CCTV Cable Types - How to Choose the Right One for Your Camera

Today, many of us can install a camera into our home, office, or space. However, few people realize that choosing the right CCTV cables is just as important as selecting the right camera.

Your choice of cable affects the clarity of the sound and video and the system's reliability.

Various types of cables can be used with your surveillance equipment. Your specific equipment will dictate which cables you want to consider.

So, this article will look at different types of cables and their applications.

Let's dive in!

Coaxial Cables and Video Power Cables

Coaxial wires are the oldest type of CCTV wire on our list. They are still commonly used for analog cameras.

Coaxial cables are made with an inner conductor covered by several insulating layers. They also have a jacket and conducting shield wrapped around them to prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI).

There are different types of coaxial cables, depending on their purpose. The good news is they are adaptable, can be scaled, are durable, have a 10Mb transfer capacity, easy to install, and are affordable. 

In addition, the electromagnetic signals only transmit inside the conductor, so there’s no loss of power. Because of this added advantage, installers can put these types of cables next to metallic objects without concern for interference. 

Coaxial Cable Applications

Usually, we use coaxial cables when connecting TVs to HDTV antennas or satellite hardware. However, because they can withstand EMI, we can also use coax cables to

  • Connect high-speed internet from a cable line to a modem
  • Data transmissions
  • CCTV
  • Facilitate commercial software

In short, companies use coaxial cables to connect main cable lines associated with their services to individual properties.

RG59 Siamese Cable

RG59 Siamese Security System cables are the standard for analog CCTV security systems. Siamese cable provides separately insulated wires of power cable and coaxial cable. A single coating usually attaches these two wires.

This allows proper power to be delivered without interfering with the video transmission:

  • Coaxial cable to connect the camera to the display.
  • A power cable to give the camera power.

 While siamese CCTV wires are the general standard, they have both advantages and disadvantages.

The added powerline simplifies your installation, so you don’t need to worry about additional power supplies and cables. They have a good signal, are reliable, and last a long time.

Since both cables have separate insulated cable jackets - it protects them from crosstalk and electromagnetic interference.


RG6 Coaxial Cable

RG6 cable has a heavier gauge wire to make it extra suitable for video. The cable benefits from thicker insulation with shielding layers that slow down video degradation over the cable run.

RG6 cables are the go-to choice for higher definition camera systems.

With more expensive, high-res equipment, you want to ensure that your CCTV cable type doesn’t limit the quality you might otherwise obtain. 

One thing to note: If you get an RG6 cable, you will also need an 18/2 low voltage wire for your power.


Learn more about the differences between RG59 and RG6 

Premade Siamese Cables

Also known as premade CCTV cables, these cables are amongst the most popular choices for analog CCTV cameras and HD over Coax type cameras.

The cables are already preassembled with a BNC connector and cut to a specific length. This means you can take them out of the box and connect them without hassle.

Especially those who don’t have previous experience with cable installation might find premade cables convenient. 

Another bonus is that the premade Siamese cables are less expensive than RG59 siamese or RG6 bulk cables.


Bulk Ethernet Cables

Ethernet cables are used for IP digital cameras. Ethernet cable is built from 4 twisted pairs. The twist reduces signal interference.

The purpose of ethernet cables is to connect things to the network.

If you have a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, your ethernet cables can also provide power to your security cameras. This cabling method eliminates the need for a separate power cable for each camera.

You can still use Ethernet cables even if you use an analog security system. However, you will need an HD Video Balun to do it. Video balun will allow connecting an RJ45 Ethernet cable to an RG-59 Siamese cable.


Ethernet Patch cables

These cables are already preassembled with an RJ45 connector and cut to a specific length. This means you can take them out of the box and connect them without hassle. They are very convenient for those who don’t have previous experience with cable installation.

Another bonus is that Ethernet Patch cables are less expensive than bulk cables.

What Ethernet Cable Should I Use for IP Cameras?

Cat5 and cat6 are two popular types of PoE cables. Cat is short for 'category.' It refers to the capability of the grade of network wires. These are the wires that connect to your internet service.

Both cat5 and cat6 consist of four twisted pairs and use an RJ-45 connector. RJ45 is the standard connector you see on most ethernet cables.

The main difference is that the cat6 cable is faster than Cat5. However, they are also more expensive. 

You simply connect the camera to the display with both types of network wire. The wire will take power through the system. For this reason, PoE wires have a lot of advantages.


It saves time on installation and saves energy costs. It also gives you more flexibility in terms of wiring, it's easier to scale your CCTV coverage, and they're cheaper than siamese cables.


They can be slow if your existing ethernet cables are damaged. They also don’t tend to last as long as siamese cables.

Recommended Ethernet Cable for Security Camera

Security types of cameras have different resolutions. This means they need different bandwidths.

For example, a higher resolution security camera will typically require more bandwidth than an older camera with a standard definition. However, the majority of IP security cameras use under 100Mbps bandwidth. 

CategoryStandard BandwidthRemaining Bandwidth
1080P @ 5/mbps 
Remaining Bandwidth
4K @ 30/mbps 
Cat5e1,000 Mbps995Mbps970Mbps
Cat610,000 Mbps / 10 Gbps9,995 / 995 Mbps 165ft or more9,970 / 970 Mbps 165ft or more
Cat6a10,000 Mbps / 10 Gbps9,995 / 995 Mbps 330ft or more9,970 / 970 Mbps 330ft or more
Cat710,000 Mbps / 10 Gbps9,995 / 995 Mbps 330ft or more9,970 / 970 Mbps 330ft or more
Cat840,000 Mbps / 40 Gbps39,995 / 9,995 Mbps 100ft or more39,970 / 9,970 Mbps 100ft or more

We can see the remaining bandwidth of Cat5e and Cat6 by looking at the 1080p security camera with 5Mbps bandwidth and the 4K resolution camera with 30Mbps bandwidth.

Depending on its intended use, you have a choice of Ethernet cable for your security camera. For homes and businesses, the best cable is a Cat5e, as you won’t need to transmit more than 1,000Mbps, even in 4k resolution.

However, with more extensive network infrastructures, you’d be better off with a Cat6 os higher because it can transmit several Gigabytes of data per second. 

Note: You only need to worry about the category of your Ethernet cable if you're using it to carry network data. If you're just using it to convert to a BNC connection for your analog security system, then any category of cable will work.

Optical Fiber

These cables use pure glass to transmit data via light. This is the fastest option of all the cables mentioned. Data travels much faster through light than through electrical wires, which suffer from resistance.

There are two types of fiber: SMF and MMF (single-mode fiber and multi-mode fiber). This has to do with the size of the core, which determines how much data it can transfer, and how fast.

Fiber is hard to beat compared to other cables. It's blazing fast, experiences no electromagnetic interference, has high bandwidth, and can work at long distances. This is the option you want for high-speed, high-definition CCTV that has a very long distance between placements.

However, fiber is expensive. It is delicate and requires more technical know-how than other cables. You will need to invest a lot of manpower to both install and maintain it.

Are You Ready to Get the Right CCTV Cables?

This concludes our guide to CCTV cable types. However, if you want more tips and products for the right CCTV cables for your security system, visit SatMaxium.

We have the latest CCTV cabling, connectors, mounts, and tools on the market. Take a look at our range of CCTV cables today.