5 Was to Extend Ethernet

How Much Bandwidth Can a Cable TV System Deliver?

Cable TV systems have undergone significant transformations to meet the ever-growing demand for higher data speeds and improved service quality. The journey from traditional analog systems to advanced digital networks involves a series of strategic upgrades, each contributing to the overall enhancement of bandwidth and service delivery.

Techniques for Upgrading Bandwidth

  1. Increase System Bandwidth
    • Upgrading from 750 MHz to 1 GHz expands the frequency range, allowing for more channels and higher data speeds.
    • This major upgrade may require replacing power taps and, in some cases, the coaxial cable itself.
  2. Reducing Node Size
    • Smaller nodes mean less competition for bandwidth, resulting in better performance during peak times.
    • Deploying more fiber and reducing node sizes from 1,000 homes to around 200 improves bandwidth availability.
  3. MPEG4 Compression
    • MPEG4 allows for up to 20 digital channels in a 6 MHz slot, compared to 10 with MPEG2, doubling the channel capacity.
    • The transition to MPEG4 can be hindered by older set-top boxes that do not recognize the new format.
  4. Deploy DOCSIS 3.0
    • DOCSIS 3.0 technology enables the bonding of multiple channel slots, increasing the frequency window for data and supporting higher speeds.
  5. Migrate Analog Channels to Digital
    • Digital migration frees up bandwidth as digital channels consume less space than analog channels.
    • Contractual and customer service considerations must be managed during this transition.
  6. Full Digital Conversion
    • A complete shift to digital allows for all channels to be delivered in digital format, requiring set-top boxes or DTAs for decoding.
  7. Deploy Data QOS
    • Quality of Service (QoS) prioritizes traffic, allowing for faster data speeds for premium customers without increasing overall bandwidth.
  8. Convert to IPTV
    • IPTV uses shared bandwidth for programming, voice, and cable modem services, optimizing the use of RF frequency.
  9. Higher Spectral Efficiency
    • Transitioning to DOCSIS 3.1 and changing modulation techniques can significantly increase the bits per Hertz efficiency, creating larger bandwidth slots.

Bandwidth Potential and Considerations

  • Bandwidth Delivery: Systems upgraded through step 7 can support selected customers with speeds up to 100 Mbps, while a full upgrade through step 9 can match fiber PON systems, albeit shared among more customers.
  • Investment: These upgrades require significant investment but are essential for cable companies to remain competitive against fiber networks.


Cable companies possess a variety of options to increase bandwidth and deliver high-speed internet. The extent of bandwidth that can be delivered depends on the level of upgrade implemented. While these upgrades come at a cost, they are crucial for cable systems to provide competitive internet speeds and maintain market relevance.

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