The development history of micro-coaxial connectors

9 月 2, 2023 CONNECTOR

Micro-coaxial cables have an external conductor that provides electromagnetic shielding, making it less susceptible to external electromagnetic waves or noise. This provides the cable with high flexibility and excellent shielding performance. To harness these advantages, it is necessary to handle and terminate these small cables individually, enabling micro-coaxial cables to be used as jumpers for digital signal connections. In the past, micro-coaxial cables were only used in expensive equipment like medical devices due to the difficulty in producing stable-quality cables, and they were not widely used in general consumer electronics.

In the 1990s, laptops with color LCD screens became widely used, offering higher image quality and faster display transmission. As a result, micro-coaxial cables emerged as a highly flexible and high-speed transmission solution for connecting and disconnecting the display. I-PEX was at the forefront of developing a connector that efficiently and reliably connected micro-coaxial cables, along with the technology to attach these small-sized cables to the connector. In 1996, I-PEX introduced the world’s first micro-coaxial connector, “CABLINE® I,” designed for differential transmission of digital signals. It was adopted for the first time in consumer laptops as a jumper connection for digital signals using micro-coaxial connectors.

The development of ‘CABLINE®-VS

Around 2006, the LED backlight system started to be adopted for laptop displays. Around the same time, to improve the compatibility of display connections and help display manufacturers and panel consumers better control the supply and demand cycle of panels, the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) focused on standardizing the connectors for laptop panels.

I-PEX CABLINE® series micro-coaxial connectors had already been used in laptop display connections and gained widespread recognition in the display industry. To obtain VESA certification for connectors, I-PEX initiated a development project for a new micro-coaxial connector called CABLINE®-VS, which would enable high-speed signal transmission and high connection reliability in compact sizes and narrow pitches. (The name “VS” stands for “VESA Standard,” as the purpose of developing the connector was to obtain VESA standard certification.)

In August 2009, after a long development process and overcoming various challenges, CABLINE®-VS was certified as the panel standard connector for the VESA “16:9 Widescreen Notebook Panel with LED Backlight Standard.” Additionally, CABLINE®-VS received the “Outstanding Award” in the 14th ADY 2009 (Advanced Display of the Year) as a recognition of its contribution to the flat panel display industry. Today, CABLINE®-VS continues to be widely used as the standard connector for laptop displays and is highly regarded for its excellent performance and stability (I-PEX has shipped over one billion CABLINE®-VS connectors in the 10 years since obtaining VESA standard certification).

The present and future of micro-coaxial connectors:

With the development of high-speed internet and the increasing utilization of high-capacity storage devices, high-resolution images and videos can be easily shared on consumer products such as personal computers, tablets, and smartphones. The amount of information to be processed on these devices has dramatically increased, and the signal speeds of the devices have become faster. When electronic devices are exposed to external electromagnetic noise, unexpected electrical signals may interfere with the internal circuits, leading to failures or damage to high-performance electronic components and potential device malfunction.

As the next-generation panel connector of CABLINE®-VS, I-PEX is also developing EMC shielded connectors called ZenShield® to meet various applications and design conditions. ZenShield® connectors provide circuit board designers with greater flexibility by allowing the connector to be placed close to sensitive subsystems, such as transceiver antennas commonly found in high-performance wireless communication systems. These connectors enhance electromagnetic compatibility and shielding performance, minimizing the impact of external electromagnetic interference on electronic devices.

As data rates increase, servers rely more on cable assemblies. These cable assemblies need to minimize their size for easy assembly within server systems while maintaining unobstructed airflow for effective cooling. Flexibility is advantageous for both high-speed and low-speed internal cables, as well as for compact and low-height designs. Micro-coaxial cables, along with I-PEX CABLINE® series connectors, enable higher interconnect densities, reducing the system space required for wiring and cable assembly terminations. This allows for more efficient and compact server designs.

I-PEX is committed to continuously innovating and expanding its micro coaxial connector product line. We are committed to providing ultra compact connectors, excellent Signal integrity solutions and comprehensive technical support. The goal of I-PEX is to meet the constantly evolving needs of various industries and applications, providing reliable and high-performance connectivity solutions. I-PEX focuses on miniaturization, advanced technology, and customer support, aiming to stay at the forefront of the micro coaxial connector industry.

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