Telephone cable

Which CCTV cable for you?

There are a great many things to consider when installing a new CCTV system. Which cable to use is not always one of them, but choosing the correct CCTV cable can have a massive impact upon how effective the system is.

There are many different cables used in CCTV systems but the choice of cable comes down to a small(ish) number of criteria. Budget is often a massive concern, but the numbers of cameras involved, the length of cable run required, the power requirements, and the need to integrate with other systems should all be given significant consideration as appropriate.

Traditionally coaxial cable has been commonly used for CCTV purposes, and its use has been so prevalent that most CCTV cameras are produced with a coaxial BNC connector. However coaxial cable does have its limitations, so alternatives such as category and fibre cable are now used much more regularly.

Coaxial CCTV Cable

Most coaxial cable for CCTV use today is composite, or ‘shotgun’ cable, with either an RG59 or URM70 coaxial cable and an accompanying power core. The highest possible quality of coax should be used to lessen interference and ensure the best possible picture quality, as coaxial cable is prone to signal loss, especially the high frequency elements, leading potentially to a noticeable loss of picture quality. One important aspect to consider if coaxial cable is to be used for CCTV is the quality of the cable screen, as a better quality screen or braid protects the centre core from interference.

Category Cable

Category cables are usually used when long cable runs are required, as category cable (all other things being equal) has advantages over the same length of coaxial cable. Category cable such as cat 5 also is more resistant to interference caused by outside sources, and its use means that IP cameras can be added as required at a later date. For CCTV use, category cable is usually smaller than the equivalent coaxial cable, making for easier installation, and is usually cheaper. However baluns must be used with category cable, which adds to the cost.

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