Dr. John Peterson Thursday, December 8, 2011 The Uses and Functions of coax cables

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Jakob Andersson

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Dr. John Peterson

Thursday, December 8, 2011
The Uses and Functions of COAX Cables
In today’s modern society, where digital media is becoming more and more demanded in every household, the struggle for providers to deliver content has become harder than ever. It is not uncommon for Internet service providers and cable television companies to provide both services at a lower cost than obtaining the services from two individual companies, however, the problem lies with the delivery of each individual signal. It is widely known that Internet and cable television signals differ to such an extent that they would have to be sent by two individual cables to the customer’s house, thus making it difficult for a provider to sell both services. The underlying question quickly becomes, “So how do they do it?” The answer is simple: COAX cables are used.

In order to explain how providers can supply households with three entirely different services, consisting of Internet, cable television, and phone capabilities, one must understand how the patented COAX cable works. The COAX cable is constructed by wrapping an outer jacket, made out of plastic or rubber, around a metallic shield that acts as a copper cable. The metallic shield is then wrapped around a plastic insulator that in turn covers the inner core. The core is similar to the metallic shield in the sense that it is made out of the same material, thus making it capable of transmitting the same signals as the shield. The insulator is used to prevent accidental connections between the inner core and metallic shield, which could prove fatal to an electrician if combined. It also makes for bi-directional transmission of data when applied to supported electronic devices.

It has become widely efficient to make use of COAX cables by almost every service company due to the fact that COAX cables also prevent surrounding magnetic fields. Every other type of cable creates magnetic fields around itself when transmitting data, which in turn could lead to crosstalk, destruction of data, and communication errors. Since COAX cables transmit data in a bi-directional fashion, the electric fields created are cancelled out by one another. Also, by having a thick rubber jacket, COAX cables are not affected by other magnetically active cables, which in turn prevent COAX cables from interfering with other cables as well. This makes it safe to operate around magnetically weak, electronic equipment such as hard drives.

Multimedia providers, such as Comcast and Quest, are able to make use of COAX cables to successfully deliver these three services over a single line by sending each different service, or signal, over a different frequency within the same cable, thus enabling the service often referred to as, “Triple play.” Like a car radio, services are received on different frequencies, or channels. The major difference between the different services is the change of radio frequencies and optical connections to the end user’s property. However, specialized hardware is needed in order to make use of the incoming radio signals. Cable Internet is obtained by using specialized modems to convert network data into COAX transferable signals. Thus, radio waves from a multimedia company are translated into Internet connectivity. Similarly, cable television signals also need to be converted, or translated, into usable content. Signals come as both analog and digital carrying different television channels. Signals sent from the cable provider are carried to households via COAX cables that plug into a television’s TV tuner capable of receiving such radio frequencies. The TV tuner acts as the, “Translator” in this situation, making previously unusable signals into the motion picture content we expect to see.

Cable Telephony is the last part of the triple play advantage of the COAX cable. In order to achieve working cable telephony one must first set up a special telephone interface at the location of the end user that converts analog signals into digital signals capable of being transferred over COAX cables. The signal is then sent to a local loop where the signal is switched from the telephone providing company to the public telephone network. This way, the multimedia company acts as a, “Bridge” between the end user’s house and the public telephone network via a stable COAX connection. Having a triple play setup may also lead to cheaper international and domestic calling as VOIP can be easily implemented by the providing company.

COAX cables have made many new ideas possible. It was not long ago where one would need to sign three different contracts involving three different multimedia companies in order to receive Internet, Cable television, and a reliable telephone service. Making use of the brilliantly designed and patented COAX cable these services are now both cheaper and more convenient than ever before. A customer can now call a single company in a case of any of these services having any malfunctions, which can be solved by repairing a single cable. Also, the cable is safe for the electrician to operate as well as having around magnetically weak equipment in the house, due to the removal of electromagnetic fields surrounding the cable thanks to the bi-directional flow of information. This is all thanks to the multi-frequency capability of the cable as well as its interior design. Thusly, COAX cables are one of the most important inventions to the multimedia aspect of today’s daily life that we have all learned to grow accustomed to.

Jakob Andersson
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