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What is a Coaxial Cable Used For? How Many Types of Coaxial Cables are There?

coaxial cable explained

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:17 am

Learn about the types of coaxial cables, where they are used, and their advantages and disadvantages.

A coaxial cable is primarily used for the transmission of audio and video signals.

It has two concentric (sharing the same center) wires. In other words, two wires share a central point. These two wires are separated by an insulating layer.

types of coaxial cables - coaxial cable

It comes in the form of a thick cable with a male metal connector to be screwed onto a female connector.

types of coaxial cables - male-female coxial connector

In this post, we shall look at what a coaxial cable is made of. You’ll also learn the main types of coaxial cables so that you could differentiate them when the need arises.

Coaxial Cable Uses

It’s a cable commonly used to carry TV signals over long distances. It is commonly associated with cable television.

Coaxial cables are also used to connect older devices, like game consoles and VCRs to television sets.

Coaxial cables are also used for the transmission of network signals. A prime example is the cable’s use for broadband cable Internet connection via a cable modem.

Coaxial Cable Composition

A coaxial cable consists of two types of conductors.

The first electrical conductor, on the inside, is a copper wire

The second conductor is a braided copper sleeve on the outside.

Some coaxial cables have an aluminum sheath instead of a sleeve.

Both these conductors are separated by an insulator.

4 Types of Coaxial Cables

The 4 commonly used coaxial cables are hard-line coaxial cables, flexible coaxial cables, semi-rigid coaxial cables, and formable coaxial cables.

Hard-Line Coaxial Cable

A hardline coaxial cable is a versatile one. It can transport hundreds of cable TV channels and thousands of telephone calls.

It also has the capacity for large-scale Internet connections that could serve a medium-sized building.

In other words, it’s used for high-strength signal transmissions.

Semi-Rigid Coaxial Cable

This type of coaxial cable has a sheath made of solid copper.

The advantage of it is it offers superior screening when compared with an outer conductor of the braided type.

Semi-Rigid Coaxial Cable

The main disadvantage of the semi-rigid coaxial cable is its lack of flexibility for long-term use.

After you have initially formed the shape of the cable, you’re not allowed to flex it into another shape.

If you do so, you may risk damaging the cable and this will affect signal transmission.

Flexible coaxial cable

As its name suggests, you can bend the cable to suit the shape you want.

This is the most common type of coaxial cable.

It is used for connections involving TVs and home video devices.

types of coaxial cables - Flexible coaxial cable

Formable Coaxial Cable

This type of cable is also called conformable coaxial cable. The formable part is the metal sheath. You can easily reshape it with your hand to suit your purpose.

types of coaxial cables - formable coaxial cable

Coaxial Cable in Computer Network

The coaxial cable has been used in network cabling since 1973.

It was in use to carry a single digital signal (baseband). It was also used to transport multiple digital signals (broadband).

Coaxial Cable Advantages and Disadvantages

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of coaxial cables.


  • A coaxial cable is affordable.
  • It is durable and can’t easily be physically damaged.
  • It is highly resistant to electromagnetic interference (EMI).
  • It has a small diameter.
  • Coaxial cable with quality shielding material allows for a higher data rate transfer.
  • It allows for easy wiring and is flexible enough to be extended.


  • Although the cable is cheap, the installation cost is expensive
  • It’s not supported by modern networking standards.
  • It needs grounding to prevent signal interference.
  • It’s unsuitable for high-speed signal transmission.
  • If a single cable fails an entire network is rendered unusable.
  • Weak security. A T-joint can be used in between a coaxial cable to tap the signal flowing through it.
  • You can use the cable to combine video data and voice communication (telephone).

You’ve learned about the different types of coaxial cables. The next time you see one or have to deal with one, you’ll have a better understanding of the cable.

Read also about digital coaxial cables for audio.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can You Buy Coaxial Cables?

You can buy coaxial cables from your neighborhood electronics store. However, if you’re looking for a wide range you may shop online for high-quality Coaxial cables.

Amazon offers top-quality coaxial cables at affordable rates.

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