Choosing the right cable for satellite internet

Using same RG6 coax cable for satellite TV and internet systems may lead to problems. Only certain type of cable will perform well on Exede and Wildblue satellite internet.

CABLE IS EVERYTHING

Choosing the right cable is critical for the system to perform best. Unlike satellite TV systems, Wildblue requires you to have a certain type of cable. SC OR CCS?

There 2 common types of RG-6 coaxial cable: SC and CCS.

Copper VS Steel

SC stand for - Solid Copper center conductor
CCS stands for - Copper Clad Steel center conductor.
The difference between these two types of cable is not that clear. They look alike.

Let's sort this out. RG-6 coax CCS cable center conductor is obviously made of steel and covered with thin layer of copper. So, what? Resistance of steel is much higher than copper. Over the length of cable, voltage drop will also be higher compared to SC cable. For the receiving part it's not going to make much difference.

Here is what makes Wildblue satellite dish different from DirectTV or Echostar TV systems, it also transmits signal. And for that you need all the power available. Using Solid Copper center conductor cable ensures low voltage drop by the dish (TRIA Tx), modem will work in healthy mode.

Going forward, Wildblue ONLY approves Solid Copper center conductor RG-6 coax cable of certain manufacturers.
Here are some of the approved manufacturers: Vextra, Commscope, Belden, Eagle Aspen, Perfect Vision.
Installers can obtain current list of approved cable on request..

WHAT CCS CABLE CAN DO TO YOUR SYSTEM?

A lot of bad things can happen. If your modem is on CCS cable, TRIA (it's that black device on the dish were cables plug in) is not being powered well because of the high voltage drop. Modem reacts to that by pumping more power (current) into the line, stressing itself and TRIA. With high power on the transmit side satellite will switch you over to the slower carrier. Over some period of time, 2-6 months TRIA dies or gets permanently damaged. So, even if your system appeared fine when installed it's pretty much dead on arrival.

The most common symptom of affected by CCS cable Wildblue systems is abnormal slow speeds and frequent modem reboots. Why is that? Wildblue firmware and hardware has a built-in mechanism of staying connected and running during less than perfect weather conditions. So, when it rains, signal gets partially blocked and modem will increase transition power in order to compensate for the loss. Satellite will detect the condition and react by switching you over to a slower but more powerful carrier, which will get through the clouds and moisture back to you. Once the storm is gone, power should return back to normal, so is your connection speed. With CCS cable it is just not going to happen.

WHICH CABLE DO YOU HAVE?

It's always a good idea to ensure that you have the right cable.
If your satellite internet system is about to be installed, check out the cable installer is going to use. If you already have one installed, start by checking the markings. Cable vendor will normally mark the cable with SC or CCS, frequency it's rated for (should be 2.2Ghz or higher). If you can't find any you may try to use any peace of magnet. If magnet sticks to cable, you are dealing with CCS. Copper does not react to magnetism.

During my carrier at Wildblue, I have seen many customers with CSS cable being used. Many customers assumed that internet connection being slow from day one, is just the way it is. Having cable replaced increased the connection speed significantly.

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