RG6 versus RG11 Coaxials

RG6 versus RG11 Coaxials: What’s The Difference?

RG6 and RG11 are different coaxial cable types that help you wire up AVs, CCTVs, amplifiers, cellphone signal boosters, and satellite TV systems. In choosing the right cable, you’ll come across these two cable designations. They’re not the same and they have certain differences to keep in mind when considering choosing one or another.  Here’s what to expect when it comes to RG6 vs RG11.

Indeed, their biggest difference comes from attenuation or the degree wherein the signal quality is lost. RG11 is able to offer less attenuation or signal loss due to its thickness but RG6 has more flexibility and affordability to spare by having just enough signal integrity but its thinness will naturally lead to more attenuation. Signal loss is more immediate at shorter lengths with the RG6.

Comparison Chart

Categories RG6 RG11
Uses Mostly used for satellite cables Only reserved for special uses
Price Less expensive More expensive
Thickness 0.375 inches or ⅜ inches 0.75 inches or ¾ inches
Flexibility More flexible and less stiff Less flexible and stiffer
Attenuation More signal loss Less signal loss
Center Conductor 18AWG 14AWG

 

Attenuation and Compensating for It

RG6 has more signal loss compared to RG11. The RG11 cable will give you a better signal at its end compared to the end of the RG6 when given a specific length of cable. Meanwhile, noticeable attenuation will only happen to the RG11 cable once you start using longer RG11 cables since the signal travels longer distances, leading to attenuation. If you want clearer signals then, of course, you’d go for the RG11, right?

In contrast, you’ll get more signal loss from RG6 at a shorter cable length that only gets worse the longer the cable is. There’s also the upside that signal transmission from the RG11 is able to deal with higher frequency ranges, particularly in ranges that the RG6 couldn’t carry. However, as you will see below, there’s a price to be paid when it comes to this frequency and signal loss mitigation.

Price per Meter or Affordability

RG11 is more expensive than RG6. The former has a higher price per meter than the latter exactly because it has lower attenuation, can work with higher frequency ranges, and suffers from the least signal loss the longer the cable becomes. If you’re using the cable for long distances with the idea of keeping signal loss at a minimum even as the cable meters rack up, then the price will definitely increase per meter pretty quickly.

This is why most long-distance cable applications settle or even prefer the thinner yet more flexible cables of the RG6. It’s this thickness that makes RG11 cables almost prohibitively expensive at long distances. It costs more to make RG11 cables exactly because it uses up more materials. RG6 conductors inside the RG6 are smaller in diameter, so the overall thickness of the cable is less.

Flexibility or Lack Thereof

RG11 cables are hard to maneuver in labyrinthine houses or spaces because these thicker cables are infamously inflexible. More to the point, because the cables for the RG11 coaxial are much thicker than the RG6, you can’t flex or bend them as much as the thinner RG6. Cable management might be impossible to achieve with RG11 as far as some common home connections are concerned.

Some establishments and companies would much prefer flexibility with just enough signal clarity and attenuation versus superior signal but less flexibility due to the nature of their building, apartment, office, condominiums, or houses.  The RG11 cable isn’t designed to take sharp turns or bend around corners due to its thickness. It’s a straight line with this cable all the way. RG6 connections might have inferior signal clarity but you can snake it around bedrooms or loop it over other connections.

Length Matters

For any cable type, the signal loses strength the longer the cable distance it has to travel. The shorter the cable the less attenuation occurs. However, as discussed above, it takes quite a length of RG11 before the signal loss becomes an issue due to its thickness and additional materials. When buying an RG11 cable for your needs, it maintains its signal that longer distances compared to the same length of RG6 but you have to sacrifice a bit in terms of flexibility in exchange for its thickness.

For instance, a cellphone signal booster is usually sold as a kit per the regulations of the FCC. The booster comes with coaxial cables that work with most setups. However, they’re not optimized for your specific needs, like whether you’re doing a home installation or commercial one as well as the complexity or simplicity of your cable management system. Some kits have cables that are too long or too short. Remember, longer cables increase attenuation. In such situations, figure out the length you can afford to maximize signal gain and minimize attenuation.

F-Type Connectors and Range Length

Both the RG6 and RG11 cables are 75-ohm cables that make use of F-type connectors. RG11 has a greater and longer range longer than the R6. To be more specific, the RG6 tops out at 50 feet before the total signal loss. The RG11 does better with more than 50 feet to about 10 feet. There’s lower loss per feet or meter as well. However, RG6 remains the pre-wired cable of choice for cable and satellite TV as well as broadband Internet due to its simplicity when it comes to installation and uses as a mid-sized cable.

The versatile RG6 can cover from 2,500 to 5,000 square feet with its snaking and flexible constitution, making it a must for residential wiring. Meanwhile, the RG11 doesn’t come pre-kitted with signal boosters or other applications because it’s a very specific type of cable that can only be used in certain conditions, such as houses where there’s no need for cable bending, cable burial, or direct line cable installation. Most industrial or commercial applications use this cable for their factories and offices due to signal strength and because they can afford its expensiveness.

Specific Applications for The RG6 and The RG11

Over the long run, a properly made RG6 cable should give you the ability to get a stronger signal. This is what makes RG6 the preferable cable for use with satellite TV since such systems require more signals as well as cable flexibility since they’re popular among homes and residences. The RG6 cable also serves as a good alternative to the RG59 cable, which most antennas are okay with more often than not.  RG6 is more ubiquitous than its 11 counterparts because it’s versatile for most indoor installations.

As for the RG11, it’s a special purpose cable to be used in areas where sharp turns and cable bending aren’t issues. To be more specific, it’s the cable of choice for very long runs since it has little to no attenuation until a certain length of cable. It’s also the cable to get for burial. It’s so thick that it requires special connectors and it’s hard to bend, so it’s usually not used for things like amplifiers, VHS, or anything that requires you to connect the cable from behind a cabinet.

Where to Buy Cables of Either Type

Skip the home store if you’re looking to buy cables for anything other than plain old TV antennas (who even watches terrestrial television anymore) such as cellular boosters, satellite TV, and so forth. Such stores sell your low-quality cables. You can get better cable quality of the RG6 or RG11 type online versus those gnarly cables that have ended poorly molded unto them and aren’t commercial-grade. You can save money by buying bulk cables but home stores don’t have ones with solid copper center conductors.

A satellite TV installation or other applications such as the Internet, AV, CCTV, amplifiers, and so forth require better cables from high-end brick-and-mortar retailers as well that specialize in quality cables of either type discussed on this article. They’ll get you the cable you need that’s right for your specific needs, and some of these specialist electronics stores offer free tech support to boot.

Summary

Here’s the summary in regards to the differences between RG11 and RG6. RG11, because of its bigger size and better handling of attenuation, is superior when it comes to preserving signal quality than RG6. It’s also able to work at much higher frequencies than RG6 due to it having less signal loss. However, choosing between the two isn’t as simple as knowing which has superior attenuation mitigation or which works at higher frequencies.

On that note, RG6 is more affordable than RG11 even though that’s understandable because RG11 is twice as thick as RG6. However, due to its size, RG6 has more wire flexibility, so in that regard, the RG11’s thickness works against it. However, you can use the RG11 to replace your RG6 as an upgrade with the caveat that doing it in reverse is a downgrade. RG6 is the more familiar standard, particularly when it comes to satellite cables.

References:

  1. Which is better, RG59, RG6 or RG11 cable?
  2. Difference Between RG6 and RG11

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