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HomeTips & GuidesRG Coaxial Cable: Everything You Need to Know

RG Coaxial Cable: Everything You Need to Know

Today, RG coaxial cable is the most commonly used cables in the house, especially for TV connections and other connections outside the house. However, what does rg mean? The article below will discuss RG and the factors to consider when choosing coaxial cables

What are RG Coaxial Cables?

Standard coax cables were categorized for military applications as RG—#/U or RG—#. The ‘RG’ stands for radio guide, while the ‘U’ stands for universal. 

The current standard for military cables is the MIL-SPEC MIL-C-17. MIL-C-17 numbers like M17/75-RG214 are for military cables and civilian applications use manufacturer catalog numbers. 

Although RG cables were so popular in the past, they are still in use. However, it’s important that users understand that since there’s no longer a handbook, there’s no actual standard one can use to confirm the physical and electrical characteristics of a cable described as RG-# type. 

The RG designations are mainly used to identify compatible connectors that can fit the dielectric, jacket, and inner conductor dimensions of old RG series cables.

Common Types of RG Coaxial Cables

Today, RG coax cables distribute cable TV signals and broadband internet in various residential and commercial applications. Some became significantly unpopular, while others were widely successful.


This cable can be used for satellite signal transmission, broadband internet, cable TV, and common utility applications. It is capable of handling high-frequency purposes and is small and flexible, enabling easy bending in domestic installations.

RG-6 cables feature an 18 AWG (American Wire Gauge) middle conductor for strong and clear signal quality, thick dielectric padding and superb shielding that protects sensitive components from damage by electric current.


RG-59 cables are thinner in padding, have a lighter-weight AWG middle conductor, and have lighter shielding than RG-6. Furthermore, the wire is made to produce frequencies under 50 MHz. Since they don’t offer high signal quality, they are ideal for shorter cable runs and CCTV.


The RG-316 has a 26 AWG middle conductor, so it offers half the attenuation and minimal signal loss compared to the RG-178. It features a 50 Ohm, making it ideal for data transmission. 

On the other hand, the RG-316/U has a smaller diameter and is notably flexible because of the stranded middle conductor. Furthermore, it has an FEP outer jacket that enables it to operate in temperatures of up to 2000C.

Factors to Consider When Buying RG Coaxial Cables

Here are some factors you should consider when buying RG coaxial cables.


You can refer to RG-# as RG-#/U; however, the ‘U’ doesn’t have an official designation. Some people say the ‘U’ stands for universal and others the type of jacket a cable has however, this isn’t always the case.

For all purposes and intents, the RG-6 and RG-6/U are the same. If you happen to need a specific type of jacket, make sure you confirm the cable specs 


Shielding helps prevent noise from interfering with your signal, preserving signal quality. Coax cables are normally available with two types of cable shielding: foil and braid. Most coax cables feature both, but some cables only use single shielding. Simply, the more shielding your cable features, the better performance you will get, especially if you have a long cable run. Keep in mind that there are differences in what each shielding protects against. 

  • Foil – it features a mylar or aluminum foil bonded to a dielectric underneath a metal braid. Therefore, making it effective at providing protection against high frequency EMI.
  • Braid—it is a collection of numerous wire strands braided outside a dielectric, which makes it effective at providing protection against low-frequency interference. Different cables use various types of braids, such as aluminum or copper braids. 

Furthermore, there are quad shielding cables that feature an additional layer of foil and braid shielding that provide better protection.

However, modern coax cables could use 95% braid to enjoy better performance without the additional weight of quad-shielded cables.

Foil Shielding Illustration

Foil Shielding Illustration

Signal Loss

Although shielding helps protect your cable’s signal from the effect of external signals, there’s still the issue of signal loss as a result of cable length.

Simply keep in mind the fact that the longer your cable runs, the higher the chances of signal loss. Therefore, it’s important to keep your cables as short as possible.

Cable Jacket

Below are the various cable jackets you should consider.

Outdoor and Direct Burial

If you plan on running your cables outside, you’ll need additional protection from the harsh weather and elements. Outdoor cabling has a special design that enables it to withstand harsh conditions.

Instead of a UV-treated PVC jacket, outdoor cabling comes with a polyethylene jacket. Its outdoor jacket makes it highly resistant to moisture, cutting, abrasion, chemicals, and cold weather.

When burying cables, moisture becomes a more challenging obstacle. Without additional moisture protection, contaminants and moisture risk seeping into your cables and corroding the conductors and shielding.

Direct burial cables come with a polyethylene jacket similar to outdoor cables; however, there’s the added advantage of a gel-like substance in the jacket blocking water and moisture from corroding conductors or damaging signals.

Plenum Rating

Plenum space is the space below your floors or above your ceiling that aids in air circulation. Such spaces are essential for air circulation in commercial buildings.

However, they bring problems if there’s ever a fire as a result of the high oxygen concentration and absence of air barriers.

If you use untreated cables in a plenum space, you risk fires spreading quickly and spreading toxic smoke throughout the entire building.

To prevent such problems, plenum cables have flame retardant coating and are constructed using certain plastics that don’t emit harmful smoke or smoke as much as various other plastics.

Ensure that all the cables you run in your plenum are plenum-rated.  


There you have it—all you need to know about RG coaxial cables. Now, whether you are looking to simply set up your cable TV or install surveillance cameras, you know the right cable to choose. For all your RG coaxial cable needs, contact Cloom Tech.

I am Lillian Yang, having been a sales manager for over 10 years.

I have received many positive reviews from customers. They have praised our excellent service, on-time delivery, and high-quality cable assemblies.

For your projects, please provide cable assembly files/images/smples, etc., so that I can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

Contact me now and let’s get started on building your wire harnesses!

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