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Antenna Cables Explained

Antenna Cables Explained

Antenna Cables Explained

Antennas are connected to the device (modem, router, phone etc.) via a coaxial cable. Often, the quality of the cable component of an antenna solution is overlooked. This results in reduced or non performance of the antenna.

The antenna cable used is a critical part of the antenna solution and is just as important as the antenna. Allot of people research the antenna solution they require and look at things like dBi (decibel) rating, antenna type (omni vs directional), physical size and build quality however, miss a crucial part in not checking the antenna cable type. If the wrong or inferior cable is used performance will be compromised or worse, non existent.

All antenna cables will have some degree of single loss which is determined by the type of cable and the length. As a rule, the shorter the cable, the less signal loss is introduced. Also important is the impedance of the cable type which should be 50 ohms for cellular devices. Ohms is the unit name that is used to represent the resistance in the cable.  When the cable carries an AC signal such as RF signal from a cell phone tower, the resistance is known as impedance. If for example, 75 ohm cable is used (which is common for television and satellite antennas), the mismatch will reduce the performance significantly. The bottom line is that we can't escape the fact that most antennas do require cables so they can be mounted in convenient locations where signal is present. Therefore, the idea is to make sure a good quality cable is used and the cable type can handle the length and impedance required - without too much signal loss.

Our antenna cable type and lengths are matched to the antenna gain and application providing a balance between performance and convenience. Here is a table showing cable types and loss specifications. Note that the signal loss shown here is based on 900MHz. If you are targeting frequencies such as 1800, 2100, 2300 and 2600MHz then we recommend a higher gain antenna and LMR400 type cable.

 

Cable Type Diameter (mm) Signal Loss / metre @ 900MHz (dB) Max.Length Recommended (m)
RG174U 2.5 1.00 2
RG316U (not recommended) 2.5 1.25 2
       
RG58U (not recommended) 5.0 0.55 10
LMR195 5.0 0.36 16
LMR200 5.0 0.32 18
       
LMR400 10.0 0.12 100
       
1250 12.5 0.06 200

 

Our antennas are fitted with either RG174U for low gain model up to 5dBi and LMR195 or LMR200 for our higher gain antennas. LMR400 and 1250 cable is optional and is recommended for cable runs longer than 16m.

Note that we do not recommend RG58 or RG316 as it has around 25-35% more loss that LMR195 or RG174U respectively for the same diameter cable and similar cost. Unfortunately RG58 and RG316 is very widely used in the market and many antenna solutions under perform because of inferior cable. RG316 can be easily identified as it has clear see through insulation. It looks copper in colour as you can see the braided inner shielding. Check our range of antenna cables here!