Do I need better cable?

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When the installer came to the house he said he needed to connect the satellite to the modem with a special cable that was better than the newly installed cable network throughout the house. He said he would have to run a cable across the front of the house that would be visible. We didn't want a visible cable and asked him to connect to the new cable system. Are we loosing data speed and quality by employing the already installed cable?
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Ernstfried Schmidt

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Posted 2 months ago

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Voyager

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It depends. You could be losing speed, but only if you have high error rates that require a lot of retransmission for error correction. I also had cable (RG-11 CCS core) that does not meet Viasat’s specs. They want solid copper core cable since they use the center conductor for DC power for the TRIA. The copper clad steel used in RG-11 and used by most CATV installations is great for the high frequency communication signals (my RG-11 is actually better in this regard than the RG-6 Viasat specifies), but not as good for DC power transmission.

High frequency signals “ride” on and near the surface of a circular conduction so the copper clad steel is great as the high frequencies see only copper and the steel is there just for strength. However, DC does not have “skin effect” and thus propagates through the entire conductor cross section and thus is seeing the resistance of the steel rather than copper. However, the steel core is so much larger in my RG-11 than is the core of RG-6, that my DC resistance was still acceptable, though a little less than twice what RG-6 with solid copper core would be. However, it met the operational needs of the TRIA and has worked fine now for more than a year.

When my dish as re-aligned yesterday, the signals were “extremely good” according to the tech, much better than most installations they see.
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Michael McDowell

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I'm really surprised that the installer would use the existing cable.  If the installation fails a QC check because of non approved cable, the installer doesn't  get paid!
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Voyager

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I suspect that depends on the competence of the installer. If they are the typical installer drones who do, but don’t think much, then they probably follow the guidelines to the letter and mess up someone’s home unnecessarily.

If they are competent and intelligent installers, they look at the bigger picture and look at the performance and decide if the performance meets the requirements. In the end, it is performance that matters, not a number on the side of the cable. My already installed (in 140’ of buried conduit) cable performed well within the Viasat parameters and performs much better on the high frequencies so there is no logical reason not to use it.
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Michael McDowell

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I agree,  just saying that they might not get paid if the install gets QC'd.  Although a good installer probably has ways around it!  Not sure if installers still have to submit pics of their installs or not.  And with satellite internet hemorrhaging subscribers, maybe things have loosened up.
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Bob Lexus

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What many do not understand is Viasat approved coax cable has a solid copper center conductor vs the vastly more common copper clad steel center conductor coax.

Steel can not carry the same amount of power as copper
The part on the dish (the TRIA) requires adequate power for long term service and if starved due to improper cable, will shorten the life of the TRIA.

Non approved coax has other potential shortcomings as well such as leaking signal due to inadequate shielding for the frequencies satellite internet uses.
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Voyager

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@Bob. Many don’t, probably including many installation techs which is why companies like Viasat provide VERY conservative specifications so that even a fairly unskilled tech will still have a successful installation. However, I do have some understanding (retired EE) and it is much more complex that just cable core material. For example, when I built my house, I installed RG-11 CCS Quad cable runs - one for OTA TV antenna and one for a spare, which was used for my satellite dish. Well, since I don’t have RG-6 BC, my cable is “not approved” according to Viasat. Here is where the thinking part has to come in.

If you look at the specs, and I will attach a simple table, my RG-11 is nearly identical to the Viasat specified RG-6 BC and it actually outperforms the Viasat spec RG-6 at RF frequencies. If you look only at the core conductor resistance, you would say that the RG-6 BC is twice as good as the RG-11 as it has only 6.4 Ohms/1,000’ as compared to 11 for the RG-11 CCS. However, I am quite sure that the DC return path is through the coax shield. I don’t have access to TRIA schematics so I can’t be 100% sure, but I doubt they use the protective earth ground as a power return. If this assumption is correct, then the total DC path resistance is the sum of the resistances from each path: core conductor supply and shield return. The much larger RG-11 has a lower shield resistance of 3 Ohms/1,000’ compared to 9 for the standard RG-6. So the total path resistance for a 100’ “approved’ RG-6 cable is 0.64 + 0.9 = 1.54 Ohms. The total path resistance for my RG-11 CCS quad is 1.1 + 0.3 = 1.4 Ohms. And I have lower RF attenuation across the spectrum. So, tell me why I should have dug up my yard to run approved cable when my unapproved cable outperforms the approved cable?
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ExSatUser

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Why do you have a newly installed cable network in the house? Why do that? Just curious.
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Bradley

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Agreed. Hopefully we will all have that option in our lifetime.
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ExSatUser

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Sadly in 20+years, only 2 internet options have been available at my home.

Knowing what I know now, i would have built where high speed, affordable internet would become available. My home value suffers for it now. What family wants to buy a home without it? At least the majority for families want it, just like good schools.
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Markgc, Champion

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They laid the conduit for fiber past my house around 20 years ago and that was that.   Empty conduits.
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GabeU, Champion

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Empty conduits.
They're probably homes for moles and other critters now.  :) 
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Markgc, Champion

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Yes..there is even a concrete manhole and cover opposite my drive. You can't see it now as it is buried under the grass but I know it's there.
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Ernstfried Schmidt

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We had a house fire and a total rebuild. The electricians installed a coax and Ethernet.