computer hardware, consumer electronics, electronic components  

Coaxial cable

Coaxial cables are a preferred means for transmitting signals between electronic equipment. Effective data transmission between sophisticated computers and similar apparatus is dependent upon the successful utilization of such cables. A coaxial cable is usually comprised of an inner conductive member, a dielectric system surrounding the inner conductor, and an outer conductive member coaxially surrounding the dielectric system. The cables include a central conductor for signal transmission and a surrounding grounding braid. Connectors are mounted on the ends of the cables to permit attachment to threaded metal contact ports for forming electrical connections between the braid and the port and the central conductor and a contact in the port. Generally, coaxial cables have a circular geometry formed with a central conductor (of one or more conductive wires) surrounded by a cable dielectric material. The dielectric material is surrounded by a cable braid (of one or more conductive wires) that serves as a ground, and the cable braid is surrounded by a cable jacket. Coaxial cables are made in three general types for different applications: flexible, semirigid or rigid. The most commonly used coaxial cable is a flexible type having an outer conductor consisting of copper wire braid, with the copper inner conductor supported within the outer by means of the dielectric, such as foamed polyethylene, which has excellent low-loss characteristics. The outer conductor is protected by a jacket of a suitable material, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene (PE). Coaxial cables have an inner electrical conductor, referred to herein simply as a "core," an outer electrical conductor, referred to herein simply as a "shield" which is concentrically disposed around the core, an inner dielectric disposed between the core and the shield, and a protective outer covering, known as the "jacket." Electrically, the outer conductor shields the inner conductor that is carrying an electrical signal such that electromagnetic interference (EMI) radiated from the coaxial cable is at a minimum. The dielectric material, which encircles the inner conductor, electrically isolates the inner conductor from the outer conductor and is selected based on the characteristic impedance desired for the coaxial cable. Coaxial cables are used widely to send radio frequency (RF) from one electrical component to another. The shield provides the dual function of guiding the RF energy within the coaxial cable without allowing its escape to the outside, while preventing external RF energy from entering.

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