There is an abundance of cables available in the market but a coaxial cable is hands down one of the most popular options around. From the durability to the higher compatibility of the cable, you can never go wrong with this one. The coax cables are generally comprised of two parts – the metal braid mesh and the metal cords on the inside. This is what makes them such a reliable and high-quality option.
However, like any other cable available in the market, the one thing that you need to be wary of is the signal transmission through these cables. If you are experiencing any kinds of interruptions along the way, it means that there are issues along the way that need immediate fixing.
Testing the coax cable signal before integrating them into the overall wiring system in the house is crucial. In this article, we will discuss everything that you need to know about that.
How to Test Coax Cable Signal?
There are a few ways you can test out the coax cable signal. There are the staple manual ways and then you have the ones that make use of the testing devices. For your convenience, we will be walking you through all the available options that can help you test out the coax cable signal.
1. Manual Testing Using a Cable Modem
The first and likely least expensive method of testing is by using a manual testing method. For this, you need to take your cable modem and then check the same from different cable outlets and finally into the coax cable outlet to check the strength of the signal and the overall connectivity.
If the modem connects without any hassle, the signal is working fine. However, if there are no connectivity signs, then it signifies that there are signal issues along the way. Since this is a manual testing method, you are going to experience issues with the same.
2. Test Coax Cable Using Testing Tool
The next method is a little more advanced and refined and makes use of the available testing tools that are available in the market. These tools are designed to check for the signals in the cable, ensure that the transmission is smooth, and doesn’t impose unwarranted interruptions in the process.
The good thing about this process is that it works without any issues. It doesn’t give any kinds of false positives even if there are hidden splitters in the cable. So, if you want accurate results and readings, this is something you won’t regret indulging in.
The process of using these tools is easy. All you have to do is connect the tool to a power source and check for the continuity of the signal transmission. That’s how simple the process is.
3. Test Coax Cable Using a Multimeter
The most popular and rightful way of testing out the signal transmission through a coax cable is with a multimeter. The process is pretty simple but not knowing the basics will make it difficult for you to go through the process.
For your ease, here’s a quick breakdown of all the steps:
- Start by disconnecting the cable completely from any electronics, be it a TV, computer, or anything else.
- Next, take your testing probe and then attach both ends of the cable to the ports of the multimeter.
- The easiest way to test if the cable has any risks of short circuits is by taking one end of the cable on the pin and the other end on the outside connector. In case you hear spark sounds inside the cable, it is a sign that something is short inside the cable.
- Once that is done, you need to conduct a continuity test. Bring the tips of the testing probe together and connect them till you hear a beeping sound. If you can’t hear the beeping sound, chances are that there is some kind of discontinuity in the cable.
- The next step is to conduct a sound analysis by connecting the probes to the center of the pins. You should hear a continued and prolonged noise from the multimeter if the cable is working well.
- In case you are experiencing any issues during the process, you should ideally change the cable immediately with a new one.
Which Kinds of Coax Cables are Ideal For Signal Quality?
Now that you know a bit about testing out the signal quality and strength in the coax cable, the next thing you need to focus on is the signal quality. If you want the best results from the cable, it goes without saying that you need to find the right coax cable that ensures proper signal transmission throughout the cable.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the type of coax cables that work for different electronics.
- Television – the coax cables supporting over 75-ohm current transmission and RG-6 is considered ideal for this.
- Internet – for internet connectivity, the RG-6 connector is considered ideal. It comes with good quality shielding and transmission that allows easy transmission of GHz signals.
- HDTV – if you are using a high-definition television, a coax cable of RG-11 is considered safe and ideal for clear transmission of the signals.
- Video – either the RG-6 or RG-59 is considered ideal for videos and superior signal transmission. The RG-6 is considered a superior option in comparison.
- CCTV – it goes without saying that the RG-59 coax cable variant is what works with CCTV connectivity. Since it involves camera operation and even movements in some cases, this cable offers flexibility that others don’t.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Does the coax cable length affect the signal strength?
Ans: Many people do have this notion that the shorter or longer length of the coax cable reflects on the signal strength. However, it isn’t always the length that affects signal transmission. There are a lot of other factors that contribute to it as well. Typically, both cables measuring 50 feet and 100 feet can experience signal loss eventually. So, length isn’t an integral influencing factor.
Q2. What is the ideal cable length of a coax cable for smoother signal transmission?
Ans: If you want to experience uninterrupted signal transfer without any issues, you might want to start with 15 feet. However, keep in mind that there is no “ideal” length when it comes to the coax cable. It all comes down to the kind of electronics you are using and the expectations you have with the signal strength.
Q3. What causes signal loss?
Ans: 9 out of 10 times, the signal loss is caused by damage to the insulation in the cable. There can be short circuit issues in the cable too that can end up causing a signal loss in the process.
Q4. What can we do to improve signal strength?
Ans: If you are tired of the delayed signal transmission and want to switch things up, we’d recommend doing a physical inspection of the cable from time to time. This sorts out the problems and alerts you in case there are issues with the cable.
Q5. Should I change it if my coax cable is faulty?
Ans: Typically, yes. Since the signal strength is hampered and it can enhance the risks of short circuits in the connected line, you should change or swap up your coax cable immediately without any further questions.
Q6. Are coax cables expensive?
Ans: Coax cables are typically priced at $5 and above. It depends on the quality of the metal rod and the insulation it is made with.
Testing out your coax cable signal now and then is important. Not only does it improve usage and performance, but it also has promising effects in helping improve signal strength in the long run. We have shared all the potential testing methods in the article. So, make sure you follow them accordingly to get accurate and refined results.
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