborhood; one neighborhood consists of between 1,000 and 1,500 households. From the node, the transmissions are sent into the individual homes.
Because you only have one wire bringing cable into your home, it will need to be split so that one part can connect to your cable television receiver while the other hooks into your cable modem. You will also need an Ethernet card if your computer does not already have one. Most providers will supply and install both your Ethernet card and your cable modem if necessary.
When your cable modem receives the Internet transmission, it translates it into Ethernet data which is then converted by the Ethernet card into information your computer can understand. The process is reversed when you send data from your computer to the Internet.
Can I network a cable internet connection?
One of the benefits of Cable Internet over dial-up is that it can be shared conveniently with other computers in your home. By purchasing a router – the small office/home varieties are relatively inexpensive – you can create a home network that splits the Internet connection for you. These routers also provide much-needed protection from hackers and other unwanted traffic through the use of a firewall. Once your network is ready, your family can freely surf the Internet simultaneously on all of your home’s computers.
Why is Cable Internet better than dial-up?
Cable Internet is superior to dial-up for a number of reasons. The main one being the increased speed. For example, downloading a music file with a dial-up connection may take you twenty minutes or more but with a Cable Internet connection it will be finished in about two minutes. Many people also prefer Cable Internet because it allows them to go online without having to wait for their computer to connect or worrying about being disconnected. Another benefit is that Cable Internet does not tie up your phone lines. Overall, Cable Internet provides a more reliable connection for people who enjoy checking their email, playing online games, listening to MP3s, and more.
What do I need for Cable Internet?
Before you can get Cable Internet, you must first make sure that it is available in your area. If it is, you will need a cable modem and an Ethernet card. Some computers come equipped with one or both of these already, but in most cases you will need to purchase them from your local electronics store. Your Cable Internet provider may supply you with the Ethernet card and may even lease or sell you a cable modem.
Will I be able to download music faster with Cable Internet?
Yes. All of your Internet downloading will be completed faster if you are using Cable Internet. In most cases, you will be able to download an entire song in only a couple of minutes instead of in a half an hour. Cable Internet connections also make it easier and more enjoyable to listen to Internet radio and to enjoy other streaming media.
Will Cable Internet improve the performance of my online games?
Yes because Cable Internet connections have much lower ping rates than to dial-up connections. Your computer’s ping rate is how long it takes for your system to send and receive information to and from the game’s server. The higher your ping rate, the longer it takes for the information to get where it is going and that results in slowdowns and lag times which can be detrimental to your overall performance. With a faster Internet connection and, therefore, a lower ping rate, you will not experience these problems.
Will Cable Internet speed be the same as you claim?
Probably. Cable Internet speeds do vary depending on the number of users in your neighborhood and their activity. Generally, however, your actual speed should be very close to those we’ve stated. Your local cable company will also be able to give you a better approximation of Cable Internet speeds in your area.
Is Cable Internet safe?
Yes, but you will also need to take some security precautions. Because your Internet connection will always be on, your computer will be vulnerable to outside and often un-wanted traffic any time it is turned on. While most of this traffic may be harmless, it can sometimes lead to your system being hacked or attacked by viruses. You can protect yourself, however, by installing a firewall on your computer (or on your router if you’re networking your connection) and by using reliable anti-virus software.
Is Cable Internet available in my area?
Possibly. If you live in a major metropolitan area, chances are good that you already have one or even two Cable Internet providers available. If, on the other hand, you are in a more rural area with limited access to cable television, you should probably look for an alternative broadband method. Generally, if your local cable provider has upgraded the infrastructure in order to offer digital cable, you can be confident that they also offer Cable Internet or will be in the near future.
How much does Cable Internet cost?
The costs vary. Cable Internet does cost more than dial-up, but if you figure in the extra costs of additional phone lines and the benefit of being able to use one connection for multiple computers then it truly becomes a cost-effective option. In many cases, cable television subscribers even receive a discount on their Cable Internet service which could save you even more money.
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