Coaxial cable is one of the oldest and most well-known types of cables, having been in use for over a century. Like ethernet, coax cables are available in both stranded and solid versions, even though they are generally solid. Exclusively a few kinds of coax, namely RG58 and RG8, are available as stranded. Coaxial cables fall into one of two categories; LMR and RG.
Radio Guide cables are identified with the number formerly standing for the diameter of the cable. While these measurements have varied over the years, the names of the cables have stuck.
What are RG Cables?
Radio Guide, also known as RG cables, stands for a term used in military communications during World War II. RG cables are a popular kind of coaxial cable found in a wide range of industrial, commercial, and residential applications and purposes. While they have several different uses, RG cables are most commonly known as the cables utilized to distribute cable television and broadband internet signals.
Depending on their designed purpose, Radio Guide cable designs can vary in the dielectric, jacket type, shielding, and middle conductor. Listed below are some of the most popular types of RG wires and their characterizing attributes.
Most Common Types of Radio Guide Cables
RG-6: RG-6 cable, usually known as RG-6/U (Utility) cable, is the standard cable for cable television (CATV), broadband internet, satellite signal transmission, and “common utility use.” Well adapted for high-frequency (above 50MHz) purposes, these small, flexible cables can be quickly bent for domestic installations.
RG-6 cable includes an 18 American Wire Gauge (AWG) middle conductor for clear and strong signal quality and thick dielectric padding and superior shielding to protect sensitive devices from being damaged by electric current.
RG-59: Composed of a lighter-weight AWG middle conductor and thinner padding and shielding than RG-6 coaxial cable, RG-59 wire is designed to produce frequencies below 50MHz. Since its signal quality is not as high, RG-59 cables are especially recommended for short runs and CCTV (closed-circuit television) transmission, including security cameras and video surveillance.
Plenum: Created for plenum spaces (the open spaces over ceilings and under floors that help heating and cooling system airflow), plenum cables need unique construction licensed by the National Fire Protection Association standard NFPA 90A for fire security.
These wires are jacketed with flame-retardant plastic, regularly low-smoke fluorinated ethylene polymer (FEP), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to reduce smoking in the case of a fire. This slows down the spreading of dangerous black smoke through air ducts and other parts of a structure.
RG316: RG316 is a substitute for RG178. RG316 is two times bigger than the RG178 at 26 AWG, giving it half the attenuation and cutting down on signal loss. This coaxial cable has a 50 Ohm, which makes it perfect for data transmission. RG316/U has a small diameter (0.098″ nominal), is notably flexible because of its stranded middle conductor and has an FEP outer jacket that lends it an operating temperature of up to 200°C.
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