docsis 3.1 evolution white paper cover thumbnail The cable modem of the 1980s wasn‘t even called a cable modem. It was designed and used primarily by engineers and was just called a modem, or sometimes, an RF modem. The information was digital—1s and 0s—and these early cable modems were less complex and served limited purposes. Some
cable providers would link up various city buildings—the fire and police departments, a library, schools—on what was called an institutional network. With this, the attached buildings could send simple messages to one another over the cable system‘s existing plant. The cable television companies themselves recognized the communication abilities of the plant they‘d built, and they made use of early cable modems for their own internal communicating.

But despite the early indication of success, the cable modem would have 15-year wait before it became mainstream.

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