What are coax cables? What are coax cables used for?
Network operators, telephone companies, and internet providers may use coax or coaxial cables to transfer data, video, and voice communications to customers worldwide. Coax cables have several advantages, so it is extremely popular in certain applications such as broadcast and satellite TV.
In this article, we will explain what coax cables are and what coax cables are used for. So, keep reading if you are interested in finding out more about coaxial cable and its typical applications.
What are coax cables?
A coax or coaxial cable is a special type of network cable that comes with a copper conductor, an insulator shielding the copper conductor, and a braided metal mesh that prevents signal interference.
Furthermore, all three layers are again covered by a protective plastic layer to provide extra safety to the cable. You will generally find coaxial cables connecting televisions to an aerial since they are primarily used for video and audio purposes, both free-to-air and pay TV. In the past, coax was used to connect VCRs for home entertainment but this has largely been replaced by HDMI connectivity or wireless technology such as Smart TVs and streaming services.
The most common types of coaxial cable available are RG-6, RG-11 and RG-59. RG stands for Radio Guide. RG-11 cable has a larger diameter than other types of coax cable, but is able to transmit data across longer distances due to the lower attenuation that this type of cable offers.
Layers of a coax cable
A coax cable has four separate layers, including the central conductor, insulator, braided mesh, and the outer protective plastic layer. Some coaxial cables also include a foil layer for added protection.
The core of a coax cable contains a copper or copper-clad steel conductor, which is used to transmit the signal. Surrounding the central core, you will find a dielectric plastic insulation layer which provides insulation to the copper conductor.
The dielectric plastic or the insulation layer is again enclosed within a braided mesh of copper that shields the signal from electromagnetic interference.
Finally, the cable is enclosed within an external polymer layer. The outer plastic layer protects the three internal layers and provides extra safety to the coaxial cable.
Now, let's move on to the main applications of a coax cable.
What are coax cables used for?
In this section, we will look at the primary applications of a coax cable. If you come across these applications in your day-to-day work, you would most likely be using some form of coax cable.
Primary applications of a coax cable
- The coax cables can carry internet signals where a satellite system is being used. The coaxial cables would run between the satellite dish and the switch to supply internet to your device.
- You can use coaxial cables as feed lines for connecting radio transmitters and receivers with antennas.
- You can use coax cables in CCTV systems. In CCTV systems, you can use RG-6 or other RG-X (Radio Guide) coaxial cables.
- Coax cables are used for video transmission. The RG-6 coax cables are used to get better digital signals, whereas the RG-59 coax cables help in the low loss transmission of video signals.
- You can also use a coax cable to connect televisions to an aerial. You will typically find RG-6 coaxial cables, but RG-11 coax cables can also be used for higher transmission rates but is much larger in diameter and costs are far higher.
You should now have an understanding of what a coax cable is and where you would typically find one in your home or workplace. While there are several types of coaxial cable available, they have difference characteristics that may make them more suited to a specific application. Make sure you consult an experienced professional or the manufacturer’s guidelines before you choose the coaxial cable that’s right for you.
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