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14. Lines and Terminators > Cable Modems

Cable Modems

High-speed access over the same coaxial cable that brings you cable TV is a good alternative to ISDN. Installation is usually simple: your cable company provides you with the cable modem, and will probably install it. It’s a very simple box that takes a coaxial connection in one side and provides you with an Ethernet connection on the other side. There are no user-configurable parameters. Most cable modems use the same Rockwell chip set, so if you have to buy one, it may be portable to other cable modem service areas. You need to configure your computer to use the IP address the cable company gives you, but you have to do that with most ISPs, anyway.

The downstream bandwidth is usually better than 384 kbps, which is excellent, and especially nice if you are getting data from a fast server close to you in router hops. You’ll be ahead of the average speed of the Internet; you will still hit bottlenecks, but now the bottlenecks will not be at your connection. Upstream bandwidth is usually around 100 kbps, which is sufficient for a small web server. There are no connect-time charges, and there is not even an on/off switch on the modem. It is always on when plugged in.


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