- Apr 25, 2018-

What does the "RG" in Coaxial Cable types like "RG6" and "RG59" Stand For?

The "RG" is short for "Radio Guide", a term that dates back to the World War II era when the military made heavy use of coax and developed a set of standards to specify different grades and their applications. 

Coaxial cables, commonly called ‘coax’, are the cables that are commonly used for video and satellites installations. There are many kinds of cables to suit different applications, among which are the RG59 and RG6. Both RG6 and RG59 cables are widely used in residential settings, especially when it comes to TV. The difference is found in the specific signals they're used for: RG59 is the norm for standard Cable (CATV), while RG6 is the coax that handles digital video signals and satellite TV. When you compare the two types side by side, RG6 has a larger core conductor, the conductor material is CU or CCS and diameter is 1.0 or 1.02mm, usually, insulation is FPE, and anywhere from 2 to 4 layers of shielding.

The difference between the two, in terms of construction, The inner conductor core of the RG6 cable is thicker as well as the shielding within the rubber sheath.results in a better frequency range for the RG6 cable. RG6 cables are often certified to work up to 3Ghz.


Although RG59 cables may work above the 2Ghz level, it is not always the case and problems may still appear later as the conditions change. Another key difference is the much lower attenuation of RG6 cables. With very long lengths of cable, the attenuation can degrade the signal to a point where it becomes noticeable. Using an RG6 cable simply means that you are able to use longer cables before you have problems with attenuation. 

A downside to the RG6 cable is when it is used for applications operating below 50Mhz. A good example of this is HDTV, which only operates at around 37Mhz. The shielding of RG6 cables cannot properly prevent noise at levels of below 50Mhz and the signal may be worse with an RG6 cable than with an RG56.

Because of these differences, each of these two cables is often used for specific purposes despite being interchangeable. RG6 is the cable of choice for satellite receivers because it allows for better signal quality as well as insurance that any future specification that could use frequencies close to 3Ghz would still be compatible with the current wiring. RG59 is used for video signals as it would provide the best signal quality for the frequencies in use. Not to mention the cheaper price per length of RG59 cables compared to RG6 cables.


1. RG6 cable has a thicker conductor than the RG59.

2. RG6 cable has better insulation than the RG59.

3. RG6 can carry signals of much higher frequencies than the RG59.

4. RG6 has much lower signal losses compared to the RG59.

5. RG6 cable may not operate below 50Mhz while the RG59 can.

6. RG6 is better for satellite signals while RG59 is better for video signals.

7. RG6 cables cost more than RG59.