Without tower climbers, we’d have no cell phone service. It is only thanks to these men and women that we are able to get the “latest 4G” and beyond. What’s even more amazing is the fact that these men and women are not just climbing hundreds of feet in the air, but also that they themselves are the technicians fixing the satellites and adjusting the cables. Because climbing hundreds of feet up in the air, no matter the crazy weather elements, isn’t enough. In fact, this intrigued us so much, that we have begun seeking more information on the real nitty gritty of what goes on on the top of that tower. Which is where Field Components came in. These guys really broke it down for us, gave us the layman’s terms on cables and we asked them to write a blog post for us so that everyone can understand coaxial cables and their importance in this technological age. So without further ado, let’s do this.
Let’s Talk Coaxial
Ah, coaxial cables! It’s likely you don’t even know what they are. What if we told you, then, that without this humble invention, you’d likely have no cable TV? That’s right; the coaxial cable is pretty instrumental in the development of TV and communications and without it, we’d struggle to enjoy some of our favourite shows.
A type of wire that consists of a centre wire surrounded by insulation and a grounded shield of braided wire, the coaxial cable is the primary cable used by the cable television industry. So smart is the technology that it is now widely used for computer networks, too.
You’ll find the technology in Ethernet – and while it is more expensive than standard telephone wire, it is cleverer in that it is much less susceptible to interference. What this means, then, is it can carry much more data. Great news for those who’d like good, uninterrupted TV programmes!
So advanced is coaxial cable technology, then, that manufacturers can now create custom-made coaxial cable assemblies. Meeting manufacturers’ needs, this service means that if they can’t find the exact assembly they’re looking for, they can have it made especially for them. You might not believe us when we say this but despite there being a huge range of standard sized coaxial cables out there, there’s still call for a custom-made size.
Often known as ‘coax’ for short, coaxial cables have been around for quite some time – with advancements in technology ensuring they are now even slicker than they were in 1880, back when they were first created.
English mathematician, Oliver Heaviside, was the creator of the coaxial cable. He studied the so-called skin effect in telegraph transmission lines, coming to the conclusion that by wrapping an insular casing around a transmission line, he could increase the clarity of the signal. On top of that, though, he discovered he could also increase the durability of the cable. What that means is this humble tool offered double the benefits. In his home country in the same year, Oliver parented the very first coaxial cable – and the rest, as they say, is history. He knew he had hit on something – something that was bound to revolutionise the communications industry.
Some four years later, though, in 1884, electrical engineering firm Siemens & Halske registered a patent which was strikingly similar to Oliver’s.
It wasn’t until later – during the 1930s – that the cable was patented in the US. People then began to take note of Siemens & Halke’s patent, which was located in Germany – and it was thanks to the company’s presence in Europe that people began to take notice, too.
Meanwhile, London’s The Royal Institution exhibited waveguide transmissions as demonstrated by Oliver Lodge. This technology laid the groundwork for similar types of communications, including radio, radar and satellites. A few short years later, the US patent office gave inventor Nikola Tesla the honour of creating the very first electrical conductor patent and technology soon moved on from there. Of course, it was some time before the coaxial cable we know today came to be – and there were many advancements in between.
The first underwater transatlantic telephone cable system – the Transatlantic No. 1 (TAT-1) – connected the American and European continents and technology fast proved itself to be dependable. The cables became smaller and in time, they became known as the tools that connects our TVs to our modems. Today, as aforementioned, you can even have a custom-size coaxial cable manufactured; one that meets your every needs and is designed by experts with your unique project in mind. How’s that for development?!
Thanks to Field Components for this rad piece. Check them out on facebook too, click here. You all made coaxial cables interesting and awesome and it was a pleasure. We can’t wait to work with you in the future!