Custom Coaxial Cable Assemblies: Everything you need to know About

Today’s businesses rely increasingly on the internet to conduct external and internal operations, whether communicating with clients or shipping large orders. Sometimes, you encounter slow upload and download speeds, even with a fast internet connection. Custom coaxial cable assemblies help you.

What are Coaxial Cables?

A coaxial cable, sometimes known as a coax cable, transmits electrical signals from one point to another. It has a conductor and a conducting shield; a dielectric insulator separates both components. There is an outer protective jacket to prevent damage to the signal-carrying components during installation or environmental stresses. Coaxial refers to the concentric geometrical arrangement where the outer shield and the inner conductor have the same axis. 

Whereas standard cables are made up of wires (one or more) to pass electric current, coaxial cables pass radio frequency signals as transverse electromagnetic waves.

These cables have a wide range of applications, such as connecting radio transmitters and receivers to their antenna cables and transmitting digital audio (S/PDIF). In addition, you can also use them in computer networks (e.g., Ethernet), to connect telephone trunk lines, to provide broadband internet access, and in cable television networks.

Compared to other transmission lines, coaxial lines have the advantage of precision and constant spacing between conductors, which is vital for efficient operation. Even if you install coaxial cables next to metal objects, the cable will not experience any power loss. That is because the electromagnetic field is only present between the inner and outer conductors in an ideal coaxial cable.

coaxial cable

Caption: coaxial cable

Construction of Coaxial Cables

The construction prevents external electromagnetic interference. Let’s see how.

A central conductor wire

As mentioned above, the conductor at the center is a thin wire, mostly solid or stranded copper, sometimes silver-plated, if the application needs a better high-frequency performance.

Insulation

The dielectric layer surrounding the conductor comprises insulating materials such as solid plastic or foam plastic. Cable assemblies with lower loss use solid polyethylene (PE) insulators, while cables with plenum ratings use solid Teflon (PTFE). In some coaxial lines, the inner conductor is separated from the shield with air or gas.

A grounded shield

A shield layer surrounds the insulator with a metal foil shield or braided copper mesh, sometimes both. Braided cables showcase many gaps. The outer metal shield layer is grounded to disperse ground loops and capacitive field noise away from the inner core of conductive elements. For better shield performance, some cables come with a double-layer or quad shield (four alternating layers of foil and braid) or are silver-plated. Cables with shields are less flexible.

An outer insulating jacket

Finally, an insulating jacket encloses the coaxial cable assembly. 

coaxial cable with connectors

Caption: coaxial cable with connectors

Coaxial Cable Connectors

A coaxial cable connector at the end of the coaxial cable often maintains a coaxial form across the connection and has the same impedance as the cable. Cable connectors come with high-conductivity metal platings such as silver or tarnish-resistant gold. 

The connectors help maintain the shielding and minimize the change in transmission line impedance at the connection to reduce signal reflection and power loss. Similarly, coaxial connectors prevent external signals from entering the circuit through electromagnetic interference and capacitive pickup.

coaxial cables with electric board

Caption: coaxial cables with electric board

Coaxial cable standards

There are more than 50 different coaxial cable standards in use today. These cable specifications meet specific application requirements and customer demands, such as amateur radio or low-loss cable television. 

The most commonly found impedance values are 50, 52, 75, or 93 ohms. You will find the standard types of coaxial cables in the form of RG-#U or RG-#, where RG stands for Radio Guide and U stands for Universal. The cable type varies with gauge (cable thickness) and impedance. Earlier, these RG series designations were for military uses, but they are now so common that they are still in use.

RG-59/U (broadband cables for closed-circuit TV systems) and RG-214/U (high-frequency signal transmission) are common. Many industries have adopted RG6 cables since they are useful in cable television and home video applications.

Coax cable types

According to the construction, you can also divide them into the following.

Hardline coaxial cable

Hardline coaxial cables have a larger diameter than others and are beneficial for the high-speed transmission of signals. The cable uses round copper tubing and a combination of metals like aluminum or copper as a shield. Hardline cables connect a transmitter to an antenna.

Flexible coaxial cable

As the name suggests, flexible coaxial cables can move and bend as per the geometry and configuration of the application. Flexible coaxial cables are familiar to anyone with home video and television equipment.

Radiating coaxial cable

The wiring of radiating cables is similar to that of hard-line cables, but they have slots cut into their shields that are tuned to the band they have to operate. You will mostly find these types of cables in areas where it is difficult to install an antenna, for example, inside elevator shafts, warships, and underground tunnels.

Rigid coaxial cable

Cables with rigid coaxial connections have two concentrically mounted copper tubes supported by PTFE supports or disk insulators at fixed intervals across their length. Note that rigid coaxial cables need standard connectors like elbows as you can’t bend them. So, you would need a flange for interconnection purposes.

Semi-rigid coaxial cable

Semi-rigid cables use a solid copper outer sheath that imparts superior shielding compared to braided cables. However, though not very flexible, the semi-rigid cables offer enhanced high-frequency performance.

Twinaxial coaxial cable

Twinaxial cables have two central conductors instead of one. In addition to reducing cable loss and ground loops, twin axial cable offers enhanced protection from capacitive fields and low-frequency electromagnetic noise. They are best suited for low-frequency digital and video applications.

Triaxial coaxial cable

Triaxial coaxial cables have an additional copper braid that acts as a shield and protects the cable from electromagnetic interference from outside sources. Generally, cables with triaxial connectors offer increased bandwidth and interference rejection, improved signal-to-noise ratios, and reduced cable losses and loading compared to coaxial cables.

Coaxial cable uses

  • Video: The most common use of coaxial cables is connecting VCRs to a television or other electronic devices. Both RG-59 and RG6 can transmit digital video signals.
  • Television: Coaxial cables should ideally be 75 Ohms; RG6 coaxial cable is the best for domestic TV setups.
  • HDTV: Coaxial assemblies with a higher gauge, like RG-11, make it capable of transferring strong HD faster. So, they are common in distributing CATV, HDTV, and CCTV signals.
  • Internet connections: Coaxial cables can also carry cable signals of higher frequency signals like internet connections and cable modems. RG6 cables fulfill this requirement.
  • CCTV: Another use of coaxial cables is remote monitoring via CCTV. You can also live broadcast an event from one location to another.
  • Wireless devices: The coax cables can transmit data or signals between an antenna and a receiver – for example, between a satellite dish and a satellite receiver, between a television antenna and a television receiver, or between a radio mast and a radio receiver.

Benefits of custom coaxial cable assembly

You can find radio frequency cable assemblies in various coaxial cable types, which can be standard or customized. Custom coax cable assemblies will:

  • Be easy to use: The RF coaxial cable assemblies are either a male or female connector with a straight or right angle, bulkhead, or other options. The connector types available are 1.85mm, 1.0mm, 2.92mm, 10-32, 2.4mm, 7/16 DIN, 4.1/9.5 Mini DIN, Mini SMP, BNC, F, MCX, MMCX, Mini UHF, N, RCA, QMA, SMB, SMA, SMP, SMC, SSMB, SSMA, UHF, SSMC, U.FL, TNC, and UMCX. Connectors for Radio Frequency cable assemblies are available in many sizes and types.
  • Ensure reliability and performance: You can customize your coaxial cable assemblies to fit any application; for example, we can design any cable, including RG braided cables, micro coax, semi-rigid cable, custom radio frequency cables manufactured for vendors, LMR types, and hand-conformed cables that can hold up against any challenging environment.
  • Enhance strength and durability: Overmolding provides additional strength and strain relief against external elements and improves pull strength, flexibility, and durability.
  • Meet RF requirements: Customized coax cable assembly solutions are easy to meet RF requirements and can be used in the most challenging situations. 

Conclusion

A coax cable internet connection is the best business access option, as it will give your smooth business upload times and minimize the risk of outages and slow upload speeds. Depending on your needs and application, we can offer custom cable assemblies with a variety of connector types and custom lengths. Call our technical service department if you need a unique RF cable assembly configuration.

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

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