A coaxial cable is an electrical wire that transfers radio frequency (RF) signals from one site to another. Cable operators, telephone companies, and internet providers generally employ them to deliver data, video, and voice services to people all over the globe.
If you use any of the above services in your own home or workplace, you more than likely use a coaxial cable, also known as a coax cable. When the wiring gets damaged or degrades, you can lose access to necessary cable, phone, and internet functions, and you’ll need to diagnose and fix the issue right away. Read the guide below to learn how to know if your coax cables need replacing.
How Do Coaxial Cables Work?
Coaxial cable transmits high-frequency signals via a core conductor sandwiched between a shield made of braided or solid metals. The two conductors separate due to the insulating material between the central conductor and the shield. You’ll also find a secondary jacket surrounding the entire assembly.
The shielding prevents unwanted RF noise from meddling with any signals coming from within the cable. It can also serve as an electrical ground, provide power over long distances, or transmit additional messages. Because the form and integrity of both the shield and the conductor are critical, even minor flaws can result in a significant loss in signal quality.
Where To Use Them
You use coax cables to transmit radio frequency, video, and data signals to different devices. These devices can include connecting radio transmitters and receivers to antennas, hooking up to the internet, relaying digital audio, and communicating with cable television signals.
Advantages of Using Coax Cabling
Many people opt to use coax cables because of the numerous benefits they offer. For instance, installing them is effortless and requires simple tools, and you can readily split and extend the wires as needed. Furthermore, since their coaxial cable is metallic, it’s easy to link a tone generator to the shield and locate underground or behind-the-walls wiring. They can also support incredibly high bandwidth levels, which helps to reach consistently elevated internet speeds and data.
Why Do Coaxial Cables Become Damaged and Degrade?
People tend to believe that their wires and digital peripherals are essentially indestructible; many of them fling them all over the place and pay little attention to proper handling and storage. However, coaxial cables, in particular, are prone to breaking and degeneration. That’s why it’s essential to take adequate care of them and watch out for the most common ways they can get damaged.
The Cables Get Physically Harmed
The most prevalent types of damage are those caused by harsh or incorrect handling, as well as sudden accidents. Because coax has a wide minimum bend radius, it’s vital to keep the gap between the interior conductor and the shield as stable as possible throughout the wiring length.
You need to make sure you’re correctly coiling the wires when disconnecting them and getting them ready for transportation. It’s also essential to keep the cords away from high-traffic foot areas since they can become seriously damaged if people step on them. Sometimes, damage can be unavoidable as age can catch up with them and cause slow but steady degradation.
Water Clogs Inside Them
Unless explicitly stated by the manufacturer of a particular product, most coax cables are not waterproof. That means that if they become wet on the inside, the water can change the electrical properties of the wires, leaving them unusable or causing them to malfunction.
It’s important to keep cables out of the rain and away from bodies of water such as a sink or pool. Even though the connectors have a plastic jacket covering them, water can still get in through minor chipping in the external sheath. You should also never immerse them in water.
Coax uses two polymers for insulation: polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride. They both have a relatively low melting point and can weaken at around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The positioning of the center conductor relative to the shielding may fluctuate if the insulation is subjected to low heat for an extended length of time as the polymers start to give out.
Once the center conductor and shielding come into contact, the signal is lost. You need to keep heatsinks, stage lights, heating lamps, and other hot sources away from them.
How To Know When It’s Time To Discard and Replace Coax Cable
Coax cables—just like most things in our universe—have a finite lifespan no matter how well you take care of them. They’ll eventually deteriorate and go bad. When that happens, replace them to restore service to electronic devices.
Your Television Doesn’t Display Anything
When you’re using a cable or satellite box to access TV channels, and you can’t get a signal, it could be a sign that faulty wiring is at play. The most likely cause is an improper connection of the coaxial wire to the F connector. If you’re not getting any channels to show on one television, but you can on another one, you may have bad coaxial cables.
Internet Connection is Spotty or Non-existent
Attach your internet modem to each coax outlet with a coax cable and test each one separately. You’ll have to wait and see whether your modem can establish a link, which is generally shown by the lights on the front of the device. If you fail to see a connection, it could be a problem with your coax cables.
Use a Coax Cable Tester
A coax cable tester is the most reliable method of quickly finding out if your wire is damaged or malfunctioning. They’re inexpensive and easy to use. Most of the testing devices employ a basic lighting scheme to show if a cable is okay or defective. Simply connect the wires to the tester, and you’ll know whether or not you need to replace the cabling.
Understanding how to know if your coax cables need replacing helps you to better diagnose and solve problems that may arise with your phone, internet, or cable connections. When you’re ready for a replacement, CableWholesalers are your trusted coaxial cable suppliers. We have a comprehensive range of high-quality products and knowledgeable customer service. Feel free to contact us today with any questions.