Coaxial cable conducts electrical signal using an inner conductor (usually a solid copper, stranded copper or copper plated steel wire) surrounded by an insulating layer and all enclosed by a shield, typically one to four layers of woven metallic braid and metallic tape. The cable is protected by an outer insulating jacket. Normally, the shield is kept at ground potential and a voltage is applied to the center conductor to carry electrical signals. The advantage of coaxial design is that electric and magnetic fields are confined to the dielectric with little leakage outside the shield. On the converse, electric and magnetic fields outside the cable are largely kept from causing interference to signals inside the cable. Larger diameter cables and cables with multiple shields have less leakage. This property makes coaxial cable a good choice for carrying weak signals that cannot tolerate interference from the environment or for higher electrical signals that must not be allowed to radiate or couple into adjacent structures or circuits.
Common applications of coaxial cable include video and CATV distribution, RF and microwave transmission, and computer and instrumentation data connections.