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A cable modem termination system (CMTS) is device usually found in the headend or hubsite of a cable company that allows exchange of digital signals on a cable network with cable modems. A cable modem termination system is used for providing high-speed data services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or cable internet to subscribers.
A cable modem termination system is capable of performing many of the functions of a digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM) in a DSL system. It has both RF and Ethernet interfaces. A CMTS mostly carries Internet Protocol traffic, and it both transmits and receives digital cable modem signals on a cable network. A CMTS transmits signals to the user's cable modem and also receives signals from it, converting them into IP packets and routing them to the designated internet service provider, in order to get connected via internet.
In other words, a CMTS makes use of the incoming traffic from customers on a single channel and routes them to an ISP for connecting to an internet. In a system making use of a CMTS, cable modems communicate by channeling their signals through the CMTS and cannot directly communicate among themselves. There are mainly two types of architectures used for CMTSs: integrated CMTS (I-CMTS) and modular CMTS (M-CMTS). In integrated CMTS, all the components are placed under a single chassis. One of the major advantages of integrated CMTS is in having fewer single points for failure, ease of deployment and lower costs. One of the biggest advantages of M-CMTS is its ability to scale to huge numbers depending on the downstream channels.
Unlike other techniques, CMTSs are capable of serving different cable modem population sizes. Additionally, the cable modems associated with CMTS are not dependent on distance for quality of service. CMTS is capable of doing some basic filtering for protecting against various attacks and unauthorized users. It can also act as a router or a bridge in a network.