How Cable Modems Work

Inside the Cable Modem: MAC

The MAC sits between the upstream and downstream portions of the cable modem, and acts as the interface between the hardware and software portions of the various network protocols. All computer network devices have MACs, but in the case of a cable modem the tasks are more complex than those of a normal network interface card. For this reason, in most cases, some of the MAC functions will be assigned to a central processing unit (CPU) -- either the CPU in the cable modem or the CPU of the user's system.