We live in a world where many people opt to go the wireless, Bluetooth route when connecting to things around them. However, the need for a solid, reliable, and dependable physical connection is still quite high, which is why d-sub (d-subminiature) connectors are quite prevalent. This once highly-visible technology might not be as synonymous with connecting to the world at large as it once was (at least to the layman), but it most certainly still serves a significant purpose to the industries that depend on them.
This isnt’ to say that d-sub connectors have all-together disappeared. But think about how the world of home computation has changed in just the last quarter century. The home desktop computer was set up on the kitchen table or a small desk off the dining area. This included a large monitor, tower, and keyboard. Each of these items all had to connect to each other in such a way where: 1) dust & other debris were kept to a minimum from the connection points; and 2) the connection was secure to ensure communication between pieces of hardware. Factor in a printer that also required a physical connection, not to mention the advent of home fax capabilities, and it is not surprising to see that at some point, everyone wanted less wires around.
As computing became more important, online access became crucial, and signal speed & integrity had to be top-tier, wireless technology started taking over as the go-to way to keep connected. This left computing systems dependent on d-sub connectors behind. It should be noted, however, that it didn’t make the function of the connector obsolete. The tech moved on, but the integrity of the connector was never in question. Case in point: fire up an old computer from the mid-90s or early 2000s with prominent d-sub connectors. Unless there’s an actual malfunction with the computer, it’ll still work.
Other places you might see d-sub connectors include:
Gaming Consoles & Controllers – Look closely at the connecting ends of your gaming console controllers or power supplies. It’s highly likely you’ve got a d-sub connector or a derivative of the technology still being used quite effectively.
Computer Hardware – Even if the computer hardware in your home may have moved on, hardware in commercial & industrial settings still employs d-sub connectors because of their high degree of reliability, signal integrity, and room for customization.
Military Applications – Anything that must meet MIL-SPEC has to handle quite a bit. On first look, the standard d-sub connector probably wouldn’t hack it. However, sealed connectors offered in different formats provide stellar performance against the elements, a crucial thing in the field.
Hospital Facility Connections – Not only do d-sub connectors have to provide dependable connections for patient monitoring systems & surgical equipment, but they’ve also got to handle things like being able to handle excess moisture, as well as resist corrosion due to constant cleaning, sterilization, and even radiation (depending where they’re being used).
Instrumentation Across Industries – Just about every kind of instrumentation being used in any industry makes use of d-sub connectors in some way. This includes the recording industry all the way through avionics.
It’s important to remember that all good d-sub connectors start with the right manufacturing partner. Working with the right design & engineering team will give you the best opportunity to find the optimal solution for your needs now & in the future.
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