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What is AWG (American Wire Gauge)

by Tom Niswander on September 25, 2019
what is awg

If you have ever shopped for ethernet cables you'll notice that there are many difference sizes of cables. Not only can the sizes (Length) of the cables be different but the the actual cables size can be different as well. Each manufacture will produce a slightly different size of cable but there is a standard for which conductors need to be. In this article we will cover just exactly what AWG size is.

What Is AWG?

You will most likely see a AWG when looking at your ethernet cables jacket. The AWG you see stands for American Wire Gauge. AWG (American Wire Gauge) is a standardization of the sizing system of cables in North America. It provides a standard reference for comparing all types of conductor materials. This helps in guiding manufacturers to know what size of wires need to be made to meet the certain AWG size.

Understanding AWG In Ethernet Cable

The AWG is used to show the number of steps involved in the process of wire drawing. Wire drawing is a metalworking process of reducing the cross-sections of a wire by pulling the cable through a series of single or series of drawing dies. The process then goes on to create a size of the cables wires. As a result of that the AWG number and the size of the wire have an inverse relationship.

  • A smaller AWG number indicates larger wires. For example, a 22AWG cable has larger wires than a 28AWG cable.
  • Conversely, larger AWG numbers correspond to smaller wires. Thus, a 26AWG cable will have smaller wires than a 24AWG cable.

What is AWG American Wire Gauge

It is also worth mentioning that stranded cables generally have slightly larger outside diameters than solid conductors because of the addition of the cross sectional area between the strands. This is what helps that type of cable be more flexible.

Here's an example chart of more AWG size requirements on solid cable conductors:

AWG Size Chart for Solid Conductors:

AWG Size Diameter (mm) Diameter (Inch)
30 AWG 0.251 mm 0.0099 inch
29 AWG 0.284 mm 0.0112 inch
28 AWG 0.318 mm 0.0125 inch
27 AWG 0.358 mm 0.0141 inch
26 AWG 0.405 mm 0.0159 inch
25 AWG 0.455 mm 0.0179 inch
24 AWG 0.511 mm 0.0201 inch
23 AWG 0.576 mm 0.0226 inch
22 AWG 0.643 mm 0.0253 inch

Note: The numbers provided in this chart are for demonstration purposes only and may not accurately represent the specifications of actual products. For precise information on product specifications, please refer to the manufacturer's documentation or contact the supplier directly.

Using AWG Size Information

When selecting connectors, such as modular RJ45 plugs, the AWG size on the cable can serve as a helpful reference. Matching the gauge size of the cable with the corresponding AWG connectors ensures compatibility and optimal performance. For instance, if your cable is 23 AWG, it's advisable to use 23 AWG RJ45 connectors. Additionally, ensure that the connector type (unshielded, shielded, solid, or stranded) matches that of the cable.

Final Thoughts

Understanding AWG size is essential for making informed decisions when shopping for Ethernet cables. It not only provides insights into cable performance but also guides connector selection to ensure compatibility and optimal functionality. If you have any further questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to us!


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