The term ‘Cable Modem’ is quite new and refers to a modem that operates over the ordinary cable TV network cables. Basically you just connect the Cable Modem to the TV outlet for your cable TV, and the cable TV operator connects a Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) in his end (the Head-End).
Actually the term “Cable Modem” is a bit misleading, as a Cable Modem works more like a Local Area Network (LAN) interface than as a modem.
Cable modems allows consumers access to the Internet at higher speeds and at a fraction of the time it takes traditional telephone modems.
This is true for two reasons:
1)Broadband networks make the connection up to a hundred times faster
2)The service is “always on,” meaning customers get the information they want, when they want it.
Unlike telephone modems, cable modems allow consumers to keep their telephone lines open for voice conversations.
A short list of some of the technical terms and acronyms that you may come across in trying to understand the cable modem world.
CATV: Community Antenna Television or Cable TV system. Can be all coaxial or HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) based.
Cable modem (CM): Client device for providing data over a cable TV network. Read all about it here.
Channel: A specific frequency and bandwidth combination. Used in this context about TV channels for television services and downstream data for cable modems.
CMTS: Cable Modem Termination System. Central device for connecting the cable TV network to a data network like the internet. Normally placed in the headend of the cable TV system.
CPE: Customer Premises Equipment. Used to describe the PC and/or other equipment, that the customer may want to connect to the cable modem.
DHCP: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. This protocol provides a mechanism for allocating IP addresses dynamically so that addresses can be reused. Often used for managing the IP addresses of all the cable modems in a cable plant and the PC’s connected to the cable modems.