High-frequency connectors are used to connect printed circuit boards, cables, and devices together, allowing for the transmission of extremely high frequencies.
A constant wave resistance (impedance) must be maintained throughout the transmission system at all times.
The variety of connections available varies from microscopic to big and even heavy connectors – all of which must perform consistently and reliably no matter how demanding the environment.
Not only are connections crucial for enabling present and future technologies, but they also need to be able to adapt to changing ecological and economic situations, endure ever-increasing transmission rates, and meet the high standards of performance and dependability that are expected of them.
Such criteria are applicable across all industries, whether in communication, medical, industrial, automotive, consumer products, or other high-tech applications, as well as in government.
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What exactly are coaxial connectors?
Coaxial connections are becoming increasingly high frequency signal while also becoming smaller in size, thanks in part to the development of test equipment such as vector network analyzers (VNAs) for higher frequency signal use, which is driving the trend.
Higher-frequency coaxial connection design, on the other hand, entails more than merely reducing the size of the connector and inventing innovative connector interfaces.
Connectors that are capable of operating at higher millimeter-wave frequencies have been aided not only by advancements in VNA technology but also by the solid mechanical design of shrinking connector components—to the point where coaxial VNA testing at 100 GHz and higher frequencies is becoming almost routine—and are becoming increasingly common.
As the use of coaxial connections has grown in popularity, two techniques of mating center conductors have been used historically: hermaphroditic contact and male-pin/slotted-female contact.
The non-sexed method had several advantages, the most important of which was the fact that just one type of connection was necessary. As frequencies rose, these connections were made smaller so that they could continue to operate in a single mode.
Due to the widespread use of the SMA connection, the non-sexed connector was effectively phased out.
However, as connections got smaller for high frequency applications, it became more difficult to manufacture butt-type connectors because pin depth tolerances were more essential and the smaller diameters made it more difficult to establish a robust contact.
Such considerations would boost the cost of the connections much over the cost of a basic male pin/slotted female contact arrangement.
The male/female contact method became the industry standard for connections operating at high frequency.
A slot-less female design was created for metrology applications, however, it became unusable after the introduction of the 2.4-mm connection with a frequency of 50 GHz.
Slotted connections, on the other hand, are not without their drawbacks.
Designs such as the SMA connection with its two-slot female contact are simple and inexpensive to manufacture, but they are prone to breakage and failure.
A half-round feature is not very flexible, and the SMA connector was originally designed to withstand just 500 connections before it failed completely.
Due to the fact that SMA designs have a lengthy male pin, which allows the center conductors to engage before the outside wires align the connections, it is possible to harm the female contact if the connectors are not properly mated.
Two Problems With Coaxial Connector
A four-slot contact, such as those used in 3.5-mm connections intended for interoperability with SMA connector types, is significantly more robust than a two-slot contact. These precise connections were required for calibrated VNA usage because of their air-interface design, but they were not without their own set of issues.
The size of the male pin was chosen to be 0.914 mm in order to be compatible with SMA connectors (0.036 in.).
Due to the fact that the center conductor diameter of the 3.5-mm connection is 1.52 mm (0.060 in. ), there are two issues.
First and foremost, the wall thickness of the female connector fingers is 0.3 mm (0.012 in. ), which is very thick for contact with such a tiny diameter.
After slotting, the fingers are closed and the component is heat-treated to seal in the slotted pattern.
If the contact is closed by a little margin, it will be unreliable.
The insertion force required to match the connections will become rather considerable if the connectors are closed by even a little amount too much.
Such a large amount of strain causes excessive wear and may eventually cause the support beads that keep the center conductors in place to become distorted.
The greater wall thickness of the 3.5-mm connection resulted in increased pin gap reflection due to the huge pin gap.
There is an impedance of 80 Ohms in the gap part of the circuit.
Pin gap reflections are produced as a result of the higher-impedance line section generated by the exposed male pin.
Many of these issues were alleviated with the introduction of the 2.92-mm K connection, which operated at 40 GHz and was introduced about 1985.
In order for the center conductors to engage, the outer conductor portions had to align the two connections first.
This prevented the male pin from injuring the female connector section if it was placed at an obtuse angle. In order to achieve a finger wall thickness of 0.18 mm, the center-conductor diameter of the K connection was designed to be 1.27 mm (0.050 in) in diameter (0.007 in.).
In practice, this meant that the fingers were more flexible and the insertion pressure was significantly decreased.
The result was that K connectors were designed to handle 4000 connections.
Agilent Technologies was the company that first created the 2.4-mm connection for 50-GHz and the 1.85-mm connector for 65-GHz frequencies.
It was necessary to create a 2.4 GHz connection interface in order to accommodate millimeter-wave frequencies in order for the company to launch its coaxial 50-GHz VNA.
Anritsu/Wiltron Co. introduced the 1.85-mm V connection in support of a coaxial 60-GHz VNA that they were developing.
Improvements in the design of the V connection bead made it feasible for the frequency coverage of coaxial VNAs to increase first to 65 GHz, then to 67 GHz, and finally to 70 GHz. Agilent released a 110-GHz 1-mm connection, which was quickly followed by the launch of a 110-GHz W connector by Anritsu, which coincided with the debut of their 110-GHz coaxial VNA.
Anritsu has introduced a 0.8-mm coaxial connection for use in the construction of a coaxial VNA system with a frequency range of 70 kHz to 145 GHz.
Finding machine equipment to manufacture tiny connections becomes a difficulty, despite the fact that small drills with diameters as small as 0.05 mm are available.
For the holes in the support beads to be created, drills are necessary. It will also be necessary to use a fine saw to cut slots in the female center conductor, one that has the capability of cutting deep enough to create slots that are long enough. In this case, the finest-dimensioned saw could be used (as was the case with the 0.025-mm saw that was available); the resultant slotted female contact would be very delicate.
With a thin-walled design, the insertion force and contact pressure would be extremely little, as would be the amount of contact pressure.
The contact pressure would be larger with a thick-walled connection design, but the finger flexibility would be minimal.
What are the different sizes of coaxial cables?
Coaxial cables are available in a number of configurations, each differentiated by its gauge and impedance characteristics.
Gauge relates to the thickness of the cable and is denoted by a Radio Guide or RG number, with higher numbers denoting thinner conducting cores and lower numbers denoting thicker cores.
The term “impedance” refers to the amount of electrical resistance present in a wire.
The impedance of the majority of coaxial cable is either 75 or 50 Ohm.
The former is generally utilized for video transmissions, whereas the latter is mostly used for data transmission.
Coaxial cables are available in a variety of sizes, including:
Sizes of Coaxial Cables that are often used
According to the low number, these cables feature large center conductors, substantial insulation, and specialized shielding, which enables a powerful signal to be sent.
RG-6: The cables themselves, on the other hand, are extremely thin, making them suitable for insertion in ceilings and walls.
RG-11: Because these cables are rather thick, they are more resistant to signal loss than other types of cables.
As a result, they are an excellent alternative for longer installs.
RG-59: The RG-59 is similar in appearance to the RG-6, but it has a thin center conductor, as implied by the high number. Consequently, it is most suitable for low-frequency transmission across short distances — for example, within the home.
Various Product Families for Coaxial Connectors Types
BNC Connectors are a kind of connector
BNC Connectors are designed to provide the highest level of broadcast signal integrity, quality, performance, and longevity.
One-piece and three-piece connection types are offered for broadcast applications operating at frequencies of 6 GHz and 12 GHz.
The connections outperform the SMPTE return loss standard.
Characteristics and Advantages
- Quick Deployment: A 360-degree floating-pin basket at the rear of the connection facilitates accurate and simple insertion of the cable center conductor into the connector.
- Excellent holding strength is achieved by the use of internal 360-degree compression rings, which prevent entry and egress from the connector’s rear.
- Return Loss Performance that is second to none
F Connectors are a connector types that connects two pieces of metal together
Belden’s F Connectors are ideal for CATV, SATV, and digital television signals because they provide 360-degree compression and outstanding RF shielding performance (-85 dB effective shielding). An internal O-ring at the base of the nut, which is patented, allows the nut to spin freely, making installation easier. The connector’s green color band makes it easy to distinguish it from other connectors.
Characteristics and Advantages
- Easy insertion is made possible by the use of a polymer compression sleeve, which requires the least amount of tool compression force feasible.
- Improved Performance: When compared to “twist-on” connectors, “snap-on” connectors provide more dependable couplings.
- Installation in a short period of time: The use of a floating-pin insertion guide, a guide sleeve, and a split ferrule expedites the deployment process.
10 Coaxial Connectors are available in a variety of configurations
Coaxial cable are utilized for a wide range of applications, and as a result, the connectors used with them are also diverse.
Each kind and size has been meticulously developed to mesh smoothly with the host cable and perform in a variety of situations, some of which are extremely demanding.
They must be able to withstand stresses such as impact, pressure, extreme temperatures, and vibrating surfaces.
Coaxial cable designed for radio frequency (RF) transmission necessitate the use of specific connectors that ensure constant electrical resistance at the point of connection with the cables to which they are attached.
Thus, they are relatively sensitive and susceptible to harm when handled roughly.
The following are the most common types of coaxial connectors:
1. DIN Connectors with a 7/16-inch Diameter
The purpose of these robust, threaded connectors is to join lengths of coaxial wire in settings where they are exposed to water or moisture.
DIN is an abbreviation for Deutsches Institut für Normung, which translates as German Standardization Institute.
Frequently encountered in:
- Base stations for radio transmission
- Equipment for radio and television broadcasting
2. BNC Connectors are a kind of connector
Test instruments, radio, television, and other AV equipment make use of BNC connections (Bayonet Neil-Concelman connectors), which are a smaller kind of connector.
Designed to meet the needs of:
- Connection with lightning speed Disconnection occurs in a short period of time.
3. F-Connectors are a type of connector that connects two pieces of metal together
These connections, which are also known as F-type connectors, are wide range used to transmit electrical signals to television sets.
It can be used in conjunction with:
- RG6 cables are used for a variety of applications.
- RG59 cables are used for a variety of applications.
4. CONNECTORS WITH FAST AND SECURE LOCKING
Connectors with a “snap-on” coupling mechanism are readily attached and unmated with a straight push and a straight pull, respectively.
They are particularly well suited for making connections in tight quarters or densely populated areas.
Radiall provides a comprehensive selection of standard and customized snap-on series.
The SMB and MCX interfaces are the most widely used snap-on interfaces.
One of the most significant advantages of snap-on connectors is their 360-degree rotation, which makes it simple to attach and position a right-angle plug to a receptacle when using a straight plug.
If you tug on the cable or connector, it can be quite simple to unintentionally inmate snap-on connectors, which might be perceived as a flaw.
Snap-on interfaces are sometimes referred to as “slide-on” interfaces in the literature.
To join, just press the male-female connections together; mating is maintained by spring-finger friction after the connectors have been pushed together.
Slide-on connections are helpful when connectors need to be mated and unmated repeatedly, as is the case for testing and evaluation applications.
5. CONNECTORS WITH FAST AND SECURE LOCKING
Designed to combine the convenience of a Snap-on connector with the dependability of a Screw-on connector, Quick-Lock and Secure connectors are ideal for a variety of applications.
They are equipped with a coupling mechanism that allows for rapid, easy, and dependable couplings even in the narrowest of places and without the need for tools.
In comparison to normal Screw-on connections, Quick-Lock connectors are generally 10 times faster to match and do not require the use of a torque wrench.
They have a low engagement force and allow for a greater number of interconnections per unit of space.
It is possible to rotate cables in a 360-degree circle after installation, which makes wire routing considerably simpler.
Quick-Lock and Secure connections are designed to be stress and vibration resistant in severe environments, as well as to prevent inadvertent unmating of the connectors.
6. CONNECTORS THAT ARE WATERPROOF
Waterproof connectors are constructed with O-rings that are specifically intended to prevent water from entering.
Outdoor and severe settings are ideal for the usage of these products, which include wireless network telecom antennas, radio equipment, tactical radios, and outdoor sensors among others.
Waterproof connections, often known as waterproof connectors, are offered in two primary categories: panel sealed only connectors and completely sealed connectors.
They are available in a variety of interface types, the most prevalent of which is the TNC and SMA forms of interface.
7. Connectors for FME
These are threaded connections that are tiny in size.
The term itself is an acronym that stands for ‘For Mobile Equipment.’
The following are the most often seen applications:
- Mobile equipment is a type of mobile equipment.
- MBX Connectors are a kind of connector.
- MBX Connectors are a kind of connector.
- MBX connectors are used to link different pieces of radiofrequency equipment together.
The following are the main characteristics:
- Extremely durable
- Provide a high level of power handling
- Electrical performance that is outstanding
8. CONNECTORS WITHOUT THE USE OF MAGNETS
When transmitting radio frequency signals within a magnetic field, nonmagnetic connections are utilized.
Ideally, connectors should be transparent to the magnetic field, which implies they should have low susceptibility and little field distortion.
The low susceptibility level of our connections is guaranteed at 10-5 due to Radiall’s dedicated production methods, raw material selection, and unique nonmagnetic plating.
This is in contrast to the 10-2 susceptibility level guaranteed by typical connectors composed of brass or nickel.
They are mostly employed in medical MRI imaging systems where high signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) are required for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
In addition to magnetic connections, non magnetic connectors are also available in a variety of interface sizes, the most prominent of which being MCX and SMP.
9. CONNECTORS FOR SPACE COAXIAL TRANSPORT
Radiall’s space product line comprises a diverse selection of coaxial adapter or connectors with frequency ranges extending up to the Ka band.
There are several types of connections available, including ESA certified SMA and SMA 2.9 connectors, as well as TNC, SMP, and SMP-LOCK connectors that are EPPL classed, and SSMA and 2.4mm connectors.
10. Connectors for Open Source Platforms
The mating method of these connections is either a snap-on or a slide mechanism.
Among its applications are:
- Radio-communications equipment
Our Final Thoughts
I hope you can now understand the cons and pros of using coaxial adapters or connectors and their different types.
Frequently Ask Questions
What is the difference between coaxial connections and other connectors?
Coaxial connections are typically comprised of two-conductor contacts: an outer conductor contact and an inner conductor contact.
Connectors are constructed with either air or a solid dielectric as the dielectric. Air-dielectric connections are available in a variety of sizes, including 3.5-, 2.92-, and 2.4-mm connectors, among others.
What are the many types of coax connections available?
Coax connections are available in a variety of configurations, including:
UHF (PL-259/SO-239) radio frequency
What is the purpose of coaxial cable?
Data, the internet, video, and phone communications are all sent over coax cables, which are abbreviated as coax for short.
A coax cable is composed of an aluminum and copper shield, as well as an outer plastic jacket (see image below), with the dielectric insulator assisting in the reduction of signal loss.