cable modem

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cable modem

[¦kā·bəl ¦mō‚dem]
A device that converts the signals used in a computer to signals that can be transmitted over cable television networks, and vice versa.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

cable modem

(communications, hardware)
A type of modem that allows people to access the Internet via their cable television service.

A cable modem can transfer data at 500 kbps or higher, compared with 28.8 kbps for common telephone line modems, but the actual transfer rates may be lower depending on the number of other simultaneous users on the same cable.

Industry pundits often point out that the cable system still does not have the bandwidth or service level in many areas to make this feasible. For example, it has to be capable of two-way communication.

See also: DOCSIS.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

cable modem

A device used to connect one or more computers to a cable company's Internet service. The same coaxial cable coming into the house or office also provides TV and voice over IP (VoIP) service.

Compared to analog dial-up, cable Internet dramatically increased the bandwidth between the user's computer and the Internet (see broadband). In order to prevent residential customers from hosting high-traffic Web servers, the cable's upload speed is generally much slower than the download speed, and the cable company may routinely change the IP address assigned to the modem to prevent Web hosting (see DDNS).

Connect Via Ethernet or USB
Cable modems typically connect to a computer or router via Ethernet; however, some cable modems connect to one computer via USB. In addition, the cable modem is often combined with the router (see cable/DSL gateway).

A Shared Service
Cable Internet speeds vary depending on how many customers are sending and receiving data on that cable segment at the same time. For example, when kids come home from school in the afternoon, users in the neighborhood may experience slower speeds. See DOCSIS and Internet appliance.

A Cable Modem System
At the cable company plant, Internet packets are combined with standard TV programming. See CMTS.

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In less than a year and a half in the cable modem business, Texas Instruments Incorporated (NYSE: TXN) (TI) has garnered 30 percent of the market for data over cable service interface specification (DOCSIS) chips.
These persistent connections--whether by cable modem, DSL or "all-you-can-eat" dial-up accounts--are a great way to stay wired.