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What is an RF Cable? RF Cables Types | What is RF Cable Used For?

  • Mahesh Tiwari
  • Apr 19, 2024
  • RFID
What is an RF Cable

Radio Frequency Identification systems have become an important addition to many industries. These systems communicate data between tags to antenna readers wirelessly and provide significant benefits to the business. Another important component of the systems is RF cables. These cables allow data transfer between antennae and readers.

So, let’s have an in-depth discussion over RF Cables.

What is an RF Cable?

Radio Frequency Cable are a type of data carrier that we use to transfer radio signals from one device to another, through wires. In RFID systems, we use these cables to connect antennae and the readers. These cables are used to elongate the range of a system and carry information with minimal signal loss. Even in the age of wireless data transfer, these cables have remained very popular amongst the industries.

So, let’s discuss more about RF cables, their types, benefits, etc.

How many RF Cable Types are There?

There are many types of RF Cables available in the market for use, they all have different compatibility specifications. So, let’s see the difference between these cable types.


These are the most commonly used RF cables throughout the industry, they are affordable and provide good insulation. These consist of a central/core conductor wire which is protected by an insulated dielectric layer. And a layer of braided conductors on the outside of the insulator, which is again covered by another insulator layer. Their primary application is for carrying low-frequency signals.


Much like the preceding type, these cables consist of a central conductor, covered by a layer of dielectric. However, unlike the coaxial cables, the outer layer of conductors isn’t braided together. The dielectric is covered by two layers of braided conductors, separated by layers of insulators. These wires provide better shielding against signal loss and interference than coaxial cables.,


These cables have two central conductors insulated separately by dielectric layers. These are then covered by a layer of braided conductor and lastly, protected by a thick layer of insulator. These wires are generally applicable for networking setups.

Flexible Semi-Rigid

The biggest benefit of these cables is that they can be made by hand. They contain a central conducting wire covered by an insulator layer. The layer is then covered by two-staged-out conductor layers. The first layer is made of a rigid metal spiraled around the insulator, which is then overlapped with a layer of braided conductor mesh. The spiral layer allows the cable to retain its shape and be rigid while offering high-frequency compatibility.


These cables provide the highest data-carrying capacity due to their compatibility with high-frequency signals. These have a single central conducting wire, covered by a layer of thick insulator. Lastly, there is an out layer of rigid metal that holds the shape of the cable. The issue with these cables is that they can only be made with machines.

Types of RF Connectors

Now that we are done discussing the types of RF cables, let’s move on to the next essential component, the connectors. These allow the cables to form a connection with different equipment. So, let’s check out the different types of adapters.

1) Threaded Neill-Concelman (TNC)

These are one of the most common types of cable connectors used by businesses. It has a bandwidth range of 0 to 11GHz, it’s waterproof and threaded. These connectors are also very small in size making them easy to carry and save space. They are affordable and highly effective.

2) Reverse-Polarity Threaded Neill Concelman (RP-TNC)

It is a variant of the previous type of connector. It provides an even more compact dimension and is the most commonly used connector with ultra-high frequency RFID systems.

3) SubMiniature version A (SMA)

These are very compact, about the size of a pencil eraser, and are compatible with UHF RFID systems.

4) Reverse-Polarity SubMiniature A (RP-SMA)

This is a variant of the SMA cable connector, they work on a reverse polarity than the standard SMA connector.

5) N-Type Connector

These are the largest connector types available that are compatible with RFID systems. They provide a good signal bandwidth, around 11 to 18 GHz.

6) Bayonet Neill-Concelman (BNC)

These are compatible with low-frequency operations; they are compact and offer minimum data leakage capacity. BNC connectors are faster and easier to connect when compared to other types of adapters.

What is an RF Cable Used for?

The primary purpose of an RF cable is to carry radio frequency signals with minimum energy loss. In RFID systems, we use cables to connect antennas with the reader. With the help of these cables, users can form a spread-out system of antennae, placed strategically around their facility. This allows the system to have a good range of coverage and allows for asset tracking within the premises.


Radio Frequency cables are an essential component of a radio frequency identification system. These allow the transfer of data from one component to another and prevent excess signal loss. As discussed above, there are a variety of cable types and connector types. They are all compatible with different types of readers and antennae, and applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is RF signal AC or DC?

Ans - Radio Frequency cables transmit data using Alternative Current (AC).

Q2. What is an RF cable used for?

Ans - These cables are an essential part of a successfully implemented RFID system. RF cables are used to form a connection between different components like antenna, reader, and computer. These cables allow for the transfer of data between these components with limited signal loss or disturbance.

Q3. What is RF cable made of?

Ans - These cables are made of layers of conductive metals (mostly copper) on top of each other. These layers are separated with the help of dielectric layers. This helps provide better insulation against signal loss and disturbances.

Q4. Why are RF cables 50 ohms?

Ans - The biggest issue with cables is the possibility of signal interference and power loss due to leakage. Most people prefer 50 Ohms cable because they offer the best balance between maximum signal loss variable, power output, and voltage.

What is a RF Cable? RF Cables Types | What is rf cable used for?

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  • Created on May 30, 2023

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