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HomeTips & GuidesCoax cable types: All you need to know.

Coax cable types: All you need to know.

About Coax cable types: There are different types of coaxial cables, such as RG6, RG 11 and so on.

So, does the choice of cable matter? Well, the answer is YES.

The transmission of signals highly depends on the types of cable used. For instance, if you use RG6, its higher attenuation level restricts the frequency range and the transmission distance. 

On the contrary, RG11, with its low attenuation, can transmit signals at higher distances (up to 457m). So, coax cable types matter a lot.

What is a coaxial cable?

Coaxial cables can send high-frequency RF signals as electric signals with minimal signal deterioration.

You can use these cables in different applications, including cell boosters, TV, internet, telephone lines, etc. The different varieties of coaxial cables are designed for use in particular applications.

What is the structure of a coaxial cable?

Coaxial cable, or coax cable, mainly comprises four layers-

  • The innermost layer is a solid conductor made of copper or steel wire with copper coating. This central conductor mainly carries the RF signals.
  • A dielectric insulator layer covers the core and maintains a uniform distance between the central conductor and the third layer. Usually, this layer is made of plastic.
  • The third layer covers the dielectric insulator and is made of woven copper, aluminum or any other metal. This braided metal layer shields the signals against electromagnetic interference. Some coaxial have multiple layers of enmeshed copper for enhanced signal protection.
  • The outermost jacket is that of rubber which shields all the inner components. The rating of this rubber jacket decides the application use of that cable.

High-frequency coaxial cables

High-frequency coaxial cables

Work in coaxial cable:

The main electric signal passes through the central conductor of the coaxial cable. 

The presence of the metal shield ensures that the signals are transmitted through the length of the cable without any loss. 

As the core conductor and the metal shield receive the signal, they generate a magnetic field. 

As a result, the signal remains intact within the cable and does not leak out. 

The signal leaks from the cable in the absence of the metal shield.

 Another role of metal shields is to protect the signals from electromagnetic interference. 

Thus, it is possible to install the cable near electronic components.

The consistent distance between the metal shield and the central conductor ensures optimal performance, which the dielectric material ensures. 

Also, the dielectric cancels the effect of two signals and prevents their contact.

The outermost rubber jacket protects all the components from various environmental factors.

With the combined contribution of all these layers, you can send high radio frequency signals over long distances. 

The signals can be converted to audio, video, images, Wi-Fi or any other mode based on your application.

Coaxial cable cutaway vector illustration

Coaxial cable cutaway vector illustration

What is the use of coaxial cables?

When an AC (alternating current) passes through a metal conductor, it generates radio frequency waves. 

You can use coaxial cables with any radio frequency system to transmit RF signals. 

Different telecom companies, cable operators, and internet providers are using coaxial cables for radio frequency transmissions. Some of its uses include

Cable TV:

Cable TV operators use coaxial cables to send data and videos from the company to your television. 

Further, the connection between your TV and the personal antenna is also established using coaxial cable.

Signal boosters:

Signal boosters for mobile phones consist of an indoor antenna, an amplifier, and an outdoor antenna. 

All these components, when connected, transmit strong signals inside your office, vehicles, or homes. 

It’s the coaxial cables that connect these components to bypass any signal-blocking object in between.

Copper-based cable internet:

The cable service provider sets copper coax cables from the main antenna to your home. The router receives the signal. 

Once the signal reaches, get it on your devices either by wiring the devices to the router or connecting via Wi-Fi.

Ham Radio:

If you want to connect over the airwaves, Ham Radio can help. You can set them anywhere as they do not require any mobile technology or the internet. In ham radios, coaxial cables are used in antennas to ensure higher signal strength.

Cable TV connection

Cable TV connection

Coaxial cable types:

Coaxial cables are mainly of two types: RG cables and LMR cables. Which one you should choose depends on your application.

RG coax cables:

Here, RG stands for Radio guide, which indicates the military specification for these cables used originally. 

The RG number of the coax cable mainly signifies its diameter. The cable with a higher RG means it has a thinner central core.

On the contrary,  a higher RG number indicates a thicker central conductor.

Let’s learn more about the different RG cables through this cable.

RG Coax cable typeImpedanceCore sizeNominal attenuation Per Mhz dB/100ftDielectric type function
RG-6/U75 ohms1.024mm850/8.5dB; 1900/13.6dBPFCommon coaxial cables used in different commercial and residential applications like the internet, cable TV and more
RG-850 ohms2.17mm850/6.4dB’ 1900/10.4dBPFCannot carry pure video signals Useful in audio control rooms, extra radio antennas, and radio stations
RG-1175 ohms1.67mm850/6.25dBPFHigher gauge cable Used in TV antennas, video distribution, HDTV and CATV
RG-5975 ohms0.64mmNot applicablePFFlexible and easy installation Not suitable for long runs Best for low-frequency audio, video signals and CCTV

LMR coax cables:

These are updated versions of RF coaxial cables with higher flexibility, lower cost and greater cost of installation. Mostly, antennas on satellites, missiles, airplanes and other communication systems use LMR cables.

The LMR cables are indicated as LMR (Number); here, the number indicates a rough idea of their thickness.

Let’s know the different types of LMR cables through this table.

LMR coax cableImpedanceCore sizeDielectric typeNominal attenuationFunction
LMR 20050 ohms1.12 mmPF850/9.6dB;1900/14.6dBOutdoor-rated flexible cableKnown for low-loss communication Good for short antenna feedlineLower passive intermodulation
LMR 24050 ohms1.42mmPF850/7.2dB; 1900/11.2dBSuitable for outdoor applications Lesser signal lossSuitable for short feedlines like WLAN, GPS and mobile antennas
LMR 40050 ohms2.74mmPF850/3.8dB; 1900/5.8dBFlexible cable used in applications with repeated bending and flexingUse in jumper assemblies and antenna feeders
LMR 60050 ohms4.47 mmPF850/2.4dB; 1900/3.8dBDesigned for outdoor applications Flexible than hardline cables
LMR 90050 ohms6.65mmPF850/1.6dB; 1900/2.6dBLarger cables Suitable for medium antenna feeder lines where flexible and easily touted cables are required

Different types of coaxial cables

Different types of coaxial cables

How to choose the right coax cable type?

Every coax cable has numbers and letters printed on the outermost jacket. 

With this information, you can know the type of cable, its rating, its manufacturer and much more. 

However, before you pick a cable type, you must consider the following factors.

The distance of the cable run:

When used for longer runs, the cable tends to lose signal strength with the distance. 

However, choosing a thicker cable can reduce the signal loss to an extent. 

The optimal signal transmission occurs with the thickest and the shortest cable based on your application.

When it comes to radio transmission, it’s the quality of the wavelength that changes with the cable length. 

Besides, the cable’s inner and outer diameter, dielectric contact of the insulator, magnetic permeability and other factors determine the wavelength quality through the cable.

Signal frequency range:

Every application needs to transmit a specific frequency signal. Not all cables can handle all types of frequency signals. 

Thus, pick a cable that can transmit high-frequency signals required by your application.

Protection against electromagnetic interference:

If a cable operates in a low EMI environment, do not prioritize EMI protection features while choosing the cable. 

Cables meant for working in a high EMI environment have several braided shield layers and are made from high-density materials. Applications like telephonic and audio/video transmission may require electromagnetic interference shielding for optimal performance and to prevent signal deterioration.

Operating conditions:

All coax cables are designed to work in specific environmental conditions. The rating on the cable tells you how durable a cable will be in a particular environment.

Based on the operating environments, the coax cables are categorized as

  • CMP (Communications Multipurpose Plenum) cables. CMP cables are suitable for use in plenum air locations. The outer jacket of these cables is fire retardant and releases minimal smoke in case of fire accidents. These heavy-duty cables are suitable for areas meant for air circulation.
  • CMR (communications Multipurpose Riser) cable: Riser Coax cables are suitable for use between the floors via vertical shafts and risers. These are also fire retardants to prevent fire breakouts.
  • CM (communications Multipurpose) cables: Also known as PVC cables, these commonly used cables are meant for general applications. It is not fire retardant and does produce high toxic fumes on burning. Thus, using them in riser or plenum areas is not advisable.

Coaxial cable connectors:

There are different coaxial cable connectors; BNC, F-type and SMC are the common ones. Every device and system needs a specific one for smooth functioning. 

The compatibility between cable connectors and the device ports ensures optimal transmission. 

Different applications need different types of connectors, such as one for TVs, Routers, radios and signal boosters. 

Cost considerations:

Every coaxial cable comes at a different price based on its features and quality. You must pick one that can give you the desired performance in your budget.

 Prioritize the cable features that are most required in your application.

Coax cable assemblies 

Coax cable assemblies 

Conclusion:

By now, coaxial cables and their use must be clear to you. If you are looking for a coax cable type for your radiofrequency application, cloom is here to help you. 

We are a premium cable manufacturer providing high-quality coaxial cables meant for a variety of applications. 

Contact us to learn more about coaxial cables and other cable assemblies.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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