Pros and Cons of Cable Internet in the United States

There are several options available for anyone in search of a high-speed internet connection in the US. Cable internet is one of the best options you can get. It may not be as fast as fiber-optic internet, but it is way faster than DSL, mobile satellite internet or other options. As a matter of fact, the download and upload speeds for cable Internet are 10-500 Mbps and 5-50 Mbps respectively, while those for DSL are about 5-35 Mbps and 1-10 Mbps. Just in case you were wondering what the download speeds for fiber-optic internet is, it is in the 250-1,000 Mbps range. Still, cable internet is more than enough for most people and activities where speed is concerned.

Cable internet has about 89% coverage in the USA. It’s a good option because there is the likelihood that a reputable cable internet service provider is available for you. The top cable TV and internet service providers include Comcast (XFINITY), Charter Communications (Spectrum), Cox Communications, Mediacom and Suddenlink Communications. These companies are able to offer high speed internet in addition to cable television packages through the same cable.

But what is cable internet?

Simply put, cable internet, such as Spectrum Internet, is an internet broadband connection that transmits data through a cable television network or cable lines (coaxial cables). You get access to the internet by making use of a cable modem in this type of data transmission. A cable modem operates over cable TV lines. It authorizes the transmission of data through cable TV structures. A simpler way to put this is that a cable modem is a device that helps you connect your computer to a cable TV line and receive internet data from it.

Today, there are many businesses and households that make use of cable internet as their primary (and sometimes only) form of accessing the internet because it is reliable and provides a consistent internet connection.

To help you further understand how cable internet works and why so many households use it, you should look at cable TV. Most homes in the country already have cable TV wiring (or infrastructure) in place. This made it very easy for these cable TV companies to get into the internet service business and start offering to connect people to the internet through cable TV. In other words, with the use of the same coaxial cable used in delivering TV data to the homes, these companies began transmitting internet data.

While cable internet is a great option for anyone considering internet service, like everything else, it has its pros and cons. There are other options to consider when thinking about internet access. So let’s consider the pros and cons of cable internet.

Pros:

  1. Speed of connection: When you compare the speed of cable internet to some others such as satellite internet and DSL, cable internet wins many times over. As already stated, download and upload speeds range from 10-500 Mbps and 5-50 Mbps respectively. Those of DSL are many times less at about 5-35 Mbps and 1-10 Mbps. For cable internet users this simply translates into faster video streaming, faster downloads, smoother online gaming and so on.
  2. You do not need q phone line: This is probably one of the biggest advantages of cable internet. As a result of your not requiring phone lines, you can be connected in a jiffy. This also means no dial-up fee since it operates without a phone and you don’t have to dial to connect to the internet. You can access both your phone service and internet at the same time without any limitations. 
  3. Continuous connection: Another advantage of using cable internet is that you can stay connected to the internet since there are no landlines required and nothing to interrupt your connection.
  4. Reliability: Cable internet tends to be more reliable than wireless internet and DSL. You get consistent and steady internet service/signals when using cable internet. There are hardly any occasions where you will have dropped internet and if they ever occur, they do not occur during peak hours. They occur when important updates are being made to the network.
  5. A wide coverage area: One major subject of deliberation when it comes to accessing the internet is location. That isn’t much of a problem with cable internet. With coverage of about 89% of the entire country, you can easily access this service most anywhere in the country.
  6. Affordable bundled packages: Since it is the same cables/infrastructure that supplies your TV data that are used for cable internet, it is possible to bundle several services together in one package, and pay less than you would have if you were getting the different services from different companies.

Cons:

  1. Slow at peak hours: During peak hours such as in the mornings and at night when your neighbors are watching Netflix, connections can be slow. This is because cable internet works using the same cable lines that are used to transmit cable TV data to televisions. So when many people are watching TV, transfer speeds are slower.
  2. Not as fast as fiber-optic internet: While cable internet may be fast enough for the majority of activities that most people use the internet for, it is not the best option for the heavy internet data users who stream videos on several devices at a time or who are heavy gamers. Fiber-optic internet is the best option for these types of people or activities.
  3. Not available everywhere: Even though cable TV is available in most places, it doesn’t mean that cable internet is available in all areas. This can be the situation where you live. The areas most affected by this in the United States are usually rural or secluded areas.
  4. Connections are slow when many people are connected: while cable modems have been touted as great inventions, they are, unfortunately, not great at handling multiple users. So whenever there are several people or devices connected to the internet service through the same cable modem simultaneously, internet speeds tend to be slower.
  5. Electricity based: This in itself is not really a big problem but the fact that the coaxial cables which are used in transmitting internet data are electricity-based means that they are susceptible to electromagnetic interference. Also, the future usefulness and bandwidth capabilities of coaxial cables that are used in transmitting data will be nothing compared to fiber-optic connections.
  6. Limitation of speed due to shared bandwidth: Using cable internet simply means you are sharing bandwidth with your neighbors. This means that the actual speed of your internet service may not be what you get in reality. Some cable internet providers limit the internet speeds of residential customers.

When deciding on what type of high-speed internet service to get, it is important to pay attention to a combination of how reliable the connection is, quality service and appropriate connection speeds. Cable internet service offers you so much but has its pros and cons as we have just gone over. Be sure to consider all its advantages and disadvantages to determine if it’s a good fit for you. For most people, especially if you live in areas where fiber-optic internet is unavailable, cable internet works just fine.

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