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Cable Modems in the Workplace

Satisfactory Essays
Cable Modems in the Workplace

Until recently, small businesses could not afford T-1 service to connect to the network. The recent advent of cable modems has provided a cheaper alternative to this problem. Cable operators have primarily targeted consumers in their initial cable modem rollouts. Multiple System Operators (MSOs) are now selling higher priced broadband Internet services to the corporate customer. The question is, does cable modem technology provide the optimum service for a medium sized company that is dependent on the Internet for data computing and research? To answer this question, we have to evaluate the price, bandwidth, and reliability in the business network.

One significant factor that separates cable modem technology from other telephone networks is its ability to share bandwidth on the network. This characteristic is both an advantage and disadvantage for cable modems. The advantage is that cable modem users have the ability to use as much bandwidth as possible when it is available. The disadvantage resides in network congestion. When the user needs the bandwidth for a large file download or upload, it is not guaranteed the bandwidth.

Lack of guaranteed bandwidth and modem reliability is the biggest concern that most companies have with cable modems. Yes, it is cheap, but can it perform? In the past, the reliability rate was 50% to 60% because of improper equipment and technology. (Schuman, Now playing:, 1999) More recently, upgrades of the cable system has allowed close to 98% cable modem reliability. Reliability is also dependent upon the number of users the cable company has hooked up to the cable node. If too many users are connected to the same node, there will be degradation in throughput. The cable company claims 30 Mbps downstream data transfer, but sharing often makes it more like 1.5 Mbps. (ZDNET, Cable Modems:, 1999) The quality cable companies like TCI, mitigates the uneasiness about reliability and questionable throughput by providing guaranteed upstream bandwidth, and excellent technical support. The reliability and congestion issues all seem to be problems of the past with the current upgrades and service quality improvements made by the cable company.

The big advantage that attracts many businesses is the low monthly fees compared to T-1 lines. A traditional T-1 line will cost at least $1,000 per month, where as TCI cable company charges $249 per month for 256 Kbps upstream connection.
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