D-sub connectors were once a dominant part of the electronics market. For starters, they are easy to use, not to mention physically secure nature. This has made them a go-to option for computer connectivity in commercial & residential applications. However, times have changed and so has the technology. With a heavier reliance on USB technology, it is worth asking whether or not D-sub connectors still matter.

Form & Function Demanded More

The home desktop computer was once composed of a large monitor, CPU tower, keyboard, and mouse. 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 them obsolete. Tech may moved forward, 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. Bearing an actual problem with the computer, it will likely still work.

Working Behind the Scenes

D-sub connectors find their place in areas where visibility to the masses is quite low. Their reliability & low cost makes them perfect for use in:

  • DIY electronics projects
  • wide spectrum of media due to low cost high reliability
  • mobile applications that require strength & durability of components during transport and/or use
    A bit more detail on the functionality of D-sub connectors also includes:
    Mobile Electronics & Extensive Networks — Being able to keep members of a team connected in less-than-ideal conditions is crucial to a project’s success. D-sub connectors ensure a secure physical connection that lays the foundation for dependable telecommunications.
    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 excess moisture, as well as resist corrosion due to constant cleaning, sterilization, and even radiation.
    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.

    Criticisms of the Technology

    Critics of D-sub connectors will sight the need for an additional power source to be factored into a build. The connection itself can be seen, by some, as large & cumbersome. Perhaps most criticism lies in the low data transfer speed, the likes of which can sometimes be inconsistent. But even with these disadvantages, D-sub connectors still prove effective decades after their initial development, especially to the industries that rely on them
    LoDan Electronics, Inc. in Chicago has been a dedicated interconnect solutions partner since 1967. Talk to our experts today about ways to improve your facility’s operation from the ground up.