why haven't ethernet connectors changed?

Kurt kurt at idb-sys.com
Thu Dec 20 18:35:45 UTC 2012

If you've ever dealt with connections like micro-usb on a day-in-day out
plugging and unplugging at not quite head on connections, you know how bad
this can be on a hardwired connection.  With very few exceptions, its very
difficult to have an rj45 go in any way but the way its designed to (well
you can, but you have to try reeeeeeeally hard).

Add onto it that any replacement would be caught in enough intellectual
property rights junk to price it into oblivion and would either require tons
of adapters to make it work with legacy hardware (defeat the purpose), or
would require replacing all of that legacy hardware entirely.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Loftis [mailto:mloftis at wgops.com] 
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 1:29 PM
To: Michael Thomas
Cc: NANOG list
Subject: Re: why haven't ethernet connectors changed?

It's not all about density.  You *Must* have positive retention and
alignment.  None of the USB nor firewire standards provide for positive
retention.  eSATA does sort of in some variants but the connectors for USB
are especially delicate and easy to break off and destroy.  There's the size
of the Cat5/5e/6 cable to be considered too.

Then you must consider that the standard must allow for local termination,
the RJ45 (And it's relatives) are pretty good at this.  Fast, reliable,
repeatable termination with a single simple tool that requires only a little
bit of mechanical input from the user of the tool.

On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM, Michael Thomas <mike at mtcc.com> wrote:

> I was looking at a Raspberry Pi board and was struck with how large 
> the ethernet connector is in comparison to the board as a whole. It 
> strikes me: ethernet connectors haven't changed that I'm aware in 
> pretty much 25 years. Every other cable has changed several times in 
> that time frame. I imaging that if anybody cared, ethernet cables 
> could be many times smaller. Looking at wiring closets, etc, it seems 
> like it might be a big win for density too.
> So why, oh why, nanog the omniscient do we still use rj45's?
> Mike


"Genius might be described as a supreme capacity for getting its possessors
into trouble of all kinds."
-- Samuel Butler

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