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RP-SMA Ext: One Right-Angle, One Straight

RP-SMA extension cables

An RP SMA extension cable is simply a length of coaxial cable with RP-SMA connectors attached at each end. The connectors can vary in gender and geometry and the caliber of coax cable can vary in type and length also. The following RP SMA extension cable types can be purchased:

  • rp-sma male to female extension cable
  • rp-sma male to male
  • rp-sma female to rp-sma female coax
  • rp-sma female to rp-sma male antenna cable
  • Right angle RP-SMA male to RP-SMA right angle female extension

RP SMA cable is used to transmit high-frequency radio frequency signals along its length from an upstream transmitter to a downstream receiving device to which the cable is attached via the rp-sma connectors. By using an extension cable the distance over which the RF signal is transmitted can be increased.

Physical properties of the RP SMA extension cable.

The RP SMA connector is a:

  • Reverse polarity
  • Sub-miniature
  • Version A
  • Semi precision
  • Coaxial connector

The RP-SMA connector consists of threaded male and female connector parts. The individual connectors consist of:

  • A 36 thread per inch threaded outer body
  • A 5/16 inch hex nut
  • An insulated inner mating interface with conducting parts according to gender.

The reverse polarity designation denotes this connector as a variant of the SMA connector which is identical in every aspect apart from the gender of the mating interface. Reverse polarity refers to the physical position of the inner pin on the mating interface rather than the signal polarity. This distinction originally separated RP SMA connectors for professional use, as we explain in the next section. In an RP SMA, the genders are reversed which means:

  • A male RP SMA connector, known as the plug, has internalized threads and an inner conducting receptacle.
  • The female RP-SMA, called the jack, has externalized threads with an inner conducting pin.

The rp-sma male connector and rp sma jack form a mating connection by the male connector screwing down over the female. A wrench can be used to carefully tighten the connectors with appropriate torque. Most rp-sma connectors are rated for 500 mating cycles.

These connectors are usually made from brass or stainless steel and can be plated with gold or nickel. The inner conductor is typically made from copper and surrounded by a PTFE insulator.

The connector is attached to the coaxial cable assembly by either crimping or soldering with the inner conductor of the coax to either the pin or receptacle of the connector. Purchasing a preassembled rp-sma extension cable saves time and assures a reliable, robust, and quality-assured attachment.

RP-SMA extension cables can use the following flexible and semi-rigid coaxial cables:

  • LMR-100
  • LMR-200
  • RG 141
  • RG 142
  • RG 223
  • RG 174
  • RG 179
  • RG 187
  • RG 188
  • RG 303
  • RG 55
  • RG 58

The connector provides both physical and electrical continuity with the coaxial cable as discontinuities cause impedance changes and impairment of the assembly's performance. Coaxial cable is favored for radio frequency transmission due to its low loss design with an insulated inner conductor and outer shield.

Electrical specifications of R-SMA cable

This cable assembly is designed for the efficient transmission of sub microwave radio frequency signals along its length with signal loss kept to a strict minimum. Both the connectors and coax have an impedance of 50 ohms. The maximum frequency of the RP-SMA connector can be as high as 18 GHz, but the max frequency of the entire assembly will be determined by the coax which typically has lower frequency limits.

Depending on the type of coax that is attached to these cable assemblies, their working voltage lies between 250 and 500 Volts. For example, with RG 174 the working voltage is 335 Volts, but an RG58 cable assembly has a max voltage of 500 Volts. This demonstrates that the caliber of coax selected for an RP SMA extension cable is key to achieving the required performance.

The insulator that surrounds the annealed copper conductor has a resistance of 5000 megaohms.

The VSWR is also dependent on the coax in the assembly and usually lies between 1.05 and 1.25.

RP-SMA extension cables with LMR-100

An rp sma extension assembly with LMR-100 coax is especially advantageous in wireless applications. Generic equivalents to this proprietary coaxial cable are high performance and a great alternative to RG-174. It is highly flexible and has a very tight bend radius. Despite its flexibility, this mini-coax has much more shielding (more than double that of RG174) and is known for being extremely low loss, with the lowest loss of all flexible coax cables. At the 2.4 GHz WiFi frequency, LMR 100'ssignal loss is 0.39 decibels per foot, whereas RG 174 is 0.75 decibels per foot. It is also an excellent choice for an rp-sma antenna 5ghz. It is usually partnered with the rp-sma connector by crimping.

Why are RP-SMA extension cables important?

The RP SMA is one of the key connector types for WiFI hardware and was developed in the late 1990s for this purpose. Initially, the reversal of gender of the RP SMA's mating interface precluded amateur access to wireless networking equipment and particularly antennas, for alterations which could contravene Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules on the use of antennas. Reversing the location of the inner pin of an RP SMA connector from the male to the female connector will make it impossible to connect rp-sma antennas and cabling with the more common SMA connector.

Fast-forwarding to today, the widespread availability of the rp-sma antenna extension cable and connectors has accelerated consumer access to a variety of wireless networking solutions. Most adaptations of WiFi hardware will, to some extent, require the use of an rp-sma antenna cable.

If you are looking to deploy an indoor or outdoor WiFi network, high-quality rp-sma extension cables will prove indispensable. Unlike the older, 'wired' ethernet networking, WiFi is reliant on radio frequency communication to transfer data between the system components. RP SMA coax has the structural and electrical characteristics that facilitate the effective signal transfer needed for a wireless network that is compliant with the 802.11 standards that underpin WiFi.

The most basic wireless local area network (WLAN) is comprised of the following key components.

  • An Access Point (AP) is an essential piece of hardware that forms the transition from wired to wireless networking. The AP will connect directly to the wired network (e.g. a broadband internet connection) and provides wireless local area connectivity to downstream devices
  • Wireless routers are networking devices used to provide wireless connectivity within a WLAN via its integrated antennas. Routers have a wired connection to an AP or modem and WiFi antennas for wireless signal distribution. They may perform the function of an AP or be connected downstream of an AP to distribute signals.
  • Downstream devices such as computers, laptops, printers, and phones are able to connect to the network provided they have wireless capability.

Wireless repeaters (or wireless range extenders) may be used to distribute an existing signal from an AP into another location, creating a secondary point of connectivity.

The coverage and capacity of wireless networks can be further extended by wireless bridges. A wireless bridge allows distance communication between two or more distinct networkswirelessly. They connect to a wired network and can transmit and receive data wirelessly from up to 30 miles away. This is achieved by antennas that facilitate either point to point or point to multi-point connectivity on a line of sight basis.

At every stage, WiFi antennas which typically use RP SMA connectors and extension cables are required for transmitting the radio frequency signals that make this wireless communication possible. Proper use of antennas and their R-SMA cables is essential to ensure a wireless network is properly structured, efficient, and secure.

Creating an indoor WiFI network

The WiFi Alliance specifies the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies for wireless communication. These frequencies are unlicensed, meaning that they can be freely utilized without regulatory constraints or licensing costs. RP-SMA connectors and cables are suited to radio communication at these frequencies due to the structural and electrical properties we discussed above. The RP SMA is commonly used on WiFi antennas meaning that RP SMA extension cable can play an integral part in connecting antennas and other hardware required for setting up a WiFi network.WiFi antennas

Indoor WiFi connectivity experiences challenges and limitations due to the impediment of physical structures such as walls, ceilings, and ducts. 2.4 GHz WiFi has greater penetration of these structures than 5 GHz. Such obstructions will limit the penetration and distance of the WiFi signal, leading to problems with connectivity and poor user experience. Building materials and structures that stand between a user device and an AP will not only absorb but also reflect radio frequency signals leading to diminished performance.

WiFi signal strength is measured in decibels (dBm). Optimal signal strength usually lies between -60 and -40 dBm. Wood, glass, metal, concrete, and other materials will sap this signal strength and will need to be overcome by properly planned positioning of access points and judicious use of routers, antennas, and rp-sma cable extension to bypass physical obstructions.

One of the key steps you can take to mitigate wireless networking problems down the line is to undertake a site survey prior to installing your WiFi network. This typically involves a review of maps and building blueprints for the position of obstructions and a walk through the building to test signal strength in different areas and plan the number and positioning of wireless APs.

Prioritizing the positioning of your WiFi access points, routers, and antennas for high-density areas where your WiFi will be most used is usually the best strategy. Low loss extension cable will allow routers and antennas to be optimally positioned. Fixed position APs and routers can be connected via rpsma cable to an antenna wherever needed. These extension cables allow quick and easy deployment of RP SMA WiFi antennas.

Setting up an outdoor WiFi network.

An outdoor wireless network is advantageous for hospitality, recreational and educational settings. With the correct antennas, cabling, and access points, extensive coverage can be achieved.

Suitable planning will enable you to secure the optimal positions for access points that provide enough of a range outdoors. Environmental considerations such as weather, foliage, and obstructing structures should be taken into account as line of sight is critical for achieving good results.

For smaller outside spaces, a more powerful weatherproof wifi antenna can be connected to your indoor WAP or router via a reverse sma cable that is run to the outside of the building.

The use of a wireless mesh network provides interconnectivity that can be readily scaled. This type of WiFi network consists of mesh nodes, small transmitters that support and propagate the wireless signal across a larger area.

With both indoor and outdoor WiFi networks a WiFi controller allows you to synchronize, configure and manage all access points routers and repeaters to ensure that you won't create multiple networks with varying SSIDS and allows your network to be extended in an organized way.

Frequently asked questions

Why is there no signal when I connect an rp-sma extension cable to my antenna?

One of the reasons for this may be that your extension cable is electrically incompatible with the antenna's connector. RP-SMA extension cables are commonly mixed up with SMA extension cables because the connectors are structurally so similar. However, because the mating parts are reversed as described above, you can physically connect RP-SMA to SMA connectors but the inner conducting parts will not form a connection. Check the mating interface of your antenna and extension cable to be sure. You may need a cable with both SMA and RP SMA connectors like an rp-sma male to sma male antenna extension cord to connect an RP SMA antenna to a downstream SMA connection.

Can I convert an rp-sma antenna cable to connect with an SMA connector?

Adapters can be purchased to convert an RP-SMA connector to accommodate SMA connectors. You can buy either:

Simply connect the connector adapter to the necessary end of your extension cable to facilitate the correct connection to an SMA antenna.

Is there an rp-sma cable max length?

If you are connecting an antenna to your router and want to add an extension cable, shorter lengths of coaxial cable are always preferred. Though there is no actual maximum length for an RP SMA cable, signal strength will decrease as cable length increases. Rp-sma extension cable signal loss or attenuation varies between coaxial cable types and manufacturers. It is measured in decibels per foot or meter and most extension cables will be provided with an attenuation chart so you can assess the potential signal loss. LMR-100 is particularly low loss. At 2.4 GHz 1 foot of this coax has a signal loss of only 0.39dB. Losses are also greater at higher frequencies which is important if you intend to operate your WiFi network at 5 GHz.

Which is better; DIY coaxial cable connector attachment or purchasing a preassembled extension cable?

There are many online tutorials for how to connect an rp-sma connector to coaxial cable. It may seem like a cost-effective approach to attempt to assemble your extension cable yourself, but without proper care and skill, a DIY coaxial cable assembly job could cost you more time and money.

The RP SMA cables here are manufactured to the highest quality and standards and are built to deliver a consistent performance in line with their specification using industry-leading manufacturing techniques. Self-attachment without the proper tools and techniques will produce poor results. This is because it is vital that discontinuity between the cable and connector is kept to an absolute minimum. Discontinuities from poor assembly lead to step changes in impedance that produce signal reflections and interference when the line is in use. Purchasing a pre-assembled cable guarantees consistent and predictable performance.

How should I handle my RP-SMA extension cable?

Proper handling and connection of an rp-sma extension cable will ensure optimal performance and prolong its lifespan. Follow these simple steps for use and storage of your extension cable:

  • The connectors should be kept clean and free of dust, dirt, and liquids like oil. Avoid prolonged exposure to air and impacts. Oxidation, oil and grease, and even small cracks at the contact surface can lead to intermodulation products being generated. These are undesired radio frequency signals that can cause interference.
  • Connectors can be capped with plastic or metal dust caps to protect the connector ends when not in use.
  • Compressed air is a great way of cleaning the mating surface of your connectors. Avoid abrasives or solvent cleaning techniques.
  • When mating your connectors, ensure that they are properly aligned before applying force or pressure. RP SMA connectors should be tightened using the hex nut and a wrench with the right amount of torque.
  • Coax cable should not be over-bent or kinked. Do not place objects or pressure on top of the extension cable.
  • Try as much as possible to avoid excessive friction and abrasion against the coax as this can damage the outer jacket and disrupt the internal architecture of the cable.
  • Avoid exposure of your rp sma antenna extension cable to excessive heat, cold, and moisture which can damage the cable.
  • When not in use the extension cable should be gently coiled and secured for storage.
  • If installing an RP SMA extension cable outdoors ensure that the assembly is properly weatherproofed. Use silicone rubber coax seal tape that can be used to provide a waterproof seal over your cable. Good quality coax-seal remains in place as long as you need it and can be cut away when access to the cable and connectors is needed. The rp-sma antenna outdoor connection should also be sealed and an excess of cable length can be used to create a 'drip loop' that prevents water from tracking down the cable into your property or other connections.

In conclusion

An rp-sma extension cable will prove to be essential for creating customizable and expandable WiFi network solutions. With a range of combinations, including bulkheads for easy attachment, you are able to connect WiFi antennas, routers, and other hardware for their best performance. High-quality components and assembly expertise make these R-SMA cables an excellent choice for domestic or enterprise wireless networking.

Learn more

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