When you're setting up your cell phone signal booster or many other common household communication devices, you may come across a particular cable that seems different and distinct from the rest. This cable is likely a coax or coaxial cable and helps devices connect to systems that require radio or satellite frequency transmissions. SureCall Boosters is here today with a helpful guide to coaxial cables for cell phone boosters. We’ll discuss what coax cables are, how they work, the different kinds, and their practical applications.
What Are Coaxial Cables?
Coax cables act as a transmission line between radio frequency signals. While most cables are about providing power or electrical current, coax cables help connect and move these radio signals from one point to another.
What Does a Coaxial Cable Look Like?
Coaxial cables often look different from most normal wires or cords. You've probably seen one if you've ever hooked up your television to a cable box or designated cable outlet called "coaxial outlets." Coax cables are often long and round and have a screw top on the end to help connect them to the coaxial outlet. One of the most common identifiers of a coax cable is one thin metal piece sticking out of the end that slides into a narrow hole.
How Do Coaxial Cables Work?
For coax cables to work, each cable has four main components to help create its distinct structure. At the center of the coax cable is the center core, a thin wire, usually copper, and this is what the radio signals and data transfer through. Without the center core, you have nothing to connect directly to either port and nothing to carry the signal.
Surrounding the center core is a thin layer called the dielectric plastic insulator. The primary purpose of this insulator is to create enough physical space so that the center core doesn’t interfere with the external layers. This plastic wrap also provides some necessary insulation and makes it safer to use.
On the outside of the plastic insulator is a thin metal shield that generally helps prevent interference from conflicting electrical impulses or radio transmissions. The metal shield is often woven metal, which creates a crisscross pattern out of copper, aluminum, or other similar metals. Then the final external layer is a sturdy plastic that makes the cable safe to handle, more flexible, and helps protect it from any damage. Frequently, this plastic layer is a neutral color like black or white.
The Different Types of Coaxial Cables
There are two main types of coaxial cables: RG and LMR cables. RG stands for "radio guide," and these are the original applications for coax cables. These cables come in several different models, with the number following "RG" representing the cable's diameter. For example, an RG-6 is between six and seven millimeters. The RG-6 is generally the most common coax cable for household use and the one people have the most experience with.
Those with larger systems or more technical equipment may need an RG-8 or an RG-11. For industrial use or CCTV applications, some may even use an RG-59. While not always, a larger number on an RG cable typically indicates a slimmer central conductor.
The other common type of coax cable is the LMR cable. LMR cables are newer and are typically less expensive, more flexible, and practical for just as many uses as older RG cables. LMR cables also use numbers to indicate thickness, such as the LMR-200, LMR-400, and LMR-1700.
If you ever need more information on what type of coax cable you have, you should check the exterior plastic coating for lettering. The markings on the cable’s exterior often reveal everything you need to know about the cable, including the type, size, model, and manufacturer.
Uses for Coaxial Cables
Both professional industries and personal homeowners utilize coaxial cables since they’re the best way to connect, send, and distribute radio or video signals between devices. Here are a few of their most common uses and how you may incorporate them in your career field or daily life.
If you have any sort of cable TV package, you need to connect your TV to the coaxial outlet. This cable allows the cable company to send data directly to your TV. In some situations, you may need to connect the TV through another external device, such as a cable box or personal antenna.
We often talk about how there are multiple components to a signal booster. For example, you have the main booster, internal, and an outdoor cellular antenna to help amplify the signal. The truth is that you need coaxial cables to connect all three of these devices together. The coax cables transmit the data picked up from the antennas and allow you to enjoy steady, stronger, and more reliable cellular service in your home, office, or vehicle.
Much like your television, many cable companies also offer high-speed internet. Most routers have ports that allow you to connect through either an ethernet or a coaxial cable port. Many cable companies utilize coax cables since they run from the same source as the television. Your computer likely receives wireless signals from your router, but a direct connection often provides faster and more stable internet access.
Advantages of Coaxial Cables
Coax cables have several distinct advantages, which is why we regularly use them. Some of their benefits are that the cables are generally inexpensive and easy to obtain. Installing a coaxial cable is as simple as plugging it into the device and often screwing it in place with the connector. In addition, coax cables are durable, reliable, flexible, and incredibly useful for transmitting signals.
Disadvantages of Coaxial Cables
While coaxial cables have many benefits, the most significant downside is that they can take out the entire network if they fail. Something as minor as a faulty or bent center core may cause your entire system to crash. If something isn’t connected as it should be, we recommend checking the coax cables first for any issues.
If you enjoyed this guide to coaxial cables for cell phone boosters, we recommend learning more about what Sure Call Boosters has to offer. We have several helpful products and cables to ensure that you maintain a reliable cell signal. We also provide practical guides to help you stay connected in urban and rural areas. For more information, please feel free to contact us any time via email at Sales@SureCallBoosters.ca.