Definition

coaxial cable

Coaxial cable is the kind of copper cable used by cable TV companies between the community antenna and user homes and businesses. 

coaxial cableCoaxial 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 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. Depending upon the carrier's technology and other factors, twisted pair copper wire and optical fiber may be used instead of coaxial cable.

Coaxial cable was invented in 1880 by English engineer and mathematician Oliver Heaviside, who patented the invention and design that same year.  AT&T established its first cross-continental coaxial transmission system in 1940. 

See also: coaxial cable (illustrated)

Contributor(s): Gino Calenda
This was last updated in March 2014
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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