Return Path: The Return Path is a special frequency range used by the cable company to transmit signals FROM your cable box BACK TO the cable company. Ever wonder how the cable company can allow you to "talk back" using your cable TV box? How about ordering a Pay-Per-View or "On-Demand Video" using your cable box remote control? The cable TV boxes actually transmit signals BACK to the cable company to tell them that you want to watch the pay-per-view event. Then the cable company sends a signal back to your cable box to "turn on" the pay-per-view channel. That's how they do it. Cable companies also require the return band for use with cable modems. If the cable amplifier does not support the return band, the cable modem won't work with it. The standard return path is in the 5-42 MHz frequency range. A bi-directional amplifier is required to allow these special cable company signals to travel back to the cable company. CHEAPIE amplifiers will not work with Cable TV Digital services, Multimedia (Cable Modems), and Cable TV boxes.
RETURN PATH (REVERSE) AMPLIFIERS: Return Path (Reverse) amplifiers amplify ONLY the 5-42 MHz (return band) signals going back to the cable company. A Reverse Path amplifier will help in situations where the RETURN traffic going back to the cable company needs to be boosted, or where the digital cable box is unable to consistently transmit information back to the cable company. Usually this is because of long cable runs and excessive splitting which tend to decrease the signal significantly. Either way, a Reverse Path Amplifier will not make your cable modem FASTER, it will only make it more RELIABLE. Better reliability may make it seem like it is faster. Only your cable company can "speed up" your cable modem access by adding new equipment.
ACTIVE RETURN PATH AMPLIFIERS: Take a conventional cable TV amplifier, and add in some amplification in the 5-42 MHz return path signals going back to the cable company. They are the best of both worlds. These are relatively new products that provide the best flexibility in the home that uses interactive cable services. No more worrying about which amplifier to buy, and trying to figure out the best way to hook it in. Buy the amplifier with the Active Return Path, and you're all set!