Coaxial Cable

Definition of Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable is a type of transmission cable used in communication systems, consisting of a central conducting wire surrounded by an insulator and an outer protective shielding made of woven metal. The concentric alignment of conductors helps minimize signal interference, allowing efficient data transmission over long distances. Coaxial cables are commonly used for cable TV, internet connections, and other applications requiring high bandwidth and stable signal transfer.


The phonetics of the keyword “Coaxial Cable” is: /koʊˈæksiəl ˈkeɪbəl/

Key Takeaways

  1. Coaxial cable is a type of copper cable which features a central conductor surrounded by a dielectric insulator and a braided shield, providing efficient transmission of high-frequency signals while minimizing electromagnetic interference.
  2. These cables are commonly used in cable TV systems, closed-circuit television (CCTV), high-speed internet connections, and radio frequency transfer, due to their ability to maintain signal quality over long distances.
  3. Coaxial cables come in various types differing in impedance, capacity, and intended applications, such as RG-6 for residential broadband and video, and RG-59 for lower-frequency installations like analog video or radio equipment.

Importance of Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable is an important technological term because it refers to a type of cable extensively used in various communication and electronic applications, including television, internet, and radio frequency transmission.

Its unique design consists of an inner conductor surrounded by a tubular insulating layer, typically made of dielectric material, which is further enclosed by an outer conductive shielding layer.

This concentric structure significantly reduces external electromagnetic interference, ensuring clear signal quality and reliable data transmission.

Coaxial cables have been a critical backbone of our wired communication infrastructure for many decades, and their durability, efficiency, and relatively low cost have played a major role in advancing connectivity worldwide.


Coaxial cable, often abbreviated as coax, is a type of electrical cable primarily designed for the transmission of high-frequency signals, such as cable television, internet access, and radio signals. The primary purpose of using coaxial cable in these applications is due to its ability to efficiently transmit signals over long distances with minimal loss and interference.

This cable consists of a central conductor, typically made of copper, surrounded by an insulating layer, a metallic shielding layer, and finally covered by an outer protective sheath. The coaxial design allows the cable to confine the electromagnetic wave inside the cable, significantly reducing signal loss and ensuring a reliable, high-quality connection.

One notable characteristic of coaxial cable is its excellent resistance to interference from external sources, making it well-suited for various transmission systems that require a stable and uninterrupted signal. It has been widely used for decades in industries such as telecommunications, broadcasting, and networking due to its ability to carry analog and digital signals with a high level of clarity.

While alternative technologies like fiber-optic cables and wireless technology have grown increasingly popular, the coaxial cable remains an integral part of many communication networks. It offers an affordable and effective solution for distributing signals in residential, commercial, and industrial settings, ensuring seamless audio, video, and data transmission.

Examples of Coaxial Cable

Cable Television (CATV) Distribution: Coaxial cables have been the backbone of cable TV networks since their inception. These cables carry television signals from the broadcaster to the consumer’s residence, providing access to a wide variety of channels and programs. Coaxial cables ensure that the quality of the video and audio is maintained, limiting the degradation of signals as they travel over long distances.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Coaxial cables play a significant role in delivering high-speed internet services to homes and offices. They are used in both Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and Cable Internet services. ISPs use coaxial cables to transmit data at high speeds, ensuring a reliable and stable internet connection for their customers. These cables have also been used to distribute broadband signals in Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) networks that combine both optical fibers and coaxial cables for data transmission.

Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) Systems: Coaxial cables are widely used for transmitting video data in closed-circuit television systems. These systems are commonly found in security installations, such as surveillance cameras in offices, retail stores, and public spaces. Coaxial cables connect the cameras to the monitoring and recording equipment, ensuring the transmission of high-quality video signals with minimal interference from external sources. This allows security personnel to effectively monitor activities and identify potential issues in real-time.

Coaxial Cable FAQ

What is a coaxial cable?

A coaxial cable is a type of transmission line used for transmitting high-frequency signals over long distances with low interference. It consists of an inner conductor surrounded by an insulating material, which is encased by a metallic shield or outer conductor. The shield protects the signal from outside interference and also minimizes signal leakage.

What are the common uses of coaxial cables?

Coaxial cables are commonly used for transmitting signals in various applications, such as cable television, broadband internet, closed-circuit television (CCTV), radio frequency (RF) communications, and microwave transmission systems.

What are the different types of coaxial cables?

There are several types of coaxial cables, such as RG-6, RG-11, RG-59, and RG-58. The main differences between these types are their dimensions, impedance, and signal attenuation. Each type has its specific use case and is suitable for specific applications.

How do you connect coaxial cables to devices?

Coaxial cables are usually connected to devices with specific connectors, such as F-connectors, BNC connectors, or SMA connectors. To make a proper connection, strip the end of the coaxial cable, insert the connector and use a specialized crimping tool or compression tool to secure the connector onto the cable. Then, the connector can be screwed or plugged into the receiving device, depending on the connector type.

How do you choose the right coaxial cable for your needs?

To choose the right coaxial cable for your needs, consider factors such as cable length, type, impedance, shielding, and signal loss. Determine the specific requirements of your application and compare the available coaxial cables based on their specifications. It’s also essential to make sure that the connectors on each end of the cable are compatible with the devices you intend to connect.

Related Technology Terms

  • Signal Transmission
  • RF (Radio Frequency) Connectors
  • BNC (Bayonet Neill-Concelman) Connector
  • Impedance
  • Shielding

Sources for More Information


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