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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.

  • The smaller the AWG numbers means that the wire are larger. So for example a 22AWG cable has larger wires than a 28AWG cable.
  • The larger the AWG numbers the smaller the wires. So in reverse 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:


Diameter of Solid Conductors
mm In
30 AWG  0.251 0.0099
29 AWG 0.284 0.0112
28 AWG 0.318 0.0125
27 AWG 0.358 0.0141

Final Thoughts

Using the AWG size on the cable can be a helpful reference when deciding what connectors to use such as modular RJ45 plugs. If your cable is 23 AWG you want to match up the gauge size with the same AWG connectors. So 23AWG cable will match up with 23AWG RJ45's. Just make sure to also match up the correct type (Unshielded, Shielded, Solid or Stranded).

Hope this article on what is AWG was helpful, Feel free to contact us with any questions!


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