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.

RG214 vs RG213 | Product Knockout

RG214 vs RG213 Product KnockoutOur Product Knockout 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.

RG214 and RG213 are coaxial cables used for high-frequency signal transmissions. Both cables are designed for use in telecommunications, radio communications, broadcast, and computer applications. RG214 coax and RG213 coax are very similar to one another, however there are a few defining characteristics that set them apart. Can you guess what they are? Let’s first start by taking a look at each cable’s construction.

RG214 vs RG213 Specs for Construction
RG214 RG213
Conductor Type Stranded Stranded
Conductor Material Silver Coated Copper Bare Copper
Dielectric Diameter 0.285” 0.285”
Shield Double Silver Coated Copper Braid Single Bare Copper Braid
Jacket PVC PVC
Overall Diameter 0.425” 0.405”
Weight 138 lbs/mft 110 lbs/mft

RG214 features a silver coated copper conductor, while RG213 features a bare copper conductor. Although both conductors are stranded, the material is what sets them apart. The silver coated copper material in RG214 coax is more conductive than the bare copper material in RG213 coax. So, this means that RG214 has a smaller signal degradation than RG213. In terms of shielding, RG214 coax offers a double coated braid, whereas RG213 coax has a single bare copper braid. Both the shielding and the conductor material are the reasons for the significant price differences between the two coaxial cables. RG213 costs much less than RG214 because its bare copper conductor and single bare copper shield are much cheaper than the silver coating in RG214.

RG214 vs RG213 Electrical Specs
RG214 RG213
Min. Temperature Rating -40°C -40°C
Max. Temperature Rating 80°C 75°C
Max. Voltage 5,000 5,000
Impedance (ohms) 50 50
Capacitance (pF/ft) 32.2 32.2
Max. Freq. (GHz) 11 11

Looking at the electrical specs, RG214 and RG213 remain pretty consistent across the board. Both cables are able to withstand a high voltage rating of 5000V each, and are the same in terms of impedance, capacitance, and max frequency. The only slight difference between RG214 coax and RG213 coax is the maximum temperature rating. RG214 is rated slightly higher at 80°C, while RG213 is rated for 75°C.

RG214 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft) RG213 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft)
50 MHz 1.7 1.2
400 MHz 5.5 4.8

To fully understand coaxial loss, referring back to what was previously mentioned in the cable construction section can help us to make sense of the difference in attenuation. Because RG214 has a stranded silver coated copper conductor, it is easier for an electrical charge to pass through this material than it is for the charge to pass through bare copper. Overall, it seems that most of the differences between the two cables can be attributed to RG214 having a silver coated copper conductor and RG213 having a bare copper conductor.

RG214-RG213

RG214 coax cable vs RG213 coax 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 RG214 and RG213, visit the coaxial cable main product page.0

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.

RG142 vs RG400 | Product Knockout

Product Knock-out

Our Product Knockout 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.

RG142 and RG400 are both high temperature coaxial cables with a maximum temperature rating of 200°C, which allows for installation in heat sensitive climates and projects. RG142 is a versatile coaxial cable designed for use in radio frequency, telecommunications, interconnects, and signal transfer applications. Likewise, RG400 coax cable is well-suited for use in satellites, systems, and other tactical operations and equipment. RG142 and RG400 are strikingly similar in most regards, however there are a few subtle differences that set them apart. First we’ll take a look at each cable’s construction.

RG142 vs RG400 Specs for Construction
RG142 RG400
Conductor Type Solid Stranded (19 strand)
Conductor Material Silver-coated Copper Clad Steel Silver Covered Copper
Dielectric Diameter .116” .116”
Shield Double Silver Plated Copper Braid Double Silver Plated Copper
Jacket FEP FEP
Overall Diameter .195” .195”
Weight 43 lbs/mft 50 lbs/mft

RG142 coax cable features a solid silver-coated copper clad steel conductor, while RG400 coax cable has a stranded silver plated copper conductor. The differences in conductor material and type play a major role in the cable’s weight differences and slight difference in pricing, as well as how they differ in terms of flexibility. RG400 weighs 50 lbs/mft which is slighter heavier than RG142 which weighs 43 lbs/mft. RG400 coax is also more flexible and has a greater resistance to flexing fatigue failure as compared to RG142 coax. Again, the flexibility can be attributed to the conductor stranding. Finally, copper clad steel is slightly less expensive than copper, thus why RG142 costs less than RG400.

RG142 vs RG400 Electrical Specs

RG142 RG400
Min. Temperature Rating -55°C -55°C
Max. Temperature Rating 200°C 200°C
Max. Voltage 1900 1900
Impedance (ohms) 50 +/-2 50 +/-2
Capacitance (pF/ft) 29.4 29.4
Max. Freq. (GHz) 12.4 11.0

In terms of electrical specs, RG142 and RG400 are able to withstand the same ratings across the board. Both cables are rated for up to 1900V with a temperature range of -55°C to 200°C.

RG142 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft) RG400 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft)
Typical Attenuation Max. Attenuation Typical Attenuation Max. Attenuation
100 MHz 3.8 4.4 4.1 4.5
400 MHz 8.1 9.3 8.6 10.5
1 GHz 13.7 15.3 14.2 18.1
2.4 GHz 23.3 25.0 23.6 30.2
5 GHz 37.4 41.8 37.0 52.1
10 GHz 60.0 70.7 57.8 78.0

Focusing on RG142 and RG400 attenuation, it’s important to keep in mind that the larger the conductor, the less the attenuation. The attenuation is directly aligned with frequency and determines how far the signal will travel over the coaxial cables. Because RG142 has a solid copper clad steel conductor, low frequency electrical power is able to travel down the middle of the wire. The attenuation from RG400 coax is slightly higher because of the conductor stranding.

RG400-Coaxial-Cable

RG400 coax cable vs RG142 coax 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 RG142 and RG400, visit the coaxial cable main product page.

Coaxial Cable is coming for you!

Allied's Wire NewsReel

Allied Wire and Cable’s NewsReel

Look out world, coaxial cable is coming for you.

This common type of cable can be seen in your televisions, your VCR’s, cable boxes, and Ethernet cables and according to a recent report by Transparency Market Research the North American Coaxial Cable Market is expected to reach a value of an estimated 3.1 billion dollars by 2018. That is a growth rate of approximately 7.2 % each year until 2018.

“I would agree with the overall percentage,” said Trum Rittling, from Harbour Industries, a manufacturer of wire and cable for military, commercial, and industrial markets.

The report, titled “Coaxial Cable Market-North America Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2012-2018,” says that after a careful analysis, researchers determined that the growth in coax cable is mainly because in North America alone, there has been an increasing need for accessing the internet in different commercial spaces, homes, or offices in multiple rooms.  In 2012, The United States had the largest market share in the coaxial cable business at 59.2%.  The report attributes a large part of this increase to the booming market of video streaming services such as Netflix and Apple TV, which currently represents the largest segment of end users in the region.  Currently in the United States, 90% of Americans have coaxial cable networks to access content on HDTV, laptops, BlueRays, and gaming consoles.

However, the coaxial cable market isn’t tied to the television business alone; it’s also relevant in the military, aerospace, construction, medical, automotive, and marine industries.  There is also evidence to suggest that between now and 2018, there will be a huge demand for coaxial cable for security and surveillance equipment manufacturers as the United States has been focusing on improving security in both the public and private sectors, researchers have found.

RG_214

RG214 Coaxial Cable

“Coaxial cable applications are many, from connecting your cable TV to high frequency coax used to jam an IED,” Rittling said.

As for the Netflix and Apple TV connection Rittling says he’s not sure they are truly contributing to the increase.

“Those systems utilize HDMI type cable and connectors, not coax,” Rittling said.

Coming up in a close second and third for control of this useful cable are Canada and Mexico who are projected to have serious gains due to more investment in improving communications in their respective countries, the report said.  In Mexico, specifically, there is an increase in funding from the government for telecommunications and broadband to support economic development, analysts said.

People are finding this to be an attractive investment due to low restrictions on trade, among other reasons.

For more information on coaxial cable visit our Coaxial Cable FAQ page. If you need a quote or to speak to a rep, call us at 1-800-472-4655.

We will be watching for the outcome on this issue and will bring it to you as soon as it develops.

 

Underwater Cable: The Wave of the Future

Allied's Wire NewsReelUsing underwater submarine cable for the transmission of electricity and high speed telecommunications data is part of a growing movement of connecting cities and countries.

 

You see the worker from the electric company checking your meter, you see the cell phone towers driving down the highway, and you see the Ethernet cables in your home office but did you know that some of that power is actually transmitted underwater?

The first transoceanic cable came into full operation in 1866 when a link between Ireland and Newfoundland that allowed transmission of seven words per minute via telegraph was discovered. As technology progressed from Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone to the first fiber-optic submarine cable in 1979 submarine cables have come a long way, according to a report published by The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the International Cable Protection Committee Ltd (ICPC).  UNEP is part of the world’s foremost intergovernmental environmental organization and ICPC is a non-profit organization that facilitates the exchange of technical, legal, and environmental information concerning submarine cable installation, maintenance, and protection.

As recently as ten years ago, however, the submarine cable industry was experiencing a bit of a decline.  In mid-2000 however, rising energy prices and concerns about climate change rekindled an interest in using submarine cables.   Industry experts predict that even more growth is on the way.  According to a report by Navigant Research, a US research firm that tracks the energy industry, global sales of high-voltage submarine cable is set to triple from $1.9 billion in 2014 to over $5.3 billion in 2023.

Leading the pack in underwater cable systems

Internet Giant Google is no exception when it comes to this growth and submarine cable.  They announced last month that they signed commercial agreements with a consortium of six global companies to build and operate a new Trans-pacific cable system called FASTER.  The underwater cableFASTER cable system will connect the United States more closely with Japan and is reportedly going to cost approximately $300 Million, according to a press release from Google.

“FASTER is one of a few hundred submarine telecommunications cables connecting various parts of the world. These cables collectively form an important infrastructure that helps run global Internet and communications,” said Mr. Woohyong Choi, the chairman of the FASTER executive committee.

“The consortium partners are glad to work together to add a new cable to our global infrastructure. The FASTER cable system has the largest design capacity ever built on the Trans-Pacific route, which is one of the longest routes in the world. The agreement will benefit all users of the global Internet, “Choi said.

Staying protected despite the elements

Subsea cables have come a long way in their construction and ability to do their job.  According to the UNEP and ICPC report, submarine telegraph cables from the early 1900’s were constructed with an inner copper conductor for transmitting messages, an insulating layer of tree resin called gutta percha and one or more outer layers of iron wire for strengthening and protecting the whole cable.  Coaxial cable or analogue cables were the rage in the 1950’s with polyethylene insulation and a copper conductor.  Today cables have multiple glass fibers that have the capacity to transmit over 1 million telephone calls. Despite that power, modern cables are much smaller with deep ocean types only about the size of a garden hose.  Most recently sharks went after some of Google’s underwater cables prompting the internet giant to reinforce them with a Kevlar like material.

More growth is expected

James McCray, senior researcher for Navigant Research believes that underwater cable system projects will continue well into the future but won’t necessarily replace above ground use.  “There will be a large market for submarine cables.  The connections between Iceland, with huge geothermal generation resources and various parts of Northern Europe are huge, and connections across the Mediterranean Sea to Northern Africa and Middle East might be huge opportunities,” McCray said.

These opportunities will continue to be driven by population growth, increased reliance on offshore renewables, and the interconnection of energy markets and regional systems, McCray predicted.

But don’t expect a total transformation.

“I think that some portion of the market will continue to be submarine cables, but there is such a high proportion of the transmission and distribution grid that is land-locked and above ground, that submarine cables will continue to be a regional and coastal phenomenon.

For more on submarine cable systems check out this map of 300 active submarine cable systems that interconnect the world. http://submarine-cable-map-2014.telegeography.com/

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