How Cable Modems Work

Inside the Cable Modem: Tuner

The tuner connects to the cable outlet, sometimes with the addition of a splitter that separates the Internet data channel from normal CATV programming. Since the Internet data comes through an otherwise unused cable channel, the tuner simply receives the modulated digital signal and passes it to the demodulator.

In some cases, the tuner will contain a diplexer, which allows the tuner to make use of one set of frequencies (generally between 42 and 850 MHz) for downstream traffic, and another set of frequencies (between 5 and 42 MHz) for the upstream data. Other systems, most often those with more limited capacity for channels, will use the cable modem tuner for downstream data and a dial-up telephone modem for upstream traffic. In either case, after the tuner receives a signal, it is passed to the demodulator.