Technology providers are creating advanced new wireless system designs to accommodate extremely restricted space constraints and rising operating frequencies. These solutions need new coaxial cables and connectors to deliver high signal integrity and reliability in increasingly dense environments. Industries requiring high-density RF interconnect systems include 5G, space, and avionics.
Antenna densification is required to deliver increased peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, enhanced reliability, enormous network capacity, and increased availability for 5G. Its specifications are based on MIMO antennas, which are shrinking in size as higher frequency bands are used to accommodate larger bandwidth requirements. This translates into more antennas in a smaller space.
Small cells are a great example of this as they are packed much closer than traditional macro-telecom towers, often only 100 yards or so apart. Demand for high-density cabling solutions to accommodate the necessary connections in smaller, more compact installations will continue to grow. This includes high-density interconnect solutions, such as multiport connectors and coaxial cable bundles.
Bundled coaxial cables use a coaxial feeder cable bundled under a common outer jacket. This innovative design acts as the perfect flexible antenna jumper for applications requiring multiple runs, such as 5G small cells located on towers or building-top sites.
The increasing demand for high coverage antennas has also led to substantial growth in the number of ports on antennas and RF devices. Hooking up the right cables to the correct ports, weather sealing, and torqueing are all concerns in this scenario. Multiport connectors can be used in this instance to reduce the number of connections.
This type of “RF cluster connector” incorporates multiple RF ports in one connector, enabling antennas to provide more ports without the need to increase dimensions. There are standardized designs that encompass a four-contact connector and a five-contact connector including our TMQ4 and TMQ5 multiport connectors. These can significantly reduce the number of cables that have to be hooked up, saving a lot of labor and creating a more rugged solution. They also make the assembly more weatherproof and UV resistant and reduce the need to worry about coupling torque.
Equipment used to power space technology must be lightweight, small, reliable, and resistant to high-shock and vibration, radiation, and harsh/extreme temperatures. RF coaxial cable assemblies must be designed to perform reliably in the smallest possible footprint. The high-frequency cables required for space applications also have a shorter range, requiring a dense network of antennas.
Our new InstaBend® high-performance microwave assemblies provide a flexible preassembled design for interconnects between RF circuit cards, modules, and enclosure panels, enabling space-efficient implementation for higher frequencies. The cable can be bent around tight corners and very closely behind the connector, minimizing footprint, saving room, and simplifying cable routing in tight spaces.
Avionics applications also have limited space as they accommodate more application needs throughout the vehicle. In the past, it may have been common to have 12 antennas on a commercial airframe, but there are now about 50 or more. The increasing number of antennas in aircraft environments also creates the need for more electronic boxes and their connections.
Additionally, minimizing space between the cables and connectors is necessary for the interconnect system to survive the high vibration. InstaBend is also a great fit here. Our Instabend assemblies withstand high vibration and other harsh environmental conditions, ensuring a consistent, long-lasting connection.
Additionally, a new generation of locking miniature push-on connectors, such as our TLMP™, is specifically designed to address the shortcomings of SMP-style connectors. The TLMP connector retains the small form factor of the SMP for highly dense environments but adds improved environmental, shielding, and power capabilities, with a frequency range from DC to 60 GHz. A positive locking feature with visible green (locked) and red (unlocked) color coding prevents de-mating under vibration and shock.
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