History of Micro-Coaxial Connector

Micro-coaxial cable has an outer conductor that provides an electromagnetic shield, causing the electrical signal transmitted through the center conductor to be less susceptible to electromagnetic waves (or electromagnetic noise) from the outside. This gives the cable a high degree of flexibility as well as high shielding performance. In order to provide these benefits, it is necessary to process and terminate these small cables one by one, so that micro-coaxial cables can be used as a jumper connection for digital signals. In the past, it was difficult to produce the cables with stable quality, so micro-coaxial cables were only used in a few devices such as expensive medical equipment and they were not widely used in general consumer electronic products.

Notebook PCs, which began to be widely used in the 1990s, are equipped with color liquid crystal screens and have higher image quality, while the display transmission speed has gotten faster. As a result, having a connection method with excellent flexibility while opening and closing the display, as well as providing high-speed transmission performance, micro-coaxial cables were starting to get attention. I-PEX pioneered the development of a connector that can connect micro-coaxial cables efficiently and with stable quality, while establishing the technology to connect those small size cables to connectors at once. In 1996, I-PEX announced the world's first micro-coaxial connector, “CABLINE® I”, for digital signal differential transmission. As a result, it was adopted in consumer notebook PCs for the first time as the digital signal jumper connection using a micro-coaxial connector.




"CABLINE®-VS" Development

Around 2006, the backlight system used in notebook PC displays began to change to LEDs, and around that same time, the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) that work on display standardization, began to consider standardizing connectors used for notebook PC panels, in order to improve the compatibility of display connectivity and help display manufacturers and panel consumers to better control panel supply and demand cycles. I-PEX CABLINE® series micro-coaxial connectors were already used for notebook PC display connections and had been widely recognized in the display industry. In order to obtain the connector standard certification by VESA, I-PEX started a project to develop a new micro-coaxial connector called CABLINE®-VS that enables high-speed signal transmission and high connection reliability in a compact size with a narrow board pitch. (The name "VS" came from "VESA Standard". The connector was developed with intention of winning the standard certification by VESA.)

In August 2009, after spending a lot of development time and overcoming many difficulties, the CABLINE®-VS was certified as the standard connector for the panel in “16:9 Wide Notebook Panel with LED Backlight Standard” of VESA. In addition, CABLINE®-VS was awarded the “Outstanding Prize” in the 14th Advanced Display of the Year (ADY2009) for the first time as a connector, recognizing its contribution to the flat panel display industry. Today, CABLINE®-VS is still widely used as a standard connector for notebook PC displays and is highly regarded for its excellent performance and stability. (I-PEX has shipped more than 1 billion CABLINE®-VS units over 10 years since the standard certification by VESA.)




Today and  Future of Micro-Coaxial Connectors

As high-speed internet improves and the usage of large-capacity memory devices increases, high-resolution images and videos can be enjoyed more easily on consumer products such as PCs, tablets and smartphones. The amount of information that needs to be processed on these devices has dramatically increased and the signal speed of the device has been getting faster and faster. When electromagnetic noise is added from the outside in such electronic devices, unintended electrical signals may be induced to the circuits in the devices causing a malfunction or damage to high-performance electronic components which may also lead to electronic device breakage. As a next-generation panel connector for CABLINE®-VS, I-PEX is also developing a number of EMC shielding connectors (ZenShield®) to meet various application and design conditions. ZenShield® connectors give board designers more flexibility for designing the board by allowing the connectors to be placed in close proximity to sensitive subsystems, such as transmit/receive antennas, that are commonly found in high-performance wireless communication systems.




As data rates increase, servers are using more cable assemblies. These cable assemblies need to minimize their size so that the server system is both easy to assemble, while having unobstructed air flow. Flexibility is a benefit for both high- and low-speed internal cables, as well as being low profile. Micro-coaxial cables with I-PEX CABLINE® series connectors allow higher density interconnect, reducing system space for routing and cable assembly terminations.




I-PEX will continue to innovate and expand our micro-coaxial connector product line, while delivering extremely small connectors, excellent signal integrity solutions and incomparable support.