Coaxial Adapters: What are the different types available?

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

When the interfaces are incompatible, an adapter can resolve the connectivity problem. Every cable has its pair of adapters to support it. The coaxial cable also has specific adapters to regulate the signal flow. Then, what are coaxial adapters?

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What are Coaxial Cable Adapters?

Coaxial cable adapters, just like other connectors, are small pieces of metal that are present on the end of a coax cable. They can connect two wires as well as a source to a receiver. Moreover, in the market, the coaxial adapters are a large category consisting of splitters, attenuators, couplers, bushings, male-female connectors, and terminating plugs.

You might hear the term coaxial cable adapters for RF connectors in most cases. It is because both are used in audio-visual and television applications. Moreover, the coax has two goals: sending the signals from source to receiver and maintaining physical contact between the cables.

Although HDMI and other advancements have made few connections relatively straightforward, the coax connector adapter has a crucial position in the industry. It is because of the ability of the coaxial cable to handle both Ethernet and television programs without significant interference. Thus, many home networks have laid foundations over the coaxial cable even though it is expensive.

Different Coaxial Cable Audio Adapters

Caption: Different Coaxial Cable Audio Adapters

Where a coaxial adapter may be required

You may need an adapter in two different situations:

  • Suppose one or both connectors on a cable can not work with the RFID reader or antenna.
  • In manufacturing, you can buy an antenna and reader to try out if you are still in the testing stage of the product. However, it can cost you a hefty amount. So, instead of buying a lot of different cables for each reader and antenna, you can buy one cable and a few adapters.
Television Antenna Coaxial Cable adapters

Caption: Television Antenna Coaxial Cable adapters

Main types of Coaxial cable adapter

Coaxial adapters regulate the current flow with different types of couping methods.

  • Screwed coupling
  • Snap-on coupling
  • Bayonet coupling

Moreover, there are three kinds of antenna cable adapters that you can find on the market.

  • In Series RF adapters, through which you can connect two identical RFends. Adapters with N-Type connections on both ends are an example. Furthermore, you can find the conversions depending on gender in series connectors (male to female, female-to-female, male to male). You might also refer to these connections as gender changes.
  • Between Series Adapter, through which you can link two distinct types of radiofrequency connectors. Moreover, the connections in the various interfaces on the adapter are meticulously machined to minimize signal loss when the adapter structurally switches between its connector types.
  • Pigtail adapters use a smaller length of lower loss coaxial cable to link a miniature RF connector or a micro-miniature to a plug of a larger class. For example, a PCB-mounted connector and a standard connector may not fit in an extremely densely packed area. Hence, you can use these connections to connect the two. In addition, you can also employ the larger and more robust connector, saving a class of micro-miniature connectors from being continually re-mated.

Connector Classes of Coaxial Cable Adapters

Here is the list of all interfaces you can commonly find in the coax adapter range.

SMA adapters

SMA or Sub-Miniature type A is a semi-precision connector used in small areas. The compact design and screw coupling mating mechanism make a secure connection with other parts.

Applications of SMA adapters

Typical applications of SMA adapters include the areas of defense, radio astronomy, aerospace, testing, and measurement sector. However, it has found its way to telecommunications, wireless networking, and radio navigation with the advancements.

Common SMA adapter configurations 

  • SMA female connector to male 
  • Female to a female bulkhead 
  • right-angled male to SMA female connector 
  • Male SMA to RP-SMA Male
  • SMA Female  Connector to TNC Male 
  • Male SMA to FME Male
  • SMA Male connector to Type-N Male
  • Female SMA to U.FL adapter
  • Female SMA to BNC Female

RP-SMA adapters

RP SMA or Reversed polarity SMA adapters are the same as SMA. However, their reverse polarity prevents the customers from connecting the high-power antenna to their wireless devices.

Applications of RP-SMA adapters

RP-SMA have remained the prevalent RF adapters used in devices like WiFi routers, 2.4 to 5 GHz antennas, and access points. Moreover, you can also use RP-SMA to SMA adapter to build a competent link among the common plug types.

Common RP-SMA adapter configurations 

  • SMA male to RP-SMA female 
  • Right angle Male RP-SMA to RP-SMA female  
  • RP-SMA female to RP-SMA bulkhead female  
  • RP-SMA female to MMCX male 

TNC adapters

Neil Concelman or TNC is a version with Bayonet Neil Concelman BNC threads. TNC makes much more stable screw coupling than BNC and thus, is ideal for places with great shocks and vibrations.

Applications of TNC adapters

TNC adapters are used in a wide range of wireless and telecommunications applications where a robust and sturdy connection is essential. Because they are durable and can handle a lot of power, they are also common in defense, space, and aviation settings.

Common TNC adapter configurations

  • Male TNC to RP-TNC female adapter
  • Female TNC to SMA female adapter 
  • Male TNC to N male adapter 
  • Male TNC to RP-SMA female adapter 

RP-TNC adapters

Reverse Polarity TNC is similar to normal TNC as they are electrically identical. However, the RP-TNC has reversed mating surfaces of male/female connectors.

Applications of RP-TNC adapters

You can also use the RP-TNC for wireless connection gears like the RP-SMA. Moreover, you can also apply them to connecting antennas, routers, and WAPs of different kinds.

Common RP-TNC adapter configurations 

  • Male RP-TNC to RP-SMA male adapter 
  • Female RP-TNC to SMA female adapter 
  • Male RP-TNC to N male adapter 

BNC adapters

In most applications, you can choose BNC adapters to make the between series or in-series connections that have BNC connectors.

Applications of BNC adapters

You can use standard BNC adapters of 50-Ohms for testing, radio, telecom, measurement, and network applications. Moreover, you can also apply it to analog video usage.

Common BNC adapter configurations

  • Male BNC to RP-SMA male adapter 
  • Female BNC to SMA female adapter 

N Connector adapters

N connectors are the first of their type that supports microwave frequencies. Moreover, they are waterproof and rough, and thus, they are suitable for outside antenna applications.

Applications of N Connector adapters

Since the N-connectors are robust, you can use them in defense and industrial applications. Thus, N-connectors are present in radars, Satcoms, base station installations, and cellular networking.

Common N Connector adapter configurations

  • Female N to female bulkhead N adapter 
  • Male N to RP SMA female adapter 

U.FL adapters

The Ultra-miniature coax connector is among the most straightforward and thinnest radio frequency connectors. Furthermore, U.FL adapters let bigger connectors connect to a PCB through a U.FL connector.

Applications of U.FL adapters

U.FL adapters are critical for connecting external antennas to PCB radio circuits. Hence, Antennas with SMA or RP-SMA connectors can be securely coupled to the U.FL. Also, U.FL pigtails are great for connecting RF research kits.

Common U.FL adapter configurations

  • U.FL male to RP SMA male adapter 
  • U.FL to SMA adapter

MCX adapters

Micro Coaxial connectors are used in denser settings. Further, they are lightweight and 30 percent smaller than the SMB connectors.

Applications of MCX adapters

As the MCX connector is small, functional, and easy to use, you can use it for many different things. Thus, GPS, wireless, and cellular networks all use MCX adapters to connect.

Common MCX adapter configurations

  • SMA male to MCX adapter 
  • MCX to RP-SMA adapter 
  • MCX to FME adapter  
Types of plugs and coaxial connectors

Caption: Types of plugs and coaxial connectors

What is a T-splitter / Y adapter?

T splitters or Y adapters are passive frequency systems. They extract a pulse from a satellite and send two signals through two cables. The input signal is cut in half. However, you can choose the T-splitters according to the RF plugs.

Conclusion

Coaxial Adapter aid the connection between the two wires or interfaces. Here at Cloom, we offer wiring harnesses and cable assemblies. And your relationship is made with attention to detail. Also, with a wide range and shapes available, you can get a coaxial cable adapter in almost every shape and size. To avail of our services, contact us now.

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