Information about high speed cable Internet service helps to save money, finds the best providers for online activities and enables fulfilling special downloading and uploading needs for people who work from their homes. People have an increasing need for fast speeds for telecommuting, gaming, running specialty applications and accessing technology for educational purposes.
The Internet, developed by government resources and private business partnerships, began commercialization efforts in 1995, and consumers originally used the Internet for shopping. New uses continually develop including advanced communications, business purposes, entertainment and education. People only needed basic connections in the early years, but families now have multiple computers and users. People make personal connections on social media sites and work from their homes, so the need for faster processing speeds and higher bandwidth continues to grow exponentially.
The Need for Speed on the Internet
Cables carry the signals for high speed Internet service, and wiring requirements in homes and businesses remain the same regardless of service provider. Different types of cable carry signals and connect switches, modems and routers within the cable company’s infrastructure. Sets of secondary interior cables connect with the outside links and attach to cable modems or computer networks in businesses. The cable itself is capable of carrying Internet service, television programming and phone service, and basic RG-6 cable splits easily to send high-definition television programming in one direction, phone service in another and high speed cable Internet to single computers or computer networks.
Consumers and businesses can obtain the highest speeds from cable Internet connections, and they need not order any additional services to get their Internet connections. Most companies offer bundling discounts for combining services, and cable companies traditionally make high profits on Internet services because they need not pay for programming rights to multiple stations.
High speed cable Internet offers many capabilities for home and business users that include the following benefits:
- Cable speeds typically run 3 megabits per second, but some providers offer speeds as high as 10 Mbps.
- Business cable Internet systems often achieve speeds as high as 45 Mbps.
- Cable runs up to four times faster than DSL systems, speeding up downloads, uploads, live streaming and browsing activities.
- Higher bandwidth allows multiple computer users to work online at the same time.
- High speed service allows customers to browse online, watch television and make pone calls at the same time.
Essential Speed for Certain Tasks
Faster speeds have many practical benefits such as sending large numbers of emails, watching videos and downloading music and video files quickly. The connection stays on constantly so that users need not wait to access websites or check their mail. However, some consumers buy more powerful service than they really need.
- People who use their computers occasionally for browsing, viewing regular videos, emailing and playing simple games only need up to 3 Mbps. One or two users can work online simultaneously.
- Moderate speeds run from 6 Mbps to 12 Mbps, and these higher rates allow three people to work online at the same time. High speed generates clearer video streaming and enables high-definition viewing and uploading high-resolution files to cloud storage services.
- Heavy usage and business applications work better with a high speed cable Internet connection that runs at 15 Mbps or higher.
- Faster speeds produce better quality videos without pauses and distortions and help to run multiplayer role-playing games.
Internet Speeds and Practical Limitations
Slow computers and trying to run several advanced programs at the same time slow down practical speeds when working on the Internet. Bandwidth determines how much information can pass through computer connections. Cable internet allows higher bandwidth than dial-up, satellite and wireless connections, but bandwidth refers to maximum capacity. People who listen to music while browsing use more bandwidth, so their speeds drop. Slow computers could also limit the speeds that consumers actually get, and older equipment often cannot keep up with faster transmissions.
- Most cable companies offer slower upload speeds than download speeds because consumers download more material than they send to other websites.
- Peak usage puts extra demands on cable systems, so consumers might not get promised speeds.
- Some cable companies fail to deliver promised speeds, but consumers can run free cable speed tests online to make sure that they actually get the designated speeds.
Choosing the Best Connection
Some consumers cannot get high speed cable Internet in their neighborhoods, and rural customers often need to rely on satellite or dial-up connections. Broadband services include the following transmission technologies:
- Digital Subscriber Line
- Cable Modem
- Broadband over Power Lines (An Emerging Technology)
Cable and other Internet service companies advertise several speeds and options for customers, which range from 768 kilobits up to 15 megabits. Practical speeds depend on equipment, number of users in a home or business, how busy the network is at various times and other factors. Most cable companies offer ranges of speed to cover limitations caused by peak usage and bandwidth capping during the busiest times.
Consumers should choose an Internet service provider that satisfies their online behavior, offers top speeds that their equipment can handle and fits within their budgets. Cable speed tests could identify home equipment problems and bandwidth-capping limits that some companies use to curb excessive use during the busiest times. People who only use their connection during peak times might not get the speeds that they want or need.