A coaxial cable tap or splitter is used to distribute or combine a coaxial cable connection. Although both are used for the same function, choosing the right one has a huge impact on what is supposed to achieve in your network.
What is a coaxial cable tap and a coaxial splitter?
A Coaxial cable tap or splitter are devices that will allow multiple access for the same signal. There is a huge variety of these devices, with different numbers of outputs and different loss types. For example, a Splitter with 2 outputs usually has a loss of 4,5dB on each output and if the number of outputs increases the loss for the outputs also increases.
How to differentiate a coaxial tap and a splitter?
Although these devices are very similar, the major difference between them is the number of outputs and how we define that number, the loss of the outputs and when we should use one over the other.
The coaxial splitter has an input, designated as IN for the entry of the signal that we want to split, and the other connections are outputs, usually designated as TAP with the indication of the loss on each output.
Example: 2 Way splitter
The Tap has an input, designated as IN for the entry of the signal that we want to split, but differently from the splitter this device as 1 output without any loss of the signal, designated as OUT, and the other outputs are designated as TAP that have the indication of each loss. Have in mind that this solution as the advantage to have one output without loss but the other one the loss is higher than the splitter for the same number of outputs.
Example: 1 Way TAP
Although these devices are similar, the number of outputs is different. For the coaxial cable splitter, the number of outputs is all countable but for the coaxial cable Tap the number of outputs that are countable are only the ones that have a loss of signal, the TAPS. The examples above are very similar but the splitter is called 2-way and the TAP is called 1-Way.
When should be used a Tap instead of a Splitter on a network?
The TAP device is mostly used at the beginning of the network because we would want to lose less signal when creating our coaxial network.
Because of the requirements that we now have for the signal strength on each outlet in our home, this management of when to use a splitter or a tap is very important.
At the beginning of the installation, the device to be installed is the tap. The outputs have a bigger loss than the splitter but because at this time the signal is very strong, we will have no problem with that loss on our network.
At the end of the installation, the device that should be installed is the splitter. The main reason is because there is no continuation of the network and for that reason choosing a splitter is better.
This information is also applicable to the Outdoor Splitters and Taps.
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