Broadband Technology


Rapid changes in technology and the growing convergence of broadcast, telecommunications and IT herald the arrival of a new information age that would have a big impact on our lives. In as early as 1995, in response to the government's vision to transform Singapore into an intelligent island, StarHub rose to the challenge to invest in an advanced nationwide broadband infrastructure that would enable Singaporeans to stay in the forefront of technology. An infrastructure capable of delivering a full range of video, data and voice services to consumers and businesses.

Today, with the completion of the network at a cost of S$500 million, StarHub's broadband infrastructure is truly a world-class network that would propel Singaporeans into the forefront in the race towards a broadband world.

What is broadband technology?

The term "broadband" describes a two-way digital service that can move data at speeds of up to 100Mbps+ compared to conventional phone lines. (transmits at least 100Mbps+ in at least one direction). By contrast, an ordinary dial-up modem which currently handles 28.8 or 56Kbps is considered a narrowband device. While narrowband is generally adequate for downloading still images and text, data-rich applications such as video-on-demand require broadband connections.

StarHub's broadband network is based on a design known as the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC): Optical fibres link the system headend to network nodes which serves between 500 to 2000 customers, and coaxial cables connecting individual homes to each node. Inside the home, cable signals can be split between various TV or PC-based devices like a cable TV set-top box and a cable modem. The HFC architecture automatically results in a network that offers greater channel capacity, improved signal reliability and far-superior two-way transmission capabilities.


  • + With 100Mbps-ready cable modem. Actual bandwith is dependent on hardware, software, internet traffic and destination server.

Cable Modem

Cable modems offer both freedom and speed. The high bandwidth of broadband can move data at speeds of up to 30Mbps (30,000Kbps) compared to conventional phone lines. Freedom comes in the form of "continuous connectivity". With a cable modem, users never have to dial up, encounter busy signals and frequent disconnections or hamper their cable TV viewing while online.

Here's a quick introduction into the cable modem and its delivery of broadband internet access:

1. What is a cable modem?

A "cable modem" is a device that allows data access (such as to the Internet) via StarHub's broadband network. A cable modem will typically have two connections, one to the cable wall outlet and the other to a computer. Cable modems manufactured these days all come with a USB connection for easy "plug-and-play" connectivity.

2. How fast is a cable modem?

Cable modem speeds vary depending on the cable modem system, cable network architecture and traffic load. While downstream speeds (from the network to the computer) can be up to 27Mbps, few computers will be capable of connecting at such high speeds. MaxOnline offer broadband speeds of up to 30Mbps (30,000Kbps), Singapore's highest residential broadband download speed. 

3. Can I watch TV while surfing the Net with my cable modem?

Connection to the cable modem does not interfere with cable TV viewing. Therefore, users are able to surf the Net via the cable modem and watch cable TV at the same time.

4. What services are offered with a cable modem connection?

The dominant service is broadband internet access which enables the typical array of Internet services to be delivered at speeds faster than those offered by dial-up telephone modems. Other services include access to Singapore ONE, audio and video streaming servers, CD-ROM servers and other service offerings found on the world wide web that make use of very high bandwidths.

5. Apart from speed, how different is a cable modem from a dial-up modem?

For one, there is no need for an extra phone line or having to break your data connection everytime you want to make a call. Secondly, busy signals, long connection processes and frequent disconnections will be a thing of the past. Once your computer is on, you are connected to the internet. This means you can receive e-mails without having to constantly dial-up, stay online continuously to monitor the stock market or enjoy internet relay chats without worrying about dial-up phone charges.


A new open industrial standard known as DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Systems Interface Specifications) was established by CableLabs, a body set up by the US cable industry. This standard applies to cable modems as well as backend network equipment. Prior to DOCSIS, there was no one common standard adopted by cable modem manufacturers. The arrival of the open cable standard DOCSIS/MCNS paved the way for more competing models of cable modems to be readily available. DOCSIS 1.1 adds key enhancements to the original standard, such as improved quality of service and hardware-based packet-fragmentation capabilities, to support IP telephony and other constant-bit-rate services. In short, DOCSIS 1.1 provides the bandwidth and latency guarantees required to offer toll-quality voice and business-class data services.