Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (2022)

What is Coaxial Cable?

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (1)

Coaxial cable, sometimes known as coax cable, is an electrical cable that transmits radio frequency (RF) signals from one point to another.

The technology has been around since the early 20th century, with these cables mainly being used to connect satellite antenna facilities to homes and businesses thanks to their durability and ease of installation.

What is RG cable?

There are different types of coaxial cable, which vary by gauge and impedance. Gauge refers to the cable’s thickness and is measured by the radio guide measurement or RG number. The higher the RG number, the thinner the central conductor core is.

What does a Coaxial Cable look like?

Coaxial cable has a distinct thick, round shape because of its interior insulation layer. Its size makes it look very different to other types of cable, such as twisted pair or Ethernet cable. The most commons sizes of coaxial cable are RG-6, RG-11 and RG-59 – some of the size differences are demonstrated in the image below.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (2)

Coaxial cables are available in a variety of colours including black, brown and white.

How do Coaxial Cables work?

Coaxial cables are a popular choice because their shielded design allows the centre conductor to transmit data quickly while being protected from damage and interference.

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Coaxial cables are mainly built up of these four different layers:

1. A centre conductor which is usually a copper wire, which data and video travels through

2. Surrounding the copper wire is a dielectric plastic insulator

3. A braided mesh made from copper then helps to shield the cable from electromagnetic interference (EMI)

4. The external layer is a plastic coating which protects the internal layers from damage


Coaxial cable works by carrying data in the centre conductor, while the surrounding layers of shielding stop any signal loss (also called attenuation loss) and help reduce EMI.

The first layer, called the dielectric, provides distance between the core conductor and the outer layers, as well as some insulation.

The next layers, collectively referred to as the shield, keep electrical impulses and radio transmissions out.The different layers of a coaxial cable are shown in the image below:

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (3)

What is the transmission speed of Coaxial Cable?

The transmission speed of coaxial cable is 10Mbps (megabits per second), and they offer 80 times more transmission capacity than twisted pair cables.

Coaxial cable advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of coaxial cable

      • Inexpensive
      • Easy to wire and install
      • Easy to expand
      • Good resistance to EMI
      • Up to 10Mbps capacity
      • Durable

Another benefit of coaxial cable is the electromagnetic field carrying the signal exists only in the space between the inner and outer conductors. This means coaxial cable can be installed next to metal objects without losing power, unlike other types of transmission lines.

Disadvantages of coaxial cable

The main disadvantage of using coaxial cable is that single cable failure can take down an entire network.

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Coaxial cable types

There are two main types of coaxial cables – ones with an impedance of 75 Ohm (Ω) and ones with an impedance of 50 Ohm.

Cables with 75 Ohm are mostly used for video signals, while 50 Ohm cables tend to be used for data and wireless communications.

In coaxial cables, Ohm refers to the impedance, which is the measure of resistance in the cable to the flow of electrical energy.

What’s RF coaxial cable?

RF coaxial cables are used to carry radio frequency signals. They’re the standard input cable on TVs and feature a single pin that plugs into the RF input on a device.

What’s RG-6 cable?

RG-6 cables have larger conductors, so they provide better signal quality. They have thicker dielectric insulation and are made with a different kind of shielding, allowing them to handle GHz level signals more effectively. As this type of cable is thin, it can also be easily installed in walls or ceilings.

What’s RG-59 cable?

A common cable in domestic settings, RG-59 cable is similar to the RG-6, but it has an even thinner centre conductor. This makes it a good choice for short runs and low-frequency transmissions.

What’s RG-11 cable?

RG-11 cable is easily identifiable as it’s thicker than other types of coaxial cable, which can make it more difficult to work with. However, it offers a lower attenuation level than RG-6 or RG-59, meaning it can carry data for longer distances.

What are Coaxial Cables used for?

Here are some of the different uses for coaxial cable and which type is most suited for the task:

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (4)RG-6 Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable for TV

Poor quality coaxial cable can impact TV reception, so it’s important to choose the best cable for the job.

Coaxial cable designed for domestic television should be 75 Ohm, with RG-6 coaxial being ideal for TV.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (5)RG-11 coaxial cable


Coaxial cable for HDTV (high-definition)

The best coaxial cable for HDTV is RG-11.

This type of cable offers a higher gauge than others, which provides more space for signals to transfer. This makes RG-11 cable adept at transferring strong HD signals at speed.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (6)RG-6 Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable for the internet

Coaxial cables can be used to carry signals for internet connections, but internet signals run at higher frequencies than traditional analogue video.

RG-6 cable was designed to fulfil this requirement. It has a larger conductor, which provides a much better signal quality, and the dielectric insulation is thicker. RG-6 cables are also made with a different kind of shielding, which means they can carry GHz level signals more effectively.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (7)RG-59 coaxial cable

Coaxial cable for CCTV

RG-59 coaxial cable is the best type for CCTV systems, but RG-6 can also be used.

RG-6 can run longer distances than RG-59 without loss to a video signal, however, it’s a thicker, firmer cable that isn’t as convenient to work with.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (8)RG-6 coaxial cable

Coaxial cable for video

The most common types of coaxial cable for video are RG-59 and RG-6. Of these, RG-59 is the industry standard cable, whereas RG-6 is better for digital video signals.

What is a coaxial splitter?

When coaxial cable lines are produced, they only provide one signal to power a singular device. This can be problematic if there’s more than one device that requires a signal.

Coaxial splitters are used when there’s more than one device that requires a signal. They’re small devices designed to attach to coaxial cable to split the signal into several lines to connect to multiple devices.

What is a coaxial port?

A coaxial port is a single female RCA connector. The port on a device is most likely to be labelled as 'coaxial', but could also be something such as 'digital out' or 'digital in'. To help distinguish it, the coaxial port is usually colour-coded orange or black.

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Coaxial Cable Sizes

To help identify the different types of coaxial cable, here’s a size guide:


Coaxial cable type

Outside diameter

Outside diameter

RG-58

4.95mm

0.195″

RG-59

6.15mm

0.242″

RG-6

6.90mm

0.275″

RG-62

6.15mm

0.242″

RG-11

10.30mm

0.405″

RG-12

14.10mm

0.555″

RG-213

10.30mm

0.405″

Coaxial cable connector types

Coaxial cable connectors are used to connect cables to other devices and maintain the cable’s shielding.

There are two distinct connector styles – known as male and female. Male connectors have metals pin which protrude from the centre and female connectors have a recessed hole to receive the pin.

Here are some of the most common coaxial connector types and their applications:


Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (9)BNC Connector

Bayonet Neil-Concelman (BNC) coaxial connectors are used for quick connection or disconnection in RF equipment, test instruments, radio, television, and video signal.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (10)TNC Connector

The Threaded Neill-Concelman (TNC) connectors are small, weatherproof products that operate up to 12GHz. They’re often used in mobile phones and RF/antenna connections.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (11)SMB Connectors

Subminiature version B (SMB) connectors are one of the most popular RF/microwave connectors for industrial and telecommunications equipment – offering a simple snap-on coupling design for cables with uncommon connections.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (12)7/6 DIN Connector

The 7/16 DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) connector is a threaded RF connector used to connect coaxial cables.

These connectors are mainly used for applications that require water resistance, as they’re robust and durable. They’re particularly useful for base stations and broadcast communication systems.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (13)QMA Connectors

QMA connectors are coaxial radio frequency connectors. They maintain the shielding barrier in electrical applications and feature snap-on mechanisms. They’re ideal for industrial and communications settings.

.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (14)MCX Connector

Micro coaxial (MCX) connectors are ideal for environments restricted in size or space.

MCX connectors operate between DC and 6GHz in wireless, GPS, TV tuner cards, RF hardware, and digital cellular applications. These connectors also have a snap-on coupling design for easy installation

.

Everything You Need To Know About Coaxial Cable (15)RCA Connectors

The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) connector, also called a cinch connector, is widely used for audio and video applications.

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Product spotlights

Use one of these links to view the products on the RS website

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FAQs

What are the 4 types of coaxial cable? ›

Different Types of Coaxial Cable
  • Hard line coaxial cable.
  • Flexible coaxial cable.
  • Semi-rigid coaxial cable.
  • Formable coaxial cable.
  • Rigid coaxial cable.
  • Twin axial cable.
  • Triaxial cable.

Does it matter which coaxial cable I use? ›

Poor quality coaxial cable can impact TV reception, so it's important to choose the best cable for the job. Coaxial cable designed for domestic television should be 75 Ohm, with RG-6 coaxial being ideal for TV. The best coaxial cable for HDTV is RG-11.

What are the 3 parts of a coax? ›

RF coax is defined by three elements consisting of a center conductor, an outer conductor, and an insulating spacer between the two conductors.

Does length of coax matter? ›

Does Length of Coaxial Cable Affect Signal Loss? Yes, the greater the length of coax cable you use, the more signal loss you will experience.

What type of wire is used in coaxial cable? ›

A coaxial cable has a solid copper or copper-clad-steel centre conductor surrounded by a non-conductive dielectric insulating material. The dielectric is surrounded by foil shield/s and/or copper braid/s which form the outer conductor and also shield against electromagnetic interference (EMI).

How do I know what size coax cable I need? ›

Check the cable used on your TV to identify an RG-6 or RG-11. Cable TV companies use RG-6 coaxial cables to safely deliver channels without extra electrical noise known as static. Check behind your TV to see if your coaxial cable is plugged into it or your cable box. If it is, then it's an RG-6 cable.

What is the highest quality coaxial cable? ›

  • BEST OVERALL: Mediabridge Coaxial Cable (25 Feet)
  • RUNNER-UP: Ultra Clarity Cables Coaxial Cable Triple Shielded.
  • BEST BUDGET: Amazon Basics CL2-Rated Coaxial TV Antenna Cable.
  • BEST FOR MODEM: C2G 28721 RJ11 High-Speed Internet Modem Cable.
  • BEST FOR 4K TV: Postta Digital Coaxial Cable(75 Feet) Quad Shielded.
25 Feb 2021

What is the maximum length for coaxial cable? ›

Coaxial cable can be cabled over longer distances than twisted-pair cable. For example, Ethernet can run approximately 100 meters (328 feet) using twisted-pair cabling. Using coaxial cable increases this distance to 500m (1640.4 feet).

How do I know if my coax cable has a signal? ›

You can test your coax outlet's signal by taking your cable modem from cable outlet to cable outlet manually, and plugging it in to each coax outlet to verify a signal and connectivity. If your internet modem connects like normal, that means a signal was detected. If it doesn't connect, then you have no signal.

How many wires are in coaxial cable? ›

A coaxial cable consists of two conductors laid concentrically along the same axis. One conducting wire is surrounded by a dielectric insulator, which is in turn surrounded by the other, outer conductor, producing an electrically shielded transmission circuit.

Why is it called coaxial cable? ›

Coaxial cable received its name because it includes one physical channel that carries the signal surrounded -- after a layer of insulation -- by another concentric physical channel, both running along the same axis. The outer channel serves as a ground.

What is the speed of coaxial cable? ›

And with coax we now reach speeds between 50 and 500 Mbps (6.25 to 62.5 MB). So internet by coax has since become as fast as by optical fibre. But new technology enables us to actually boost the performance of coaxial cable.

How long can a coax cable be before signal loss? ›

But once you get above 100 feet, things get tricky. The longer the coax run, the more loss and the more expensive it gets. The signal arriving at the receiver from anything longer than 100 feet of RG8X is probably going to cause trouble. Runs over 200 feet without amplification are only a dim possibility.

Is it OK to coil coaxial cable? ›

There's nothing inherently wrong with “looping up” extra coaxial cable. In fact, a neatly wound coil of coax can function as an air-core choke balun (“ugly balun”) which is useful for some antenna systems when located at the feed point of the antenna.

How do I choose a coaxial cable? ›

There are 4 key points to be considered when choosing coaxial cables:
  1. Cable Type. ...
  2. Operating Frequency. ...
  3. Cable Attenuation.
  4. Cable attenuation is the amount of signal loss over a specific distance. ...
  5. Characteristic Impedance. ...
  6. Quick note: RG-style coaxial cables are not all built the same.

Does coaxial cable carry power? ›

A coaxial cable is capable of carrying current. If the center conductor of the cable is solid copper, it carries it quite well. Solid copper core RG6 is used to power amplified antennas and satellite dishes all the time. It's not suitable for carrying the amount of current you'd get from a wall outlet, though.

Is all coaxial cable the same? ›

While all coaxial cables are used to transmit signals, they are not all the same. Coaxial cables vary in size, material, and shielding. Each type of coax cable works best with specific applications.

What is special about coaxial cable? ›

The key to coaxial cable's success has been its shielded design, which allows the cable's copper core to transmit data quickly, without succumbing to interference or damage from environmental factors.

What type of coaxial cable should I use for antenna? ›

If you're installing an indoor antenna or a short outdoor run, a standard RG6 cable should meet your needs. The quad-shielded RG6 cable features additional foil shields to fight electromagnetic interference and is ideal for longer runs.

Do all coaxial cables work for internet? ›

Yes, you can use your coax TV wiring to get Internet in your home. In fact, creating an Ethernet over coax network can make your Wi-Fi better in the long run.

Which is better RG6 or RG11? ›

RG11, because of its bigger size and better handling of attenuation, is superior when it comes to preserving signal quality than RG6. It's also able to work at much higher frequencies than RG6 due to it having less signal loss.

What causes cable signal loss? ›

Signal leaks can be caused by loose connectors, damaged equipment or cables, or cables that are unterminated (not connected to a device, panel or wall outlet). Why is it important to determine leakage? Cable television systems and licensed broadcasters use many of the same frequencies to transmit programming.

Why do I have 2 coax cables? ›

Sometimes cable companies that provide primary voice services (ie phone intended as primary use by FCC rules) will run from dedicated equipment in the providers head end. If this is the case it may appear as separate coax facilities from the Internet/television coax in a home or business.

How do you check the voltage on a coaxial cable? ›

How to Test for Voltage on a Coaxial Cable
  1. Disconnect the coaxial cable from the TV or cable box and position it for easy access. Video of the Day.
  2. Set the voltmeter to read AC (alternating current) voltage.
  3. Touch one probe of the voltmeter to the center wire. ...
  4. Read the display on the multimeter to determine the voltage.

How do I make my coax outlet active? ›

How to activate a cable wall outlet - YouTube

How do I test if a cable is live? ›

A non-contact voltage tester is the safest way for testing live wires, performed by placing the machine near the wire. With digital multimeters, the two probes are attached to the cable and can check for resistance, amps and voltage.

Which is better RG-6 or RG11? ›

RG11, because of its bigger size and better handling of attenuation, is superior when it comes to preserving signal quality than RG6. It's also able to work at much higher frequencies than RG6 due to it having less signal loss.

How do I know what type of coax cable I have? ›

Coaxial cables generally use the label “RG,” which stands for “Radio Guide” and is accompanied by numbers to create a code that distinguishes the cable model. Once you find the designation code, you will quickly identify the type of coaxial cable!

Which coaxial cable is best? ›

  • BEST OVERALL: Mediabridge Coaxial Cable (25 Feet)
  • RUNNER-UP: Ultra Clarity Cables Coaxial Cable Triple Shielded.
  • BEST BUDGET: Amazon Basics CL2-Rated Coaxial TV Antenna Cable.
  • BEST FOR MODEM: C2G 28721 RJ11 High-Speed Internet Modem Cable.
  • BEST FOR 4K TV: Postta Digital Coaxial Cable(75 Feet) Quad Shielded.
25 Feb 2021

What's the difference between RG-6 and RG-59? ›

RG 59 has a smaller conductor than RG 6, which means that it can't achieve the same signal quality as RG 6. The way its shielding is designed also means that it doesn't keep Gigahertz level signals inside the conductor very well. This is why RG 59 probably isn't a good choice for your TV or internet connection.

What is the best cable to use for TV antenna? ›

Antennas Direct offers three types of cable: RG6,Quad-Shielded RG6, and RG11. If you're installing an indoor antenna or a short outdoor run, a standard RG6 cable should meet your needs. The quad-shielded RG6 cable features additional foil shields to fight electromagnetic interference and is ideal for longer runs.

When should I use RG11? ›

RG11 are thick cables used for special and long-distance signal purposes. It is mostly used in television connections, CCTV connections, and HTDV, etc. Because of its thickness, it does not bend easily or is not very flexible; therefore, indoor connections do not go easy with RG11.

Does old coaxial cable affect Internet speed? ›

So, the long answer made short is that no, coaxial cable does not slow down your Internet.

What size is standard coax cable? ›

The most common sizes of coax cables are, RG-6 (6.15mm) RG-11 (10.30mm) RG-58 (4.95mm)

How do I know if my coax cable is live? ›

When the LED-light indicator is red, it means the outlet is not live and is not receiving a signal. When its green, it means the coax outlet is live and is receiving a valid signal. The DSS-01 Coax Cable tester was developed by our experts at Hitron for large Cable Internet Service Providers.

What is the speed of coaxial cable? ›

And with coax we now reach speeds between 50 and 500 Mbps (6.25 to 62.5 MB). So internet by coax has since become as fast as by optical fibre. But new technology enables us to actually boost the performance of coaxial cable.

How long do coax cables last? ›

A coaxial cable of modern design and quality construction, say designed and made within the last twenty (20) years, will maintain useful, at or near specified performance, for decades, as long as it is not physically damaged.

Is all coaxial cable the same? ›

While all coaxial cables are used to transmit signals, they are not all the same. Coaxial cables vary in size, material, and shielding. Each type of coax cable works best with specific applications.

How far can you run coax cable? ›

Coaxial cable can be cabled over longer distances than twisted-pair cable. For example, Ethernet can run approximately 100 meters (328 feet) using twisted-pair cabling. Using coaxial cable increases this distance to 500m (1640.4 feet). For LANs, coaxial cable offers several advantages.

Is there a difference between white and black coax cable? ›

In most cases, it makes no difference at all. It's just your choice of what looks better in your installation. If you live in an area where there is a lot of strong sunlight, white cables may weather a little better in the long run, as black cables absorb a bit more heat.

How do you crimp coaxial? ›

  1. Coaxial Cable Breakdown.
  2. Step 1 – Spool out your length of cable. ...
  3. Step 2 – Strip cable to center conductor. ...
  4. Step 3 – Strip only the outer jacket. ...
  5. Step 4 – Fold braided shield back. ...
  6. Step 5 – Insert the cable into the compression connector. ...
  7. Step 6 – Crimp the connector on to the cable. ...
  8. Step 7 – Crimp the other end of the cable.

Can I use any coaxial cable for internet? ›

Yes, you can use your coax TV wiring to get Internet in your home. In fact, creating an Ethernet over coax network can make your Wi-Fi better in the long run.

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