How Does Broadband Work?

Broadband works by transmitting data at high speeds along cables. There are several different methods of transferring data that are considered broadband, including cable, DSL and optical fiber systems. Most high-speed Internet connections use one of these methods to transfer large amounts of data such as streaming video, online games or large downloads.

A modem or router that allows access to a broadband network is essential for broadband. These devices receive signals from the broadband provider, enabling what is called "last mile access." This means that they allow users to connect to the data that is already being streamed, letting information take the last step necessary to appear on their computer or television.This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but in the United States, much of the infrastructure necessary to connect to broadband is the same as cable TV. Broadband and television signals are transmitted along the same cables and then split apart by the router when they reach their destination.

Broadband is a variable term. In the 1990s when it was first introduced, it referred to data speeds of around 56 kilobits per second, which was faster than standard modem speeds. However, modern data speeds must be at least 256 Kbps to qualify as broadband.