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Understanding Coaxial Cables: An In-Depth Overview

Understanding Coaxial Cables: An In-Depth Overview

Written by Sadia Jahangir
31st Dec, 2022

What is coaxial cable?

Transmission lines for electricity are coaxial cables. With the minimal signal loss, they transmit high-frequency signals from one location to another. They can be used for phone lines, cable TV, the internet, cell boosters, and many other things. There are numerous lengths and sizes of cables, each made for a particular purpose.

You need to know how coax cables are made before we can talk about how they work. The image above identifies four primary components:

  • Core
  • Dielectric Insulator
  • Shield
  • Jacket (Rubber Wrapper)

A single copper or copper-coated steel wire serves as the core of coaxial cables. The high-frequency signals are carried by it. The wire is surrounded by a dielectric insulator, typically made of plastic. It maintains a constant distance between the next layer and the center conductor.

The insulator is surrounded by a metal shield, which is made of woven copper, aluminum, or other metals. It blocks electromagnetic interference from the outside. A rubber wrapper or jacket that insulates the configuration as a whole is the final layer.

In order to shield the wires from moisture and sunlight, outdoor-rated cables require additional insulation and specialized jackets.


How does a coaxial cable function?

Coaxial cables simultaneously transmit signals through the center wire and metal shield. A magnetic field is created as a result. The insulator prevents the signals from colliding with one another and canceling out. Additionally, it shields the signal from electromagnetic interference from the outside.

Consequently, signal transmission over extended distances is possible without loss or interference. The signal is then transformed into Wi-Fi, audio, images, or amplified cell reception, depending on your application.

What are the Applications and Uses of Coaxial Cables?

Internet service providers, telephone companies, and cable operators all make use of coaxial cable. Applications that necessitate radio frequency transmissions, such as:

  • It is used to transmit video and data from the cable company to your television if you have cable television. They can also be connected to a personal antenna by connecting a digital converter box or television.
  • Bftsync is the most well-known manufacturer of signal boosters for mobile phones. They make use of an amplifier, an indoor antenna, and an outdoor antenna. The three parts are connected by coaxial cables. It also gets around anything that blocks signals. You can make your weak outside cell signal stronger inside your home, office, or vehicle with this technology.
  • Copper-based cable internet connects your home to the internet through coax cables. The cable service provider pipes the copper-based cable into your home. To receive the signal, your coax or Ethernet outlet is connected to your router or cable modem. For quick internet access, you can then connect your devices via Wi-Fi or wire them to the router.
  • People can communicate over the airwaves using a ham radio. Stronger signals are provided by the antenna’s coaxial cable. Ham radios don’t need the internet or a cell phone and can be set up in the middle of nowhere.
  • When an alternating current pass through a conductive material, RF (Radio Frequency) waves are produced. Signals are carried by radio frequency coax cables. Any RF system can be used with them.

Are Coax Cables of the Same Quality?

Although all coaxial cables transmit signals, not all of them are the same. Size, material, and shielding of coaxial cables are all different. There are specific applications for which each type of coax cable is ideal.

Common Coaxial Cable Types

There are numerous varieties of coaxial cable available. The one with the most desirable qualities will be the subject of your application. Some common types include:

  1. The first military cable specification was RG, which stands for Radio Guide. The characteristics and specifications of the cable are distinguished by the RG number.
  2. The newest generation of RF coaxial cables is LMR®. They are less expensive, easier to set up and offer more adaptability. Antennas on missiles, aircraft, satellites and communications use them as transmission lines.

What Kinds of Coaxial Cables Are There?

Everything you need to know can be found printed on the cable jacket in the form of numbers and letters. The manufacturer, type, and rating of the cable, among other details.

Coaxial Cable Signal Loss (Per 10 Feet)

Coaxial cables of any kind can result in signal loss. The signal loses energy as it moves through the cable. It has to happen. Signal loss gets worse as the length of the cable goes up. The exponential gain and loss of a signal are measured in decibels (dB).A loss of 3 dB results in a 2x weaker signal!

The Wilson400 and the equally powerful RG-11 have the lowest loss per 10 feet, as shown in the image. When compared to the RG-6, it is nearly twice as efficient for home installations. The only cable that is stronger is the more expensive Half-Inch and the LG600.

Any appliance that requires more than six feet of cable should never have the RG-174 installed. At 10 feet, it fails to transmit signals well. The loss of signal doesn’t end there. Signal loss can be exacerbated by combining 50 Ohm and 75 Ohm cables and systems (more on this later).Connectors and adapters can be used to customize your installation, but it’s best to stay consistent.

Use an online calculator to figure out how much you should expect to lose. The QSL Loss Calculator is one example. We don’t specifically support this one. The loss will be calculated in a matter of seconds after you fill in the blanks. There are numerous web-based adding machines you can use as well as recipes for manual estimation.

Important Features of a Coaxial Cable to Consider Before Buying

Coaxial Cable Length and Thickness

There are various lengths and thicknesses of coaxial cable. The strength of the transmitted signal will be determined by these characteristics.

When sending a signal over long distances, there is more loss the longer the cable, as previously mentioned. Since the loss of thicker cable is lower than that of thinner cable, it is ideal for long cable runs. The shortest and thickest cable appropriate for your application will provide the best transmission.

The length of the cable in radio systems is comparable to the wavelength of the signals that are transmitted. You can investigate the mathematics involved in selecting the most suitable cable length. The quality of the wavelength that travels through your cable is influenced by a variety of characteristics of the cable, including the outside diameter of the inner conductor, the inside diameter of the shield, the dielectric contact of the insulator, and the magnetic permeability of the insulator.

Coaxial Cable and dBm

dBm indicates the strength of your signal. The amount of dBm that your cable can handle is determined by the type of coaxial cable used.

Coaxial Cable Impedance (Ohms)

The amount of resistance that waves encounter when traversing the coaxial cable is known as its impedance. Waves flow more easily through a cable with a lower impedance. The impedance rating of a cable varies by type. This is influenced by the cable’s size and materials. The typical impedances for coax are 50 and 75 Ohms. These impedance ratings were found to be an excellent compromise between low loss and power handling during testing.

What distinguishes cables with 50 versus 75 Ohms? This analogy may be useful. Cables are like straws and signal is like a drink.75 Ohm links are your commonplace soft drink straws, and 50 Ohm links are gigantic straws. Although signal transmission is improved with 50 Ohm cables, this does not necessitate them.

For applications requiring high power handling, 50 Ohm cables typically work best. Ham radios, broadcasting TV transmitters, and commercial boosters are all possibilities. For home and office applications, 75 Ohm cables are a popular option. They are installed in things like internet routers, cable TV boxes, and residential signal boosters. These general guidelines do not apply to all cable types.

Avoid combining 50 Ohm and 75 Ohm cables and systems when selecting cable. To prevent additional signal loss, you should aim to use the same impedance throughout.

Coaxial Cable and PIM

Passive Intermodulation is spelled PIM. Nonlinear elements are created when two metals are connected, which can cause signal distortion.

The effects will be more pronounced the higher the amplitude of the signal. Connecting antennas, cables, and connectors frequently results in this. Cellular networks are the most common location for PIM issues. Low-PIM cables, connectors, and adapters can help reduce PIM issues.

Coaxial Cable Connectors

The cable has connectors on both ends. They are made to keep the cable’s integrity while it transmits signals. Typically, they are plated with high-connectivity metals like silver or gold that resist tarnish. The sort of connector you really want relies upon what you are associating with.

Male or female connectors can be standard or reverse polarized.

There are threads and a pin on the inside of the shell of standard polarized male connectors. On the other hand, standard polarized female connectors do not have a pin but rather threads inside the shell. In connectors with reverse polarity, the hole and pin are switched. As such, the female connector has the pin, and the male connector has the opening.

A coax cable adapter is the only way to connect male to female or female to male, which also results in signal loss. The quality of an adapter will determine how much signal it can attenuate.

Make sure your device has a working plug to prevent unnecessary signal loss. You need a standard male plug if it’s a standard female, and vice versa. It’s best to start with a coaxial cable that has the right connector.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable, like all electrical equipment, has benefits and drawbacks.


  • Durable
  • Good electromagnetic interference resistance
  • Affordable
  • Easy to customize and expand
  • Easy to wire and install


  • It can be bulky and an eyesore if not hidden
  • Expensive to professionally install for long runs
  • Cable failure can cause your entire network to go down
  • Fragile

Which Coaxial Cable Should I Select?

There are numerous factors to consider when selecting the best coax cable for your application.

Which apparatus are you using? A different cable might be needed for a cell booster than for a satellite dish. Is it going to be installed outside or inside? Different applications necessitate various cable ratings.

Reference different link types to see which ones will work best with your gadget. Select the one with the necessary impedance, rating, and connectors.

The distance between your transmitter and receiver needs to be determined next. For instance, the distance between a cable box or amplifier and an outdoor antenna. Your cable ought to be close to the distance you calculated because shorter cable runs result in clearer signals. Nothing excessively short or long.

When traveling any distance, signal loss is inevitable. A thinner cable will have less loss than a thicker one, and a cable that is shorter will have less loss than a cable that is longer. Your application and your devices will determine your acceptable loss. Impedances must match across cables and devices to reduce loss.

Keep in mind that there are a number of online calculators you can use to calculate loss.

How can we assist?

The top seller of cell phone signal boosters is Bftsync. For use in the house, workplace, or automobile, cell phone boosters amplify 5G, 4G, LTE, and more for any phone with any carrier.

We detest dropped calls and inadequate coverage, thus our mission in life is to eradicate spotty signal one satisfied customer at a time:

  • Contact our US-based customer service at for a free consultation (ask us anything) or give us a call at 1-281-616-5786.
  • Free delivery.
  • Better signal or receive a 90-day money back guarantee.
  • All of our items come with a 2-year guarantee and lifetime technical support because we want everyone to be happy.

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