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Variations in Coaxial Cables
Last Updated: 01/31/2017
  • RG59/U


  • RG6/U


  • RG6/U Quad Shield

    RG6/U Quad Shield

  • RG11/U



Coaxial cable is a two conductor cable consisting of a center conductor (usually copper; may be solid or stranded) surrounded by a foamed dielectric insulator, one or more layers of shielding and an overall outer jacket. The shielding, which may be a copper or aluminum braid and/or an aluminum foil, acts as a ground conductor and as a shield against interference.

Application(Common Types):

RG59 - Standard analog audio/video, 75O radio frequency, Closed Circuit TV, HD CCTV

RG6 - Community Antenna Television, Closed Circuit TV, Master Antenna, Direct Broadcast Satellite, Broadband

RG11 - Community Antenna Television, HDTV, Closed Circuit TV, Master Antenna, Direct Broadcast Satellite, Broadband

Installation Considerations:

Foil shielding, which provides 100% coverage, is effective against both EMI and RFI. Braided shielding works particularly well against EMI; RFI will be reduced with tight or high percentage braids. Foil and braid combinations offer the best overall shielding option.

RG11 provides a stronger signal, longer distance and lower loss than either RG59 or RG6.

Solid conductor is commonly used for permanent or stationary installations. Stranded conductor will hold up better to bending and is therefore often used in installations where the cable may be moved or flexed on an ongoing basis (i.e. pan/tilt security cameras).

To avoid shorts, care should be taken to ensure that the shielding does not come into contact with the center conductor when installing the connector.

Common Options:

  • Tri shield (foil / braid / foil)

  • Quad shield (foil / braid / foil / braid)

  • Plenum, Non-plenum, Riser

  • Dual or Siamese consisting of a coax cable and a power cable

  • Gel-filled or flooded for outdoor, water resistant applications

  • RG8(50 Ohm) commonly used for shortwave, scanner antenna

  • RG62(92 Ohm) commonly used for Arcnet networks

  • RG58(50 Ohm) commonly used for shortwave, scanner antenna

  • LMR commonly used for low loss communication applications

Popular Manufacturers:

Related industry Terms/Acronyms:

  • RG – Radio Guide (obsolete military designation referring to application)

  • CCTV - Closed Circuit Television (security)

  • CATV - Community Antenna Television (a.k.a. cable TV)

  • Impedance - electrical resistance to the flow of a current as measured in Ohms

  • Ohm - unit of measure of the electrical resistance to the flow of a current

  • Attenuation - decrease of a signal’s strength as it relates to distance traveled

  • EMI - electromagnetic interference from a source that is external to the cable, such as an electrical cable or device

  • RFI - radio frequency interference from an external source

  • F-Type – connector most often used in cable and satellite TV and antenna applications. The connector uses a coupling thread to lock onto the port

  • Plenum – plenum-rated cable has a special insulation that has low-smoke and low-flame characteristics. Plenum rated cable is mandated to be installed in any plenum (air handling space).

  • Riser - riser-rated cable will not have the plenum characteristics, so the cost will be lower making it more cost-effective when installing in non-plenum areas (such as vertically between floors – hence “Riser” terminology).

Comparison Chart:

Cable Jacket

RG59/U RG6/U RG11/U
Gauge 20 18 14
Impedance 75 Ohms 75 Ohms 75 Ohms
Attenuation >RG6 >RG11 Lowest loss

See Also:

Further References:

  • Coleman Cable
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.)
  • ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
  • TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association)
  • EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance)


What does the “A” (B or C) after the RG numbers on my cable indicate?

Coaxial cable usually follows a standard abbreviation nomenclature such as RG6/U where RG is Radio Guide, 6 is the approval number and U indicates a universal spec. When an additional letter follows the approval number it indicates a revision. In this case RG6A/U would supersede RG6/U.

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