In the modern age, coaxial cables are small but crucial components that aid our enjoyment of television, film and everything made possible by the internet. They’ve been around since the early 20th century – and while they may eventually be surpassed in some cases by wireless signals and fiber optic cable, they’re still vital for transmitting information accurately and reliably. So how do they work?
Coaxial cables feature an inner conductor that’s surrounded by a conducting shield, with a dielectric separating the two. This design allows these cables to transmit data quickly while resisting interference or environmental damage.
Below, read our top tips on selecting and installing your coaxial cables correctly.
Understand the different types
There are many different types of coaxial cable, with the three most common sizes being RG-6, RG-11 and RG-59. RG stands for radio guide, with the numbers referring to the diameter of the cable.
Coaxial cables also come with different connectors. Read more about the various types of coaxial cables and how they’re specified.
Care for your coaxial cable
Firstly, it’s wise to choose a coaxial cable from a reputable electronics company and not an unknown quantity. Once you have your component, make sure to roll it out carefully by sliding a section through the centre of the spool.
If your cable twists as it unravels, there’s a risk it will kink.
What to avoid
There are a couple of installation no-nos to bear in mind, like avoiding forcing your cable into sharp bends. If it’s unavoidable, behind a TV stand for example, a 90-degree adapter will prevent serious damage.
Second, leave the foil in place after stripping the cable but peel back the braid without touching the centre conductor. This could cause a ‘stinger’, which will affect your signal quality.
Use a stripping tool
You could try stripping your cable with a knife, but there’s no guarantee of success. Deploy a stripping tool instead to help you work faster and more accurately.
One blade of your tool will cut the jacket of your cable without hitting the braid, while the other will cut through everything but the inner conductor.
Use a compression connector
Compression cable connectors tend to provide the most reliable connection and transmission as opposed to push-on, screw-on or crimp-on connectors. You’ll need a crimping tool to install them, however.
Depending on where and why you’re installing coaxial cable, there are a few extra checks for sound installation. That includes making sure your cable is electrically bonded to your home’s grounding system – potentially with the help of a qualified electrician.
If installing outside, you should loop the cable before it enters your home to help rainwater run off. Read this handy guide on installing coaxial cable outdoors.
With the above tips in mind, you should be guaranteed strong and reliable transmission.