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All About CCTV Cables

In designing a CCTV system, there are many decisions that need to be made. Selecting the right camera, lens and DVR are what integrators spend the most time on because that is what the customer sees.  Behind the scene is the cable that plays just as important of a role as the cameras and DVR. You can have the highest quality cameras and DVR for your design, but a poor choice in cables will degrade the whole system. Here are the primary type of cables used in CCTV installations.

                                                                                                                                                     


RG/59
Highest attenuation so maximum distance is 750~1000ft

RG-59 is most commonly used on analog cctv installations. It may also be used for HD broadcast frequencies (such as High-def CCTV), but its high-frequency losses are too high to allow its use over long distances; in these applications, RG-6 or RG-11 is used instead.

RG/6 
In between RG/59 and RG/11 with a distance of 1000~1500ft

RG-6 type cables are used in professional video application carrying either baseband analog video signals or HD-SDI (high definition serial digital interface) signals. The center conductor is solid copper and shielding is much heavier and tolerances are more tightly controlled to improve impedance stability.

RG/11
Lowest attenuation has the longest distance of 1500~2000ft

The RG-11 is constructed for applications in which low signal loss is of premier importance, and it is actually the thickest of the coaxial cable family. It can operate on frequencies as high as 3 gigahertz (GHz). RG-11 is perfect for cable runs that require a lot more length and is often used for connections between antennas and HDTV over-the-air receivers.

 

 

BNC Connector Types

In order to assure maximum distance allowed by coaxial cable, user must apply proper pressure to its BNC connectors to minimize signal loss. Improper installation may result in signal degradation and reduced picture quality at today's ultra high analog and digital video transmission rates. Here are the three most popular options of connection types to help prevent signal loss.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compression Type BNC
Seal Rating - High (Waterproof) 

Provides 360-degree radial compression. The connector creates a weather tight seal great for any application.  Minimum video signal loss is ideal for outdoor application. Crimping can be done using compression crimp tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crimp Type BNC
Seal Rating - High

Offers excellent mechanical pull strength and very low video signal loss, ideal for indoor application. This pairing is adequate for lower frequency bandwidths (such as standard NTSC broadcast transmissions) See Crimp Tool required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twist Type BNC

Seal Rating - Medium 

Easy installation / Inexpensive, offers weak mechanical pull strength, this BNC type twist-on connector does not require a tool. Just strip the RG59 cable and twist the connector on.

 

 

UTP Cable Types (unshielded twisted pair)

 CAT5
Distance is rated to 300 ft 

Cat-5 cable, sometimes called Ethernet cable, is short for Category 5 cable, a current industry standard for network, telephone, and CCTV video wiring.  Cat5 consists of four twisted pairs of copper wire terminated by RJ45 connectors. Sending video over CAT5 is an excellent alternative to using regular coaxial cable. You can run the signal longer and with less interference, plus it is a lot more economical.

CAT5e
Distance is rated to 1000 ft

CAT-5e is formally called ANSI/TIA/EIA 568A-5 or simply Cat-5e (the e stands for 'enhanced'). CAT-5e is completely backward compatible with current CAT-5 equipment. The enhanced electrical performance of CAT-5e ensures that the cable will support applications that require additional bandwidth, such as gigabit Ethernet or analog video.

CAT6
Distance is rated to 1500 ft

Of the three cable categories we're discussing, Category 6 is the most advanced and provides the best performance. Just like Cat 5 and Cat 5e, Category 6 cable is typically made up of four twisted pairs of copper wire, but its capabilities far exceed those of other cable types because of one particular structural difference: a longitudinal separator. This separator isolates each of the four pairs of twisted wire from the others, which reduces crosstalk, allows for faster data transfer, and gives Category 6 cable twice the bandwidth of Cat 5. Cat 6 is the wisest choice of cable when taking any possible future updates to your network into consideration. Not only is Category 6 cable future-safe, it is, also, backward-compatible with any previously-existing Cat 5 and Cat 5e cabling found in older installations.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Wikipedia.org: Definitions
2. CCTV Forum 
3.
Webopedia.com
4. Ecmweb.com (Coaxial cabling 101) 
5.Cableorganize.com