Here, we aim to shed some light on the most common connectors for wireless applications and help you identify which connector you require. Be aware the informtion in this article is not "definitive" as some connectors look very similar to each other i.e. CRC9 and TS9, but at a minimum it should help you narrow down your connector search to one or two options.
The most common wireless connectors on routers, access points and gateways. There are typically two types of SMA connector:
SMA-Male (SMA Plug) - Either a nickel plated or gold plated brass barrel (often hex shaped) with thread on the inside and a pin in the middle. The SMA-Male connector looks like this:
SMA-Female (SMA Jack) - Either a nickel plated or gold plated brass barrel with a thread on the outside of the barrel and no pin. The SMA-Female connector looks like this:
SMA connectors can be used on microcoax such as 1.13 and other cable types including RG174, RG178, RG58, 195 and 400 Type cable such as BWL195 and BWL400 (LMR195 / LMR400).
Similar to SMA, but effectively the pins reversed.
RP-SMA Plug - Either a nickel plated or gold plated brass barrel (often hex shaped) with a thread on the inside and not pin. The RP-SMA plug looks like this:
The CRC9 connector is often used across a number of cellular, GSM, 3G and 4G dongles and modems (typically on devices from Huawei). Very similar in appearance to the TS9 connector, the CRC9 plug has either nickel plated or gold plated circular barrel with slots at the end and has a pin. The CRC9 connector looks like this:
The CRC9 connector is suitable for RG174, RG178 and RG316 only. Antennas with CRC9 connectors can be found at Connex.
The TS9 connector is often used across a number of cellular, GSM, 3G and 4G dongles, datacards and modems. Very similar in appearance to the CRC9 connector, the TS9 plug has either nickel plated or gold plated circular barrel with slots at the end and has a pin. The TS9 connector looks like this:
The TNC connector is a more traditional RF coax connector. To differentiate between TNC and BNC, a good way is think TNC =Twist (and BNC is Bayonet). There are two types of standard TNC - TNC-Male (Plug) and TNC-Female (Jack). The TNC connectors look like this:
The BNC connector is another more traditional RF connector. Think BNC for "Bayonet" to help identify it. There two types of BNC - BNC-Male (Plug) and BNC-Female (Jack). The BNC Male Plug connector looks like this:
The N-Type connectors are fairly robust RF coax connectors and there are two standard models - N-Male (Plug) and N-Female (Jack). Please note that N-Female connectors are quite commonly presented on quality outdoor antennas such as the FGO antenna. The N-Male and N-Female connectors look like this:
MMCX is a small RF coax connector used on some cellular modems and small devices. The MMCX-Male (Plug) is widely available in straight and right-angle versions. The MMCX-Female (Jack) is usually a straight connector only. The MMCX is suitable for microcoax i.e. 1.13mm diameter, RG174 and RG178 only.
The MMCX-Male (Plugs) connectors look like this:
|MMCX-Male Plug RA|
|MMCX Male Plug Straight|
The MMCX-Female (Jack) connector looks like this:
|MMCX Female Jack Straight|
The FME connectors have been widely used for cellular applications for many years, but are now tending to be dropped in favour of SMA or CRC9/TS9 connectors. There are male and female versions of the FME connector - FME-Female is a longish connector with a thread on the outside of the barrel and white "nipple" at the end. The FME-Male is typicaly nickel plated brass and has the thread on the inside of the barrel and a pin (be careful not to confuse this with a N-Type male as on first glance it can look quite similar). The connectors look like this:
The U.FL is a microcoax connector designed only for micro-coax such as 1.13mm diameter cable. A very low profile connector it is often used as an embedded connector inside a device. The U.FL plug is the only U.FL connector that can be attached to a cable. The U.FL receptacle is typically a surface-mount connector. The U.FL plug looks like this:
|U.FL Plug Front|
|U.FL Plug Rear|
There are a number of U.FL compatible connectors such as IPEX connectors which are cheaper, but essentially have the same function as U.FL. An example of such a connector can be found below:
|IPEX Plug Front|
I hope this brief article has been of use in helping you identify the 10 most common RF coax connectors for wireless applications. Please feel free to contact us with any requirements you may have. Standard cable assemblies can be found at www.connextech.co.uk including SMA, U.FL, CRC9, TS9 and many more. Further information on our antennas can be found at www.ead-ltd.com and www.specialistantennas.co.uk