Hybrid Fiber Coaxial

What Does Hybrid Fiber Coaxial Mean?

Hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) refers to a broadband telecommunications network that combines optical fiber and coaxial cable.


Hybrid fiber coaxial is used for delivering video, telephony, voice telephony, data and other interactive services over coaxial and fiber optic cables. Hybrid fiber coaxial is globally employed by cable operators.

Hybrid fiber coaxial is also known as hybrid fiber coax.

Techopedia Explains Hybrid Fiber Coaxial

The fiber-optic network extends from the cable operator’s master head end to the regional head ends and then to the neighborhood hub site and to fiber-optic nodes serving approximately 25 to 2,000 homes. Master head ends consist of satellite dishes for the reception of distant video signals and IP aggregation routers.

The master head ends may also house telephony equipment that provides telecommunication service to communities. The area hub receives video signals from the master head end and adds it to public, educational and government access cable TV channels, as required by franchising authorities.

The different services are encoded, modulated and upgraded on radio frequency carriers, combined into single electrical signals, and inserted into a broadband optical transmitter. The transmitter converts the electrical signal to a downstream optically modulated signal, which is sent to the nodes. Fiber-optic cables connect the head end to optical nodes in star topologies or protected ring topologies.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.