Allied Encyclopedia: M17 and RG Coaxial Cables

Allied EncyclopediaM17 coaxial cable? RG coaxial cable? All of these cable designations and specifications for different types of coaxial cable can get confusing, especially with how often the same standards seem to evolve.

M17 and RG standards both refer to coaxial cable, but they are not exactly the same. See how the designations differ and learn about the continuing changes in military specifications for the wire and cable industry.

Let’s start with the oldest first. RG coaxial cable designations are the old military standards for coax; RG meaning “radio grade.” They are still popularly used to refer to parts, but they have been officially discontinued by the military. You will mostly hear RG coaxial cable part numbers used by commercial industries, corresponding to the different types of connectors used in their products. There are a wide range of products still available under their RG numbers, and the differences between these numbers can depend on one or more things, including a material change or difference in ratings. Because the RG standard is no longer controlled by the government, even products with the same RG number are not guaranteed to be exactly the same, so it is important to check product specifications.

M17 refers to the military specifications (Mil-Spec) set by the U.S. Department of Defense. Mil-DTL-17, or M17 for short, is their standard for coaxial cable. They replaced the old RG numbers and ensured that the new M17 coaxial cables would stand up to tough military requirements in extreme applications and environments.

While the Mil-Spec numbers are still common, they are also being transitioned out of the industry. The government often releases cancelled or inactive standards to the hands of non-government standards bodies, like the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). These independent organizations develop standards that address the quality and safety of cable products, and both SAE and NEMA are in the process of updating and converting a selection of Mil-Spec numbers into their own standards.

No matter what kind of cable you are ordering or what identifying standards are associated with it, make sure to read every specification sheet closely. This is an important step to ensure that you choose the appropriate product for your application requirements and the standards you need.

Visit Allied’s online product catalog to view M17 and RG coaxial cable specifications now.

About awcwire
Allied Wire & Cable is a value-added manufacturer and distributor of electrical wire and cable, tubing, and more. We are a family owned and operated company, serving a wide range of industries, including the military, automotive, aerospace, and telecommunications markets. Allied is headquartered in Collegeville, PA. Additional locations can be found across the US, in Phoenix, AZ; Bedford, NH; Pewaukee, WI; Rochester, NY, Tampa, FL; and Mt. Juliet, TN. For more information on Allied, visit our main website at

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