Definition

coaxial cable (illustrated)

Coaxial cable is the kind of copper cable used by cable TV companies between the community antenna and user homes and businesses. Coaxial cable is sometimes used by telephone companies from their central office to the telephone poles near users. It is also widely installed for use in business and corporation Ethernet and other types of local area network.

 

Coaxial cable is called "coaxial" because it includes one physical channel that carries the signal surrounded (after a layer of insulation) by another concentric physical channel, both running along the same axis. The outer channel serves as a ground. Many of these cables or pairs of coaxial tubes can be placed in a single outer sheathing and, with repeaters, can carry information for a great distance.

Coaxial cable was invented in 1929 and first used commercially in 1941. AT&T established its first cross-continental coaxial transmission system in 1940. Depending on the carrier technology used and other factors, twisted pair copper wire and optical fiber are alternatives to coaxial cable.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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