RG6 vs RG59: Which one you should get?
The RG6 cable has a heavier gauge and is designed for high-bandwidth, high-frequency applications such as the Internet, Cable TV, and Satellite TV. If you aren’t sure which cable to get, the RG6 cable is your best bet. In addition, this article provides a comparison between RG59 vs RG6 cables.
As RG59 cable is thinner, it is recommended for applications requiring low bandwidth and lower frequency, such as analog video and CCTV installations.
Deciding Between RG6 vs RG59 for your Installation
Probably you have a lot of questions right now regarding what type of Coaxial Cable you should purchase. Do you need RG59 vs RG6? What about quad shielding? How about braiding? Would you need Plenum Rated cable? What about direct burial? Choose the wrong type of coax, and you could end up spending a lot more than you intended. This comprehensive article will cover the basics of coaxial cable, so you’ll know what you need.
First of all, what is RG?
RG ratings are used to classify coaxial cables. RG is an old, mostly forgotten military term. They distinguish the different cable specifications but are randomly assigned, so don’t look for an order in the numbers. There have been dozens of types of coaxial cables manufactured over the years, but most people only need to worry about RG6 vs RG59 cables, so we’ll discuss those two.
RG6 vs RG59 Applications
If you have a CATV, satellite, TV antenna, or broadband internet connection, RG6 is recommended. CCTV systems and other analog video signals generally perform better on RG59. What you really need to consider is the frequency rating of your equipment. Use RG6 if your equipment uses higher frequencies (above 50 MHz). You’ll want to use RG59 if your frequencies are lower than that.
Cables like RG59 have been around for a long time. Most people use this cable for their cable TV connection, and it is very commonly installed in older homes and commercial buildings. However, modern signal requirements have made this cable-less popular in recent years. RG59 has a smaller conductor than RG6, which means that it cannot achieve the same signal quality as RG6. Furthermore, the way its shielding is designed means that it doesn’t keep Gigahertz-level signals inside the conductor very well. Thus, RG59 is probably not a good choice for your TV or internet connection.
Shielding in RG59 was designed to handle (relatively) long waveforms of megahertz interference. That makes it suitable for lower frequency signals (under 50 MHz). Typically, it is used for composite or component video signals (often in the mini-coax variety). It is also a good choice for closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system. It’s even easier to install if you buy what’s called “Siamese coaxial cable.” This cable consists of an RG59 cable merged with a 2C power cable. This type of cable enables you to run the power and video for your security cameras simultaneously, effectively cutting the installation time in half.
As satellite and internet signals have higher frequencies than traditional analog video, and as TV broadcasts changed from analog to digital and cable companies switched to digital, the higher frequencies made it necessary to find a more effective coaxial cable. RG6 cable was designed to meet these requirements. This cable has a larger conductor, which results in much better signal quality. Its dielectric insulation is thicker as well. As well, RG6 is constructed with a different type of shielding, making it more effective at handling signals at GHz levels. RG59 cables often use a foil shield in addition to the braid, but RG6 made it mandatory. The braid originally had a looser weave (e.g., 60% versus 90%+ of RG59), but many RG6 cables now have a high-percentage braid.
Other Factors to Consider When Buying
The difference between RG59 vs RG6 is only part of the process. Cables in different classes can have varying shielding or jackets, and they may or may not be rated for your application.
RG6 can also be found as RG-6/U, but there is no official designation for the U. Many will say that it means “universal” or “for general utility use.” Others will say it refers to the jacket of the cable, but this isn’t always the case. All things considered, RG6 and RG-6/U are the same. Check the specifications if you need a certain type of jacket. We’ll discuss jacket types later.
RG59 VS RG6 Shielding:
As a result, shielding prevents ‘noise’ from interfering with your signal. Coaxial cables typically come with two types of shielding: braid and foil. Although some RG59 cables still use single shielding, most coaxial cables have both. Generally, the more shielding you have, the better your cable will perform, especially in longer runs. However, the shields protect different things. Typically, foil shielding involves aluminum or mylar foil bonded to the dielectric beneath a metal braid. In terms of electromagnetic interference (EMF), foil is very effective. The braided shield is a collection of many small wire strands braided around the outside of the dielectric (or foil). It is effective against lower-frequency interference. Copper braid is used in RG59 cables, while aluminum braid is used in RG6 when comparing rg59 vs rg6.
There are quad shielded cables, which have an extra layer of foil and braid shielding and can provide better protection. However, coaxial cables with a 95% braid can perform better without the added bulk, and weight of quad shielded cables.
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RG59 VS RG6 Signal Loss
In spite of shielding techniques, there will always be some signal loss over the length of any cable. Below is a breakdown of signal loss (attenuation) in decibels for 100 feet of cable. Keep in mind that the longer your cable runs, the more signal loss you will experience. It is best to keep your installation lengths as short as possible.
RG59 Signal Loss (in dB) per 100 ft
- 2.4 dB loss at 50 MHz
- 3.4 dB loss at 100 MHz
- 7.0 dB loss at 400 MHz
- 11.1 dB loss at 900 MHz
- 12.0 dB loss at 1000 MHz
RG6 Signal Loss (in dB) per 100 ft
- 1.5 dB loss at 50 MHz
- 2.0 dB loss at 100 MHz
- 4.3 dB loss at 400 MHz
- 6.8 dB loss at 900 MHz
- 7.0 dB loss at 1000 MHz
RG59 VS RG6 Cable Jacket:
Plenum spaces are the open spaces above and below the floor that allow air to circulate. In commercial buildings, these spaces are essential for air circulation, but they also pose some risks if you ever experience a fire due to the high oxygen content and lack of fire barriers.
Cables left untreated in plenum spaces can spread the fire to other areas very quickly, causing noxious smoke to fill the entire building. Plenum cables are coated with flame retardants and made with special plastics that do not emit toxic fumes or smoke as much as other plastics to help prevent this issue. Plenum-rated cables must be run through plenum spaces.
Outdoor and Direct Burial Coax:
In order to run the cable outside, it must also be protected from the weather and the elements. Outdoor cable is specially designed to resist the elements. PE (polyethylene) jackets are available instead of UV-treated PVC jackets. Cables with outdoor-rated jackets are incredibly resistant to cold weather, moisture, chemicals, abrasion, and cutting.
Moisture becomes an even more significant obstacle when you bury a coaxial cable. If you do not add moisture protection, moisture and contaminants can enter your cable and corrode its shielding and conductor. The PE jacket that outdoor coax has is the same one on direct burial cable, along with a gel-like substance in the jacket that blocks moisture from corroding the conductor and damaging the signal.
How Sewell Direct Brings Superior Value: RG59 VS RG6
There are many companies that sell RG6 vs RG59, but Sewell Direct offers easy communication and tech support. Sewell has you covered whether you are looking to install a security system or just your cable. Experts who have worked as installers and technicians in the industry are ready to answer your questions.
To keep costs low and quality high, we also oversee the manufacturing of our cables (which most retailers cannot do). Whatever is most important to you, cost or function, you should find what is right for you. Check out some of our top-selling RG59 vs RG6 cables, or contact us!