Coax Cable FAQ Series: What is RG Cable?

Coaxial-CableCoaxial cables are a classification of cables equipped with two conductors on a shared axis, one surrounding the other, separated by a dielectric insulator. The inner pieces of the cable are wrapped together with a metallic shield and synthetic outer jacket. Also known as coax cables, they are commonly used for high-frequency signal transmission in commercial radio, broadband Ethernet, and cable television.

We’re excited to introduce a new three-part coaxial cable FAQ series, which will give us an opportunity to share our industry knowledge with our readers by addressing some of your most common coax cable inquiries.

Frequently Asked Question #1: What does RG stand for when discussing coaxial cables?

When referring to different types of coaxial cables, RG stands for “Radio Guide,” a designation derived from World War II military specifications. Each type of coaxial cable has a different RG rating to help distinguish the cables’ distinct characteristics and specifications. For example, in the designation “RG-#/U,” the “U” indicates “for general utility use.” 
coaxial radio guide
Making generalizations about different RG types can be difficult; the numbers in the designation are somewhat arbitrary and, therefore, not always indicative of the specific form and function of the cable. The numbers simply mean that the cable does not fit within the original (now obsolete) Radio Guide specifications.

While each RG cable type offers a variety of capabilities, below are some of the most common options, along with their ideal uses in consumer applications:

  • RG-6 – The industry standard for cable and satellite signal transmission, the RG-6 is a thin cable that can easily be coiled or bent for residential installation within a wall or ceiling.
  • RG-11 – A thick, inflexible cable used to minimize signal loss in long runs, RG-11 iss typically run outside or underground. For example, it would be located in the front yard as opposed to inside the home.
  • RG-59 – Another popular cable in residential settings, the RG-59 functions similarly to the RG-6 but has an even thinner center conductor. This difference makes the RG-59 the best choice for short runs and low frequency transmissions within the home, but otherwise inferior to the RG-6 in other applications.

Consolidated Electronic Wire & Cable offers an extensive line of standard coaxial cables for a variety of industries, as well as custom services to develop the right solution for your application.

For more information about our standard and custom coaxial cable solutions, please visit our website and be sure to check out the next installment in our FAQ series.