Coax Cable vs. Twinax Cable | Product Knockout

Product Knockout: Coax Cable vs. Twinax Cable

“Our Product Knock-Out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, same level of experience, and amount of exposure. The purpose of the Product Knock-Out posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products. These posts will also enable you to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purpose. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

Coaxial and Twinaxial cable are similar in their applications but differ in terms of their construction. Both cables are used in data processing and information systems applications; specifically, cable TV and computer networks. This post will analyze the similarities and differences with both products as well as breaking down their construction and features.

What is Coaxial Cable?

Coaxial cable is used in the transmission of video, communications, and audio. These cables are designed to transmit high frequency signals and data with low loss due to environmental factors and interference. Allied has a wide variety of coaxial cable in stock that can vary in terms of its impedance, environmental temperature, working voltage, signal loss at specific frequencies, power rating, and cost. Coaxial cable’s construction may vary depending on the application that it is used for. Many conventional coax cables feature a copper wire and copper mesh shield to remain flexible while preventing any leakage of the signal.

Coax cable is available in military grade. These cables are referred to as RGs and are used in applications where military specifications are needed, as well as direct burial applications. Coaxial cables also meet M17 military specifications. Learn more about RG and M17 coaxial cable.

What is Twinaxial Cable?

Twinaxial cable is commonly used in data transmission and information systems applications. This cable uses two twisted conductors surrounded by a common shield. The two conductors offer more protection from environmental factors and lower cable loss. Twinax cable loses its effectiveness in long-range situations over 15 MHz. It is primarily used in short-range, high-speed signaling applications including those in the computer industry. Twinax cables also meet military M17 specifications.

Coaxial Cable vs. Twinaxial Cable

There are a lot of similarities between coaxial and twinaxial cable. Both are used in data transmission and information system applications, along with protection of the signal from interference. Coax and Twinax also both have military specs, which allows them to be used in applications requiring military standards. These cables are identified by RG or M17. The biggest difference between these two types of cables is their construction. Twinaxial cable features two conductors instead of one. This allows twinaxial cables to provide a more protected and clearer signal, but only in very short range and high speed applications. Coaxial cable is more versatile in its usage and it is able to carry low frequency signals such as audio. This makes it an ideal cable to use for radio frequency and cable transmission applications.

And the winner is….

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision. In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use. If you’re unsure about what cable you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, let Allied help you out! Check out Allied Wire & Cable for more information on Coax and Twinax Cables or give your sales rep a call at 800-472-5655 with any questions.

RG213 vs LMR400 | Product Knockout

Product KnockoutOur Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and to be able to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.

RG213 and LMR400 are both coaxial cables that have a wide variety of uses. RG213 coax is suitable in applications where low signal loss and high voltage operations are required. This includes radio communications, electrical and data transmission, broadcast, and computer applications. LMR400 is a flexible low loss braided coaxial cable designed for use in low loss RF cables. Both LMR400 and RG213 have a lot of overlapping characteristics, however that are a few differences that set them apart and can make a big difference when deciding which cable will work best depending on your electrical requirements.

RG213 vs LMR400 Specs for Construction
RG213 LMR400
Conductor Type Stranded (7/0.030) Solid
Conductor Size (in) 0.089 0.108
Conductor Material Bare Copper Bare Copper Clad Aluminum
Dielectric Diameter 0.285 0.285
Dielectric Material Solid Low Density Polyethylene Foam Polyethylene
Shield Single Bare Copper Braid 1st Shield: 100% Aluminum Braid

2nd Shield: Braided Tinned Copper

Jacket PVC PE
Overall Diameter (in) 0.405 0.405
Weight 110 lbs/mft 68 lbs/mft

Although these two cables are often compared, there are several construction differences, starting with the very core. RG213 features a stranded bare copper conductor, while LMR400 features a solid bare copper clad aluminum conductor. RG213 coax also offers a PVC jacket, while LMR400 coax features a PE jacket. The outer conductor of these cables, also referred to as the shielding, is another significant difference that sets these two coaxial cables apart. RG213 simply has a single bare copper braid, while LMR400 has a double shield composed of an aluminum braid and braided tinned copper.

RG214 vs RG213 Electrical Specs
RG213 LMR400
Min. Temperature Rating -40°C -40°C
Max. Temperature Rating 75°C 85°C
Max. Voltage 5,000 2,500
Impedance (ohms) 50 50
Capacitance (pF/ft) 32.2 23.9
Max. Freq. (GHz) 11 6

In regards to electrical specifications, these cables differ mainly in terms of their maximum voltage rating, capacitance, and maximum frequency. RG213 is able to withstand double the voltage rating of LMR400, however LMR400 coax exceeds RG213 in both loss and power handling as is apparent by the chart below.

RG213 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft) LMR400 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft)
100 MHz 2.2 1.2
400 MHz 4.8 2.5
1000 MHz 8.2 4.1

There are several factors that play a role in signal loss, and in this case, the different conductors are at the root of the attenuation differences. The rule of thumb here is the larger the conductor, the less the attenuation. Because LMR400 has a larger conductor than RG213, the conductor size accounts for RG213 experiencing more signal loss than LMR400.

RG213 vs LMR400

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision. In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use.

If you are unsure about what cable you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, consult with a qualified engineer or with one of Allied’s knowledgeable sales reps. To learn more about RG213 vs LMR400, visit the coaxial cable main product page.

RG223 vs RG58 | Product Knockout

Product_KnockoutOur Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and to be able to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.

RG223 and RG58 coaxial cables are both used for high frequency signal transmission. Common applications include use in antennas, communications equipment, and in broadcast. RG-58 coax is commonly used in radar systems, flight guidance equipment, aerospace communications, and as a high frequency RF antenna for ground support equipment. RG223 cable is best used in applications like phasing harnesses, cables sets, test cables, and radio systems. RG223 coaxial cable can also be used in GPS applications requiring low signal loss and high shielding performance.

Both coaxial cables are built to tough military standards; each cable has its own mil-spec equivalent. The mil-spec equivalent of RG 223 is M17/84-RG223 and for RG 58 the mil-spec equivalent is M17/28-RG58.

These coaxial cables are similar in their applications, but are they built the same? Read on to find out.

RG223 vs RG58 Specs for Construction
RG223 RG58
Conductor Size 20 AWG 20 AWG
Conductor Type Solid Stranded (19/32)
Conductor Material Solid Silver Coated Copper Tinned Copper
Dielectric Diameter .116” .114”
Dielectric Material Solid Polyethylene (natural) Foam Polyethylene (natural)
Shield 1st Shielding: 95% Silver Coated Copper Braid

2nd Shielding: 94% Silver Coated Copper Braid

95% Tinned Copper Braid
Jacket PVC (Non-Contaminating Vinyl) PVC
Overall Diameter .212” .198”
Weight 40 lbs/mft 26 lbs/mft

Though these coax cables are similar, they differ in most of their construction, starting with the very core. Both cables are sized 20 AWG, but RG-223 coax features a solid silver-coated copper conductor, whereas RG-58 features a stranded tinned copper conductor. While both have a Polyethylene (PE) dielectric, RG223 uses solid PE and RG58 uses a foam PE.

The shielding, which is often referred to as the outer conductor in coaxial cables, is what really sets these two products apart. Both cables have coated-copper braided shields, but differ in the material and number. RG58 has a single tinned copper braid shield, while RG223 features two layers of a silver-coated copper shield. The double shielding on RG223 affects the size and weight of the cable, making this a larger and heavier cable than RG58.

RG223 vs RG58 Electrical Specs
RG223 RG58
Min. Temperature Rating -40°C -40°C
Max. Temperature Rating 90°C 60°C
Max. Voltage 1900 1900
Impedance (ohms) 50 50
Capacitance (pF/ft) 32.2 26

In regards to the electrical specifications, these cables are almost identical, but the construction does affect some electrical characteristics.

Because RG223 has silver-coated copper conductors, it can withstand more heat, resulting in a higher temperature rating compared to RG58. In addition to a higher temperature rating, the double shield in RG223 allows it to have a higher capacitance than RG58.

RG223 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft) RG58 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft)
50 MHz 4.8 3.2
400 MHz 12.0 9.0
1000 GHz 21.0 14.5

These similar products also differ when it comes to the attenuation of each cable. Attenuation is described as the loss of signal strength during transmission, which results in a lower signal strength.

RG223 and RG58 are comparable cables, so why does the attenuation vary?

There are many factors that can either increase or decrease the loss of a signal, one of which is temperature. Since RG 223 has a higher temperature rating than RG 58, RG-223 experiences more loss compared to RG-58.

RG223 cable vs. Rg58 cable

RG223 cable vs. Rg58 cable

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision. In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use.

If you are unsure about what coaxial cable you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, consult with a qualified engineer or with one of Allied’s knowledgeable sales reps. To learn more about RG223 and RG58, visit the coaxial cable main product page.

RG178 vs RG316 | Product Knockout

Product_KnockoutOur Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.

RG178 and RG316 are high temperature, high performance coaxial cables. These cables are manufactured in accordance with the MIL-DTL-17 specs, and are designed for use in high temperature applications, among many others. RG178 coax cable and RG316 coax cable can be used in radio frequency applications, wireless communication, broadcast equipment, and in direct burial. These cables are very similar, but what sets them apart? Let’s find out.

RG178 vs RG316 Specs for Construction
RG178 RG316
Conductor Type Stranded (7/.004) Stranded (7/.0067)
Conductor Diameter 0.012” 0.020”
Conductor Material Silver-coated Copper Clad Steel Silver-coated Copper Clad Steel
Dielectric Diameter 0.033” 0.060”
Dielectric Material PTFE PTFE
Shield/Outer Conductor Silver Plated Copper Braid Silver Plated Copper Braid
Jacket FEP FEP
Overall Diameter 0.071” 0.098”
Weight (lbs/mft) 6.3 9.89

Both RG178 and RG316 feature stranded, silver-coated copper clad steel conductors, the same PTFE dielectric material, the same silver plated copper braid shield, and the same FEP jacket.

So, what stands out the most in the construction of these two cables? The size.

The size of these cables vary right from the center of each cable, starting with the conductor diameters. Having a larger conductor also contributes to the weight of the cable.

From the numbers in the table, you can see that RG-316 is almost double the size of RG-178, especially when comparing the dielectric diameter of both cables.

RG178 vs RG316 Electrical Specs
RG178 RG316
Min. Temperature Rating -55°C -55°C
Max. Temperature Rating 200°C 200°C
Max. Voltage 1000 900
Impedance (ohms) 50 +/-2 50
Capacitance (pF/ft) 29.4 32

The electrical specs between RG 178 coax and RG 316 coax are fairly similar. They both have the same minimum and maximum temperature ratings, similar impedance, but they vary slightly in voltage rating and capacitance.

RG178 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft) RG316 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft)
Typical Attenuation Max. Attenuation Typical Attenuation Max. Attenuation
100 MHz 14.7 16.0 7.8 11.0
400 MHz 30.2 33.0 16.0 21.0
1 GHz 48.9 52.0 26.3 38.0
2.4 GHz 78.7 83.3 43.0 55.4

Because RG178 and RG316 both have silver-coated copper clad steel conductors, the difference in attenuation between the cables cannot be blamed on conductor material. In fact, these cables are so similar that it may be surprising that RG178 experiences almost twice as much attenuation as RG316.

In this case, it comes down to conductor size. RG 178 is smaller than RG 316, and it experiences more loss because of its size. RG 316 has less loss because the conductor is larger. Typically, the larger the conductor, the less loss a cable experiences.

RG178 vs RG316 Cable

RG178 vs RG316 Cable

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision. In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use.

If you are unsure about what coaxial cable you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, consult with a qualified engineer or with one of Allied’s knowledgeable sales reps. To learn more about RG178 and RG316 visit the coaxial cable main product page.

Allied Encyclopedia: Low Loss Coaxial Cable

What is low loss coaxial cable?

Have you ever heard the term “low loss coax” and wondered what makes it different from standard coax cable? You probably aren’t alone.

Low loss coax cable gets its name from its low attenuation over distance. Attenuation is expressed in decibel per foot and is explained as a gradual loss in intensity through a medium, like the loss of a signal along the length of a cable. Minimizing the amount of loss in a cable run will increase the performance of the cable.

So, what is low loss coax? It’s coaxial cable that has less signal loss during transmission.

How does low loss coaxial cable reduce signal loss?

The amount of signal loss a cable experiences is dependent on several factors, such as frequency, cable length, cable diameter, and the electrical properties of the chosen dielectric, conductor, and shielding methods.

As the signal encounters resistance in the conductors and dielectric, some of the signal is converted to heat energy, which leaks out of the cable. Outside signals can also leak in; interference from outside signals may create noise and disruptions. The longer the cable and the higher the frequency, the more signal loss these variables cause.

There are multiple ways to combat high attenuation.

One way is to use a larger cable, because the chance of signal loss caused by conductor resistance decreases with an increase of the cable’s diameter, so a larger cable means lower loss.

Some applications may warrant a conductor with superior electrical properties. Although more expensive, a silver-plated copper conductor will achieve lower loss levels than the commonly used bare or tinned copper.

The dielectric of the cable is also important to the attenuation of the cable. Look for PTFE over PE, and consider putting more air into the dielectric, like Expanded PTFE. Cables with foam polyethylene dielectrics have about 15-40% lower signal loss than solid polyethylene of the same size. Low loss cables like LMR 195 and LMR 400, manufactured by Times Microwave Systems, are made with a foam polyethylene (FPE) dielectric.

LMR Low Loss Coaxial Cable

LMR Low Loss Coax Cable

So, what’s the difference between Low Loss Coax and RG Coax?

The key difference is in the shielding. Low loss coaxial cable employs multi-layer shielding that blocks radio frequency (RF) more efficiently than standard RG coax. High performance low loss coaxial cables such as LMR 240, LMR 600, and LMR 900 cables feature a multi-laminar aluminum composite tape which is bonded to the dielectric, providing 100% coverage as well as a second moisture barrier. A tinned copper outer braid supplies a positive ground and means for connector attachment. The RF shielding on these LMR cables boasts more than 90dB of isolation shielding—that’s 50 dB greater than typical single shielded coax.

In addition to the shielding, low loss cable can also have different conductors from what is used in RG coaxial cable. The conductor inside of low loss cable is typically solid, whereas the conductors in RG can be stranded, and stranding can cause higher attenuation.

By having considerably more effective shielding and utilizing a single, solid conductor, low loss coax prevents more signal leakage and attenuation than an RG coax cable.  

This makes low loss cable ideal for use in any high performance coaxial cable application. It’s a common choice for rooftop installations, in-building runs, tower and pole feeder runs, and jumper assemblies in wireless communications systems. Though there are many applications for this cable, low loss cable excels in wireless applications because of the decreased chance of losing a signal. For superior performance, look for cables that are highly flexible, non-kinking, and have easily installable connectors because these characteristics reduce the potential for signal loss.

View full low loss coax cable specs to learn more or call your sales rep at 800-472-4655 with any questions.

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.

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