Short for Hybrid Fiber Coax, a way of delivering video, voice telephony, data, and other interactive services over coaxial and fiber optic cables.
An HFC network works consists of a headend office, distribution center, fiber nodes, and network interface units.
The headend office receives information such as television signals, Internet packets, and streaming media, then delivers them through a SONET ring to distribution centers. The distribution centers then send the signals to neighborhood fiber nodes, which convert the optical signals to electrical signals and redistributes them on coaxial cables to residents' homes where network interface units send the appropriate signals to the appropriate devices (i.e. television, computer, telephone).
An HFC network provides the necessary bandwidth for home broadband applications, using the spectrum from 5 MHz to 450 MHz for conventional downstream analog information, and the spectrum from 450 MHz to 750 MHz for digital broadcast services such as voice and video telephony, video-on-demand, and interactive television.