The invention of end launch connectors has eased the task of engineers and technicians working with RF systems, wireless, cellular, and microwave systems. Built to transition microwave energy from coaxial to planar transmission line structures, these connectors offer a distinctive solution for engineers working on PCB (printed circuit boards) and circuit designs within thin high-frequency board substrates.

End launch connectors serve various applications and are used widely in chip evaluations, signal integrity measurements, coplanar waveguide, substrate characterization, and 25 Gigabit Ethernet and test fixture applications. However, these connectors are more preferably used in applications requiring high-frequency options or where high performance is needed.

An End Launch Connector is a coaxial connector. This connector is typically used to connect a coaxial cable to a test board by mounting it at the edge or end of the test or PCB board. The major function of end launch connectors in such a board is to transition microwave energy from a coaxial cable to the planar transmission line structures of a circuit on a PCB board.

Different types of connectors are manufactured for various purposes. However, the three main configurations available include angled end-launch connectors, horizontal end-launch connectors, and vertical end-launch connectors. End Launch Connectors are an economical and efficient alternative to regular connectors as their design decreases reflections over right-angle (perpendicular) or mount vertical-mount connectors.

Let’s take a look at the various applications for these connectors, which include:

Power Amplifiers for Wireless Communication

In wireless transmissions technology, modulated waves or signals are transmitted over long distances via the air. Antennas are used to transmit such signals or waves and the range of the transmission is directly dependent on the power of the signal that the antenna receives. To increase the magnitude of the signals to reach the required transmission distance, power amplifiers are employed. End launch connectors are an essential component used in building these power amplifiers, such as Broadband MMIC Power Amplifiers and Cellular Linear Power Amplifiers.

Antennas

Antennas are a basic component of an RF Wireless Communication system as their role defines ‘WIRELESS’ in wireless communication. The primary function of an antenna is to convert radio frequency (RF) fields into alternating current or vice versa. Placed at both ends of a communication system, transmission antennas transmit signals while receiving antennas receive them. Antennas play an important role in the functioning of all radio equipment and are used in mobile telephony, wireless local area networks, and satellite communication. Antennas can be very large or very small and can have a wide range of applications, from radio astronomy to indoor personal communications to deep-space communications. End launch connectors are an important element used for building antennas used in these applications.

High-Speed Routers and Switches

End launch connectors are used widely in manufacturing high-speed routers and switches. In a computer networking system, switches are used to connect multiple devices on the same network within a premise. Routers, on the other hand, tie together multiple networks. Routers evaluate the data being sent over a network, modify it, and send it over to another network. They help in keeping computers connected, in a safe and secure manner. Switches are usually implemented for larger networks. However, both routers and switches are used interchangeably.

These are some of the applications of End launch connectors. Leading manufacturers and providers design this component in a manner that it provides low VSWR (Voltage Standing Wave Ratio) for single and multi-layered PCBs. Connectors are manufactured in sizes ranging from 1mm up to 2.92mm and in SMA format as well. These can be availed in male and female options with a unique clamping mechanism.

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Hebe Ye
RF Engineer with10 years' work experience
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