- I cannot find the part
- Active/passive cables & adapters
- Male/female connectors – how do i know which is which?
- Uni/bi-directional cables & adapters
- Signal source/receiver
- Adapter/dongle/converter – what is the difference?
- Single link/dual link
I cannot find the part
Active/passive cables & adapters
Male/female connectors – how do I know which is which?
Male and female refers to two genders for the connectors.
A male connector (plug or pin) has a solid pin for a center conductor. A female connector (jack or socket) has a center conductor with a hole in it to accept the male pin. All connectors that you will find on the laptop, desktops, graphic cards, tablets, monitors, projectors, printers and docking stations are female connectors. Male connector can only be plugged into the female socket. Female connector can only accept male plug.
Example of male connectors:
Example of female connectors:
Typically one end of every adapter is male and the other one is female. Adapters with both connectors having identical gender i.e. VGA (Female) to VGA (Female) Adapters are called port savers. Adapters with identical connectors at each end but with different gender are called gender changers i.e. VGA (Male) to VGA (Female) Adapter
Uni/bi-directional cables & adapters
Every video cable or adapter is either unidirectional or bidirectional.
Unidirectional cables and adapters send video and audio signal in one direction only – from signal source to signal receiver. If unidirectional cables or adapter source end is connected to receiver end it will simply not work.
Example: DisplayPort Adapters – such as DisplayPort (Male) to VGA (Female) sends signal from DisplayPort end in one direction which means that it needs to be connected to signal source (laptop, desktop, graphic card). If DisplayPort end is connected to signal receiver (monitor, projector) it will not work.
Unidirectional products are marked in red on all video cables and adapters technical specification section and signal source as well as signal receiver ends are clearly marked as per below example:
Bidirectional cables and adapters send video and audio signal in both directions which means that either end can be connected to either source or a receiver.
Example: Mini HDMI (Male) to HDMI (Male) Cable – it sends signal in both direction which means that either end can be connected to signal source (laptop, desktop, graphic card) or signal receiver (monitor, projector).
Bidirectional products are marked in green on all video cables and adapters technical specification section.
Video signal source/receiver
Video signal source: all video-out connectors on laptops, desktops, tablets, docking stations
Video signal receiver: all video-in connectors on monitors and projectors
Adapter/dongle/converter – what is the difference?
Adapter and dongle is exactly the same thing. There is no difference between them other than the name that people prefer to use to describe it. Those products adapt signal from one connector to a different connector. This typically can be achieved by connecting connectors internally with wires without the need of a chipset. There are two main forms of adapters/dongles. One type have a short (+/-15cm) cable between the connectors and the other type is in the form of a solid block with no cable between connectors.
Examples of different forms of adapters/dongles:
Converter changes the video signal from one connector to another but in many cases because of the complexity of such change it requires a chipset to perform this process. Converters are typically unidirectional boxes with different connectors embedded – video-in and video-out
Example of a converter:
Snagless and booted mean the same - this refers to the plastic cover over the RJ45 (Ethernet) connector. This prevents the connector from snagging and breaking.
UTP – stands for Unshielded Twisted Pair.
STP – stands for Shielded Twisted Pair.
S/STP – also known as S/FTP – stands for Shielded/ Foiled Twisted Pair
Twisted Pair refers to two wires that are twisted together to make the internal structure of a cable. For example: Ethernet cables contain 4 twisted pairs therefore there are 8 individual wires within the cable.
Single link/dual link
Single Link / Dual Link - this refers to the speed the cable is capable of, usually limited by the quality of the copper within the cable. Dual Link is used more often with High definition displays and it support higher resolutions than Single Link.
See Help me choose section for more details about DVI connectors.
Example of DVI Single Link and Dual Link connectors:
LSZH – This stands for Low Smoke Zero Halogen, which refers to the emissions released if the plastic is burnt (also referred to as LS0H).
PVC – this stands for Polyvinyl chloride and refers to the material used to cover the copper inside cables and adapters.