The Different Types of Coaxial Cables: All You Need to Know
If we use the wrong type of coax cable, we may not experience the best results. That is why using the right coaxial cables for a particular application makes an enormous difference.
Throughout this guide, we will explore the basics of coax cables. Afterward, we will cover the types of coaxial cables, their applications, and the differences between each cable and connector.
Read on to find out more.
What Is a Coax Cable?
Coaxial cables are a type of cable constructed with inner conductors that are surrounded by several insulating layers. Moreover, a coax cable has a jacket and conducting shield wrapped around its insulation to prevent Electromagnetic Interference (EMI).
Each coax cable has different applications suitable due to its design. Also, each cable type has different connectors that make them advantageous in certain scenarios.
Advantages of Using Coaxial Cables
Due to their adaptability to suit various applications, coax cables do have many advantages. These include:
- 10Mb transfer capacity
- Electromagnetic interference resistance
- Simple to install
Another benefit that many will find when using coax cables is that electromagnetic signals only transmit inside of the conductor. Transmitting signals through a conductor prevents a loss in power, which other transmission lines suffer from.
Because of this, installers can place these cables adjacent to metallic objects without worrying about interference.
Coaxial Cable Applications
Usually, we would use coaxial cables when connecting TVs to HDTV TV antennas or satellite hardware. However, due to their ability to withstand EMI, we can also use coax cables for the following:
- Connecting high-speed internet from a cable line into a modem
- Closed-circuit television (CCTV)
- Commercial computer software
- Data transmissions
Additionally, companies will use coaxial cables to connect the main cable line of their services into individual homes or apartment units.
What Are RG Cables?
Radio Guide (RG) is what we would refer to when differentiating the various types of coaxial cables. The number that follows RG signifies the cable specification but it doesn’t always refer to thickness or size of the cable.
3 Types of Coaxial Cables
Throughout this section, we will explore the various coaxial cables , including their design, how they work, and what application each cable type works best with.
RG59 coaxial cables are some of the most common cables of this type. However, they are also on the low-end regarding performance. Their design combines flexibility, rigid shielding, and thick insulation. While they are not as well protected as some of their counterparts, they are still less susceptible to interference.
Typical applications for RG59 cables include connecting a satellite box and a TV. Furthermore, the way manufacturers built these cables is an ideal choice when connecting Closed-circuit television setups. Also, they are more suitable for connecting devices in tight spaces due to their flexibility.
RG6 cables have higher-quality shielding and thicker insulation than their counterparts. That way, they can endure outdoor conditions and more interference. Also, their thick insulation suffers less from signal loss over long distances due to their thick insulation. However, the additional thickness of these cables results in a less flexible cable.
There are two most popular RG6 variations Dual Shield and Quad Shield. Learn more about the differences between these two, please check Rg6 Cables: The Differences Between Dual vs Quad Shield Coaxial Cable
RG6 coax cables are used when professional technicians install satellite TV and for delivering better tv signals. These cables can also be used for cable TV, internet, and HDTV.
When choosing an RG6 cable for television, aim for a 75 Ohm cable.
Learn more about the differences between RG59 and RG6
The RG11 is the thickest cable among RG6 and RG59 cables in terms of design. Also, there are a couple of weaknesses that the RG11 fixes that its RG6 and RG59 counterparts could not.
First, the older cables could only run up to 100 feet before experiencing a deteriorating connection. However, with the RG11, we can run it up to 200 feet before facing performance degradation.
As for the second issue, the RG6 and RG59 cables are more suited for older televisions. While RG6 cables are a good option for high-definition (HD) TVs, RG11 cables work best in the long run. This is because RG11s have more space for signals to transfer.
7 Coax Cable Connector Types
Coaxial cable connectors are used to connect cables to other devices. However, high-quality connectors offer reliability and will last longer. There are different types of connectors. For instance, male vs. female. Each connector will offer its own benefit, which you will learn about throughout this section.
The common Bayonet Neill-Concelman (BNC) coax cable connectors feature a twist and snap bayonet design. These connectors require a quarter-turn to make a connection. Due to this design, we do not need any tools for a connection.
The advantages of these connectors include their ease of connection, simple design, and the ability to prevent accidental disconnection caused by cable movements. However, these cables only have a frequency range of DC-4 GHz.
We will want to use these connectors on audio or video transmission systems and radio frequency test equipment.
The miniature threaded version of the BNC cable, the Threaded Neill-Concelman (TNC) connector, are more rugged than their counterparts. Moreover, additional advantages include waterproofing, 11 GHz frequencies, and low susceptibility to variations.
However, they require a special coaxial cable form and are heavier than other connectors.
Due to their size and ruggedness, we will use these connectors for RF antennas.
The 50 Ohm Subminiature version A (SMA) connectors come straight to right-angled and male to female, among other formats. These cables also deliver frequencies up to 18 GHz.
Due to their lightweight design, they are suitable for applications where weight and size are a concern. A couple of examples include microwave systems and Wi-Fi antennas. However, this also makes them less suitable in harsher environments.
These connectors are similar to the SMA with the difference of a snap-lock design. The design enables an easier connection and allows them to operate with frequencies up to 18 GHz.
We would want to use these connectors in applications that require maintenance of the cable’s shielding.
5. 7/16 DIN
The Deutsches Institut für Normung (7/16 DIN) work best with high-wattage transmissions. Applications where this connector best suits include situations that involve multiple transmissions.
Unfortunately, we will need a wrench for using these connectors. Also, they are more so used in Europe instead of the United States.
Manufacturers designed micro coaxial (MCX) cables for limited space and size applications. These connectors come in various sizes to suit different applications. They also have a snap-on coupling design, making their installation simple.
Unfortunately, they have a frequency range limited to DC-6 GHz due to their size.
Use MCX cables when dealing with RF hardware, global positioning systems (GPS) devices, and TV tuner cards.
These are screw-on connectors that many use with RG11, RG59, and RG6 cables. They also have a frequency range of 4 GHz. For the most part, these cables are used for television equipment.
Due to the F connector's thin conductor design, this connector is susceptible to suffering from issues bending, corrosion, and dielectric migration.
Use F-type connectors when connecting to cable modems, antennas, and satellite TV.
Use the Right Coax Cables
There are different types of coaxial cables and cable connectors. Whether you' re looking to explore our robust RG6 cables or any other cables we provide, you can learn how our selection can help optimize any setup. Each comes with an ideal application and offers distinct advantages over its counterparts.
Check out our complete selection of high-quality coaxial cables today.