Coaxial cables are constantly evolving, and as a result, you will find a large variety of coaxial cables around you, each having specific applications. What is a coax cable used for? Let’s see the answer.
Table of Contents
- What are Coax Cables?
- Uses Of Coaxial Cable
- Coaxial Cable Specifications
- The use of common Types of Coaxial Cables
What are Coax Cables?
You can also call them to coax or self-shielded cable. In a coaxial cable, you will find two conductors that lay concentrically along the same axis. Also, a dielectric insulator surrounds the first copper center conductor. The outer conductor then surrounds the insulator creating an electrically shielded circuit for signal transmission. The outer jacket of the cable is a protective plastic sheathing. As the current flow restricts the adjacent surfaces of both the conductors and the signal moves within the dielectric insulator, the radiation loss of these cables is very low. Also, these cables are less susceptible to external signal interference.
Image: coaxial cables with connectors
Uses Of Coaxial Cable
You use small coaxial cables in homes and offices for home video equipment, cable television signals, amateur radio, and measuring devices. Earlier, people used coaxial cables as Ethernet cables which supported 10Mbps speed. Now, Ethernet uses twisted-pair cables. However, coax cables are still in use in cable broadband internet. On the other hand, you can use micro coaxial cables in various consumer devices and military equipment.
Here are some uses that you get from coaxial cables:
You can use coaxial cables to join the components of cell phone boosters, including an amplifier, outdoor antenna, and indoor antenna. These cables bypass signal blocking materials to enjoy strong signal quality inside your home.
Basic RF systems
You can generate radio frequency waves by passing an alternating current through a conductive material. In other words, you can use coax cables with any RF system as they carry radio frequency signals.
Cable internet (Copper-based)
You get internet in your homes because of the ethernet cable. The cable service provider pipes these cables into your home, and the modem or the router connects to an Ethernet or coax outlet for receiving signals. You can wire the devices directly to the router or use a Wi-Fi network to get high-speed internet.
With Ham radio, you can communicate with people over airwaves. A coaxial cable connects to the broadcasting antennas and provides a strong signal, and ham radios do not require any internet or cell phone technology.
Caption: Early computer networks used 50-ohm coax； Video uses 75-ohm cable.
Coaxial Cable Specifications
You can specify a coaxial cable on the following parameters.
- The reference of these cables as RG type is becoming obsolete as the standard does not have an active document. In-home video applications, you will find RG6 as a very common cable.
- The inner conductor material is either bare copper, tinned copper, silver-coated copper, or aluminum-copper.
- With the characteristic impedance of the cable, which is one of these: 50, 52, 75, or 93 ohms
- With the material of the jacket, the outer protective cable layer
- The main cable dimensions include wire gauge, length, or outer diameter.
- The configuration of coaxial cable connectors includes the style and gender of the connector, such as SMB, SMA, BNC, or N-type.
- With the minimum bend radius
- With the cable’s rated temperature
- With the attenuation in dB per unit cable length
Image: coaxial radio frequency cables
The use of common Types of Coaxial Cables
Let’s dig deeper into the application of the cable type.
Hard-line coaxial cable
You can use it in applications requiring high signal strength. The thickness of these cables is around 0.5 inches to 1.75 inches. Hard-line coaxial cables have a central copper, aluminum, silver, or steel conductor. To inhibit moisture and arcing, some of these cables integrate pressurized nitrogen.
You can use them in the signal transmission of cable TV systems. A single coax cable can transmit hundreds of TV channel signals, and you can also use them in internet connection and telephone.
Rigid line coaxial cable
Rigid line or rigid coax cable is mainly a misnomer as they are very flexible. Manufacturers produce and sell these cables in fixed length and straight sections. These cables have an inner copper wire conductor with an aluminum or copper as an external conductor. According to the situation, you can use 45- or 90-degrees elbows to join the signal transmission line. You can mainly use them in indoor applications, TV broadcasting, or FM systems connections.
Semi-rigid Coaxial cable
As the name shows, these cables are less flexible as their shield comprises harder metals. Thus, you can use them in applications where you want to lay a cable straight without bending or curving.
Formable Coaxial cable
Formable coaxial cables are an alternative to semi-rigid coaxial cables. The outer sheath of these cables comprises flexible metal. Occasionally, you can use these cables in layout placement design. Once the design is confirmed, you can alter the semi-rigid coaxial cable.
Flexible Coaxial cable
These cables have an inner metal conductor. A flexible dielectric polymer surrounds this conductor. The outermost layer is a protective external jacket. In contrast to the semi-rigid coax, these cables are flexible and movable. As a result, they are suitable for applications that require cable bending.
You can use these cables in home video or cable Television systems.
RG-6 Coaxial cable
RG-6 cable is another common cable that you may find in your surroundings. RG stands for Radio guide, and the number after RG indicates the cable’s diameter. In RG6 cable, six means that the cable diameter is 0.06. You can call an RG cable RF or radio frequency cable also. As these cables have more prominent conductors, you will get better signal quality with these cables. Further, their thick dielectric core and unique outer shield can easily accommodate GHz signals. Some RG-6 cables are also waterproof.
As a result of their thin nature, RG-6 cables are easy to install on walls and ceilings. These features make RG-6 cables an excellent choice for entertainment systems in commercial and household setups.
RG-11 Coaxial cable
Thicker than RG-6, RG-11 cables are a good choice for satellite TV and cable Television signals transmissions. It has a 75-ohm impedance. Due to their less flexibility, there is less radiation loss resulting in higher signal transmission. You can use RG-11 cables for long-distance transmission. Further, their higher gauge makes them suitable for HDTV connections also.
Like RG-6, you will find RG59 cable in various domestic video applications. It has a thin central conductor making it efficient in low-frequency transmissions.
The triaxial cable or Triax has an extra shield of a grounded copper braid. Thus, it helps in protecting the internal conductive elements from the ground loop currents and field noise. Further, Triaxial cable has higher bandwidth, and their capacity for interference rejection makes them suitable for electromagnetic solid force applications.
You can use these cables to connect cameras to camera control units (CCU).
The twin-axial cable has two inner central conducting wires. As a result, these cables provide better protection from ground loops and capacitive fields and reduce cable loss. These cables also reduce low-frequency magnetic noise, and you can use them in digital and low-frequency video applications.
The type of coax cable you often use in daily life also includes
- Coaxial Ribbon Cable Assemblies
- Micro Coaxial Cable
- High-frequency Coaxial Cable
- High-temperature Coaxial Cable
- Water-cooled Coaxial Cable
Image: various cables for TV and internet
The cables above are durable, robust, easy to install, and inexpensive. They also resist the interference of electromagnetic waves and have a speed capacity of 10Mbps. Thus, coaxial cables are widely used in various industries. However, if you are confused about which type of cable is suitable for your specific application, Cloom’s experienced technicians can guide you to reach the High-quality cable.