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The Skinny and Fat of It Between RG59 and RG6 Cable for TV

With insulation and shielding designed for high-bandwidth, high-frequency applications like Internet, Cable TV, and Satellite TV transmissions, RG6 cable has a thicker gauge. Your best option if you’re unsure which cable to choose is RG6 cable. Because it is thinner, RG59 cable is advised for lower frequency and low bandwidth applications like analog video and CCTV systems as well/

Selecting RG 59 or RG 6 for your Installation

Right now, you could have a lot of questions about the kind of coaxial cable you ought to get. Which one is better, RG-59 or RG-6? Is Quad shielding required? How about tying braids? Is Plenum Rated cable required? or Burial Directly? The number of alternatives is nearly infinite, and choosing the incorrect kind of coax might cause you to spend much more money than you had anticipated. We’ll go over some coaxial cable fundamentals in this extensive post, so you should be aware of what you require.

What exactly is RG?

RG ratings are used in coaxial cables to differentiate between various cable types. “Radio guide” is what the ancient, mostly forgotten military designation “RG” stands for. There is no set sequence to the numbers; rather, they are issued at random to differentiate the various cable requirements. There are literally hundreds of other kinds of coaxial cables that have been developed over the years, but we will just be discussing RG 6 and RG 59 cables as those are the ones that most people should be concerned with.

Applications of RG 59 vs RG 6

For your CATV, satellite, TV antenna, or broadband internet, RG 6 is recommended. For the majority of CCTV systems and other analog video transmissions, RG 59 is usually preferable. It is really the frequency ratings that your equipment utilizes that you should be thinking about. Choose RG 6 if the frequencies your device needs are greater than 50 MHz. You should use RG 59 if your frequencies are lower than that.

What is the RG 59 Cable?

The RG 59 cable is not a very new one. Older houses and business buildings often had this cable installed, which is what most people used to connect to cable TV. However, in recent years, this cable’s popularity has decreased due to a number of contemporary signal requirements. Due to its smaller conductor than RG 6, RG 59 is unable to produce signals with the same quality as RG 6. Its shielding architecture also makes it less effective at containing gigahertz level signals within the wire. For this reason, RG 59 is most likely not a wise option for your internet or TV service.

The design of the braided shielding in RG 59 revolved on rather lengthy megahertz interference waves. It is thus suitable for communications with lower frequencies (those below around 50 MHz). For composite or component video transmissions, it is often used (typically in the mini-coax type). It’s a wise option for a closed-circuit television (CCTV) video surveillance system because of this as well. Even simpler installation may be achieved by purchasing “Siamese coaxial cable.” This cable is made up of a 2C power cable and an RG 59 cable combined. This kind of connection allows you to operate your security cameras’ power and video concurrently, which will essentially cut down on installation time in half.

What is the RG 6 cable?

Since satellite and internet signals operate at frequencies higher than those of typical analog television, finding a more efficient coaxial cable became vital when TV broadcasts transitioned from analog to digital and cable providers began to move to digital. RG6 cable was created to meet these specifications. Because of its bigger conductor, the signal quality is much greater. Additionally, the dielectric insulation was thickened. Additionally, RG 6 has a new kind of shielding, which enables it to withstand GHz level transmissions more successfully. Although RG 6 made it required, many RGS 59 cables employ a foil shield in addition to the braid. Initially, the braid was woven with more looseness (e.g., 60% as opposed to 90%+ of RG59), but a high percentage braid is now being used in many RG6 cables.

Other Things to Think About When Purchasing

Selecting RG 59 or RG 6 is only one step in the process. Every class of cable may or may not be rated for the installation you have in mind, and it may or may not have a jacket or shielding of varying kinds.


Additionally, RG-6 is available under the name “RG-6/U,” yet the U has no formal designation. According to others, it signifies “universal” or “for general utility use.” There are others who argue that it has to do with the kind of jacket the cable has, although this isn’t necessarily true. To put it simply, RG-6 and RG-6/U are interchangeable. Make careful you review the specifications if you want a certain kind of jacket. However, we’ll talk about several kinds of jackets later.


By preventing “noise” from disrupting your transmission, shielding maintains the quality of your signal. Two forms of shielding are often included with coaxial cables: foil and braid. While some RG 59 cables continue to employ single shielding, the majority of coaxial cables include both. Although there are changes in what the shields cover, in general, the more shielding you have, the better your cable will function, particularly in longer distances. Usually, foil shielding consists of a metal braid positioned under aluminum or mylar foil that has been attached to the dielectric.

When it comes to shielding against high frequency electromagnetic interference (EMF), foil is very effective. A group of tiny wire strands wrapped around the outside of foil or dielectric material is called braided shielding. When it comes to lower-frequency interference, the braid works well. Copper braid is used in RG 59 cable, whereas copper or aluminum braid may be used in RG 6.

Better protection may be obtained by using “quad shielded” cables, which include an additional layer of foil and braid shielding. On the other hand, a 95% braid may improve the performance of more recent coaxial cables without adding weight or thickness to quad shielded cables.

Signal Loss

Although shielding procedures prevent extraneous signals from interfering with our communications, signal loss occurs along any cable’s length. This is a decibel breakdown of the signal loss (attenuation) for a 100-foot wire. Just keep in mind that you will encounter more signal loss the longer your cable runs. Because of this, it’s advisable to install things as briefly as possible.

Plenum Rating

The open areas utilized for air circulation above or below the floor are known as plenum spaces. The high oxygen level and absence of fire barriers in these areas make them problematic in the event of a fire, even though they are crucial for air circulation in commercial buildings.

When untreated cables are used in plenum spaces, the fire may spread swiftly to other parts of the structure and emit toxic smoke. To assist avoid this issue, plenum cables are composed of special polymers that don’t discharge poisonous fumes or smoke nearly as much as other plastics and are coated with flame retardant. Plenum rated cables are required for any cable that is routed across plenum areas.

Direct Burial and Outdoor Coax

Cables that are routed outdoors need to be further protected from the elements and weather. Outdoor cable is specifically made to withstand the weather. Alternatively, they come with a UV-treated PVC jacket or a PE (polyethylene) jacket. This cable is very resistant to cold weather, dampness, chemicals, abrasion, and cutting thanks to its outdoor certified jacket.

Moisture becomes an even bigger problem when burying coaxial cables. You run the danger of impurities and moisture getting into the cable and corroding your conductor and shielding if you don’t install extra moisture protection. In addition to the unique PE coating that outdoor coax possesses, direct burial cable also contains a unique gel-like material within the jacket that prevents rain and precipitation from corroding your conductor and weakening your signal.

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