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Technology and Equipment FAQ
Can we use "cable modems" for telecommuting?

Quite possibly - but these are still relatively rare in the U.S. A "cable modem" is a device that lets you connect your PC to your cable television line instead of to your telephone line. Many cable operators are upgrading their systems to take advantage of the inherently higher bandwidth (capacity) of cable vs. twisted-pair telephone lines. The cable companies claim that Internet access via a cable modem is many times faster than with standard dial-up phone lines, and even with ISDN lines. This speed advantage is very appealing to people who have the need for frequent Internet access or other purposes.

But there are four potential drawbacks to keep in mind: first, cable telephony is still in the development stages in the U.S, so this probably isn't "plug and play" quite yet. Second, the speed advantage with cable modems is generally in one direction only; speeds into your home via cable will be much faster than speeds back out of home. Third, the initial and ongoing monthly usage charges are likely to be higher than for service from your phone company. Fourth, your actual speed of downloading a Web site, for example, depends partly on the speed of the "pipe" (cable vs. telephone line) but also on the fastest speed at which your Internet provider or other source can send out the data.

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