Consider yourself very lucky if your cable provider does not enforce cappingdata
transfer limits. Data transfer caps are almost the norm now, which means that
high speed cable Internet isn't as high speed as it used to be.
When cable Internet was new, it was not uncommon to realize download speeds
of over 2 or 3mbs. In fact, I remember one user who was downloading at over
10mbs! Of course, in those early exciting days, the cable subscribers were few
and shared bandwidth wasn't a problem.
Cable is a shared service which works like a LANa local area network.
Your cable performance varies depending on how many people, in your neighborhood,
are using the cable service at the same time.
If your whole neighborhood is using the cable service, then your Internet speed
drops. However, if you are the only one using the cable service, your Internet
speed could increase dramatically.
So your bandwidth could vary widely throughout the day. At least, with this
shared bandwidth model, you have the chance to realize higher Internet speeds.
Typically, early in the morning or late in the evening, you would notice better
performance. However, this is changing. And the reason is due to capping!
Data Transfer Caps
As the broadband market increased, many cable providers began imposing data
transfer caps. This goes back a few years, but many subscribers weren't even
aware of itnot aware why their download speeds seemed slower than originally
advertised. Data transfer caps prevent you from exceeding a certain speed limit.
Depending on your provider, the download caps could be under 256kbs or over
What this means is that the shared bandwidth system no longer gives you any
potential, at all, to achieve faster speeds. Even if you are the only person
on the Internet, your bandwidth will never increase. It's fixed at the predefined
cap speed set by your provider and the rest of the potentially usable bandwidth
goes unused, wasted.
Capping is controlled by your cable modem and a configuration file. The imposed
download and upload speed limit settings are in this file and downloaded from
your provider every time you boot. Before thinking that you can uncap your modem
to remove these limits, consider that it is not only illegal to do so, but very
difficult and complex. Actually, at the present time, there really is no known
and proven easy method available that can remove these caps on today's modern
modems. A few earlier modems were easier to uncap because they could bypass
the configuration settings by avoiding the headend or CMTS (Cable Modem
Termination System) which checks the config file, but most modems today are
DOCSIS, (Data Over Cable Service Interfacea modem standard). These modems
cannot be uncapped. The headend checks and downloads the file at bootup and
the modem authenticates the settings with the CMTS. Even if you managed to make
an uncapping change, on reboot (which you would have to do to make the change
take effect) your modem would be reset by downloading the settings imposed by
So, the bottom line is that there is not much you can do if your cable provider
is setting caps, if you have no choice of another cable provider, which is the
case with many of usonly one main cable service in the areausually,
the television cable company. The most you can do is try to optimize your performance
as much as possible, but no amount of tweaking will take you from 256kbs to
1.5mbs. The bottom line is that your cable speed is controlled primarily by
your service provider.
Again, consider yourself lucky if you have or can find a cable service provider
that does not impose capping and that guarantees a minimum data transfer rate
(not just a maximum one).
By the way, at the present time, my maximum cable download speed is 64kbs,
but averages more often at 10kbs. I've been capped for the month by going over
the transfer limit quota. Scary stuff, eh!?the way they can specifically
cap hack an individual modem. <lol>. Happy Halloween!
Get more help from Vic via his Windows Tips and Tricks support groups at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WinTips-Tricks/.