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What are Coaxial Cables?

by Tim

In a world where technology has given us the ability to reach the far ends of the globe, the key is cabling. The right cable might not jump out as a critical element, but it might be the most important factor in gaining connectivity.

Coaxial cables are among the most commonly used cables out there. In this guide, we will take a deeper look at what these cables are and what they bring to the table.

What is a Coaxial Cable?

While it is easy to just make a few clicks and have a variety of network cables from a vendor like RS, it helps to know what they are in the first place. Also known as a coax cable, this electrical cable transmits radio frequency (RF) signals from one device to another. In all forms of technology, that is a must-have feature.

Coax cables have actually been around for a long time. They were initially used to connect satellites to businesses and homes, cable boxes and other entertainment devices to televisions, and so much more. Coax cables are currently used for a litany of computer-related installations and applications.

How do Coax Cables Work?

One of the biggest reasons to choose a coax cable is because of the shielded design. This allows the conductor to transmit data over short distances very quickly while also providing additional protection from interference and damage. These cables carry data through the center conductor and, because of the protection from electromagnetic interference, are able to do so without hindered signal quality.

The first layer, which is known as the dielectric, is what provides a bit of distance between the outer layers and the core conductor. There is some insulation involved as well. The next layers, which are known as the shield, are what keep radio transmissions and electric impulses. It isn’t the most complex construction but comes together to create an essential form of cabling.

The Pros and Cons of Coax Cables

There are a variety of reasons why homes and businesses alike use coax cables. For starters, these are some of the most inexpensive cables you will find. Even if one gets damaged, finding a replacement won’t take much out of your budget. At the end of the day, cost winds up being an important factor in just about everything.

Coax cables are also very easy to install. The nut on the end of the connector easily twists over the receptor on the device it is being attached to. Even homeowners who are not technologically literate can install a coax cable with no second thought. These cables are also quite good at transferring data, up to 10Mbps depending on the quality of cable and the length of transmission.

As far as downsides, there really is only one. The main disadvantage is that just one cable failure has the capability to take down an entire network. This doesn’t happen often, but it can be a major issue when it does arise.

The Main Uses of Coaxial Cables

Even if you were not sure of the name of these cables, there is a great chance that you have seen or used one before. The most common application is connecting devices – like cable boxes – to televisions. There is also a high-definition version (RG-11) that has a higher gauge than the average coax cable.

Coax cables are also used for internet connections. Cable internet goes right into the cable jack located in the wall. The large conductor provides great signal quality, which is ideal for any internet connection. There are other uses but those are easily the most common.

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