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Cable Broadband: The Problem of Managing Upstream Traffic in Two-Way Internet Networks

Updated September 22, 2022

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Cable Broadband: The Problem of Managing Upstream Traffic in Two-Way Internet Networks essay

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In todays world the bounds of information technology are being pushed further and further every day with local area networks eliver gigabytes of that data per second over hundreds of individual networks. But TV signals consume most of the potential bandwidth. And most cable systems send these signals in one direction only: from the head end to your home. Internet access, obviously, is two-way: Every mouse click, every command and keystroke must travel back upstream.

(Cable Datacom News, Cable FAQ’s) To become this two-way street cable operators must allocate spectrum on the cable for upstream signals so you can send data from the PC back to the Internet. Typically, the upstream signal is transmitted on a low-frequency band that hasn’t previously carried a TV channel so that the two don’t interfere. Mainly though because these low frequencies are noisy: Ham and CB radio, household appliances, lights, and other devices generate interference, which must be filtered somewhere between the head end and the cable recipient. Interference caused by sending upstream data won’t really affect your household appliances. Another problem is that as the amount of end users on your node increases the slower your connection may become.

If the Cable Company continues to add more end users they’ll need to add more amplifiers and routers to separate the signals. This is all assuming you have access, the major problem with cable modems is location. If you find yourself in an area that doesn’t support Internet Access through cable there is nothing you can do about it short of moving. It’s very costly for a cable company to install Internet Access through a cable modem and even though the idea is catching on I’d be patient if you find yourself in an area without it. Another small drawback is the price, typically the average monthly cost can range from between 40 dollars and 60 dollars with a 100-dollar installation fee. Add to that the cost of purchasing your NIC which is another 40 dollars and your can see how the cable modem is exceeding the price of your common 56K modem.

In my opinion it’s worth while investment for the intermediate to advanced user. If you were to install the cable modem and connect it to a small network you can have multiple users on one Internet connection with no significant speed loss. In the long run you’ll see how the cable modem is superior to that of the dial up adapter. Both of the two previous methods to connect to the Internet involve one key element and that was the computer.

Fortunately Microsoft along with other manufactures such as Sony created a system that applies for the novice. WebTV which is designed to work without the computer had it’s own method of connecting. You still use your telephone line to connect to the Internet and you will still need to contact your local ISP for service. To purchase the box that connects to your TV prices will range from around 100 dollars to 200 dollars plus your 25-dollar monthly charge from your ISP.

There is also the additional 60-dollar charge if you wanted the optional keyboard. The advantages of owning WebTV are that there’s no need to purchase a computer if you wanted to gain access to the Internet. Unfortunately the disadvantages of WebTV far exceed the advantages, given the design constraints WebTV achieves a high degree of usability and friendliness. But the constraints are so severe that even this great design ultimately fails to provide an optimal Web user experience. Some of the constraints involved are navigation, screen size, and some of the options offered by WebTV. Since there’s no computer there is no mouse, so in order for the user to navigate through the screen the user must go through a series of clicks and arrow keys.

It would be the equivalent of using your computer without a mouse except now everything is contained on one remote control and your monitor is your television set. Another problem is the screen size, WebTV has a small screen size that shows a limited amount of information compared with a traditional computer screen. This is particularly true given the need for WebTV to use large fonts because of the poor display quality of televisions and the distance between the TV set and the user’s couch. There are three main problems stemming from WebTV’s small screen size: Excessive scrolling is needed to move about the page, meaning the user will often not see the entire page because of the extra effort.

Users often get lost within a single page: there is no way of knowing how far one has scrolled down the page or what other information is on the page. Once the user had scrolled down the page, it is a lot of work to get back to the top of the page. (WebTV Usability Review, J. Nielson) Finally, after WebTV offers you this package they don’t offer you the keyboard unless you’re willing to pay an additional 60 dollars. The remote had capabilities to type but unless you’re willing to scroll through the alphabet picking each individual letter as you go along then the keyboard is a must.

WebTV is for the very novice user without a computer and in the long run is probably not going to meet your expectations for the Internet. In conclusion the three methods to connect to the Internet such as WebTV, the modem and the cable modem represent in general the three common users the novice, the intermediate and the advanced. These aren’t the only ways to connect to the Internet but these are three of the most widely seen for individuals. The most important thing to remember when choosing which method you want for access is to think about what your needs are. What is your purpose and interest in the Internet? How much time do you plan on spending there? The three methods I discussed above show what kind of user you may be, if you’re not very familiar with the Internet or a computer maybe WebTV is the right choice.

On the other end if you plan on surfing the web for hours at a time or plan to host a web server maybe the cable modem is a better choice. It really comes down to preferences and what you the user really wants.


Sorry none really most of it came from my head I suggest pulling stuff off the internet and making up a bibliography.

Cable Broadband: The Problem of Managing Upstream Traffic in Two-Way Internet Networks essay

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Cable Broadband: The Problem of Managing Upstream Traffic in Two-Way Internet Networks. (2019, Nov 13). Retrieved from