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Wireless Cable Modems

Wireless cable modems have enabled higher speed and symmetric data service tiers, multi-line cable telephony, videoconferencing, streaming IP video and residential gateway, multi-PC broadband networking and all the convenience that go with these services.

 

Wireless Cable Modems

by Trish Williams

Wireless cable modems make life and business online easier and more convenient. Still, the technology is limited by lack of compatibility between computer equipment.

Broadband Wireless Magazine reports, “Wireless is an obvious choice for bridging the gaps of cable modem and DSL deployments, but wireless presents a new set of issues – lack of standardization, higher costs, and incompatibilities with existing equipment. For example, a cable modem service provider that wants to provide service via wireless must qualify a completely different set of equipment, deploy it, maintain it, monitor it, spare for failures, etc. Wouldn’t life be simple if cable modems and DSL modems could simply be used with a wireless adapter?”

Even with drawbacks and limitations, wireless cable modems allow for people to connect quicker than ever before. TechNews reports, “The number of locations with WiFi service -- or "hot spots" -- quadrupled last year, to just under 4,000 nationwide, according to the research firm Instat/MDR. At home, a WiFi setup can be quite simple. A typical rig consists of a $100-or-less access point, plus under-$50 receivers in each computer. The access point takes a broadband or dial-up Internet connection and shares it with any authorized computer within range.”

Just like any cable modem, wireless cable modems only provide connectivity, not security. The fact that a user is on-line 24/7 makes his computer system more exposed to attacks of various sorts. It’s important for cable users to get firewall installed.

Understanding cable modem signals are important, mostly so that when slow-downs in the wireless cable occur, the user doesn’t give up, but rather, understands what might be happening. Speedguide.net has a good description of the cable modem signals:

“Downstream SNR shows the strength of the signal to your cable modem as compared to the noise on the line (signal/noise). If the noise level increases the SNR value decreases. So, then high levels are good for the SNR. This number should be at 30 or more. If the SNR goes below 30 than you will probably start to experience some problems, such as intermittent connection, packet loss, etc.

Downstream Power shows the power of the signal your cable modem is getting. The level of the downstream power should be -15 to 15 dB according to most manufacturers' specs... However, it is best for that level to be in the -8 to 8 range.

Upstream SNR shows how much signal the head end is getting from your cable modem, compared to the noise level. ‘Head End’ refers to the point of reference that is the central point of the local network of your service provider. Anything above 29 is good. Just like the download SNR if the noise level increases the upstream SNR decreases.

Upstream Power shows the level of the signal from the cable modem to the provider. This number should be lower than 55dB. The lower the number, the better your connection.”

Wireless cable modems and technology have enabled users to higher speed and symmetric data service tiers, multi-line cable telephony, videoconferencing, streaming IP video and residential gateway, multi-PC broadband networking and all the convenience that go with these services. Truly, one must ask, can it get better than wireless?

 

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