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What are the Different Types of Coaxial Cables?

Frequently utilized by cable operators, telephone companies, and internet providers across the globe to convey data, video, and voice communications to customers, coaxial cables have been in use since 1929 to quickly transfer data through attached network devices. A type of transmission cable that transmits radio frequency (RF) signals, coaxial cables are built with four layers: the inner conductor layer, inner conductor insulating layer, conductive shield layer, and insulating outer jacket layer. They are made with this protective design to enable signal carrying voltage to flow through the central conductor with minimal outside interference from electrical and/or magnetic fields.

Depending on the application, there are a multitude of different coaxial cables available, and one way to categorize them is by their connector type, which is the mechanism that attaches the cable to other devices. To learn more about some of the different coaxial cable types available and their various applications, we invite you to read on.

BNC Cables

One of the most commonly used connector types, Bayonet Neill-Concelman (BNC) coaxial cable connectors consist of a twist and snap bayonet design that needs a quarter-turn to form an attachment. With their simple design, they require no tools to connect, and they lock the connection in place to prevent an accidental disconnection caused by vibrations or other similar conditions. Despite these benefits, BNC cables also have a limited frequency range and are susceptible to variations in resistance and outer sleeve connections with exposure to mechanical vibrations. They are often used in commercial audio and video transmission systems, in addition to RF test equipment like frequency generators, network analyzers, and oscilloscopes.

TNC Cables

Threaded Neill-Concelman (TNC) connectors are a type of threaded miniature version of BNC connectors. These waterproof, rugged connectors are able to operate with high frequencies up to 11 Ghz and can be used for more than 500 mating cycles. When exposed to mechanical vibrations, TNC connectors are less inclined to have inconsistencies in outer sleeve connections or variations in resistance. On the other hand, they are significantly larger and heavier than SMA connectors and require a specific coaxial cable form. You will find these connectors being used in mobile telephones and RF antennas.

SMA Connectors

Available in many formats, such as male versus female and straight-through versus right-angled, Subminiature Version A (SMA) connectors are 50 Ω connectors that have a number of advantages, including their small size and light weight. Moreover, they have high frequency capacities, able to operate with frequencies up to 18 Ghz. Despite these benefits, they are not durable enough to use in harsh environments, and they are not designed to be connected and disconnected frequently. Microwave systems, telecommunications equipment, and Wi-Fi antennas all employ SMA connectors.

QMA Connectors

Similar to SMA connectors, QMA connectors feature a snap-lock design that allows for faster and easier connection/disconnection, in addition to 360 degree rotational capabilities that makes installation easier. Moreover, they can handle higher power levels than other connector types, operating with frequencies up to 18 GHz. However, they are not waterproofed and are typically best for use in industrial and communications applications that need a shielding barrier for maintenance.

Finding Top-Caliber Coaxial Cables

When your operations require high-quality coaxial cables and more, Internet of Hardware is your best choice of distributor. With our expansive inventory featuring millions of new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find components built for use in a variety of industries, you will meet your needs and restrictions with ease. Once you have discovered items of interest, we encourage you to take advantage of our rapid Request for Quote (RFQ) service to receive a competitive quote for your comparisons. For one-on-one assistance, do not hesitate to reach out through phone or email; we have representatives available 24/7x365 to walk you through each step of procurement. 


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