Molex offers mobile device manufacturers greater design

29th September 2021
Kiera Sowery

To meet demanding 5G mmWave applications requiring stringent signal integrity at higher frequencies up to 25GHz, Molex has introduced the Flex-to-Board RF mmWave Connector 5G25 series.

This Molex micro connector enables manufacturers of RF antenna modules as well as designers of mobile devices to optimise high-speed 5G components while alleviating space constraints on extremely small yet increasingly crowded printed circuit boards.

“Each new generation of RF antenna modules and smartphones brings us closer to realising the full potential of 5G performance,” said Stephen Drinan, Director of Core Products, Micro Solutions, Molex.

“Our new 5G25 connector is the latest example of how Molex is applying decades of experience in RF and antenna design, high-speed connectivity and volume manufacturing to support 5G’s higher frequencies while raising the bar in signal stability, robust performance and fast assembly.”

According to Molex’s recent The Future of Mobile Devices global survey, 82% of those polled believe consumers will see substantial benefits from 5G in their smartphones within five years or sooner. Survey respondents ranked ultra-fast 5G as the "leading technology" to drive disruption in smart, consumer mobile device manufacturing. 

Small size for 5G mmWave applications

The Molex Flex-to-Board RF Connector 5G25 series supports high-speed data transmission in a space-saving solution that offers extra protection from harsh environmental conditions. Featuring a signal pitch of 0.35mm, a mated body height of only 0.6mm, as well as a short body width of 2.5mm and length of 3.6mm, the compact size of the 5G25 offers elevated printed wiring board design flexibility. Moreover, the 5G25 enables designers of RF antenna modules and mobile devices to combine RF and non-RF signals, which reduces the need for additional connectors while producing additional space and cost savings.

Signal integrity performance

The 5G25 features full Electromagnetic InterferencE shielding, encompassing both RF terminal and full connector shielding to ensure superior signal integrity. By employing a centre shield-in contact with receptacle and plug, each row can be isolated to boost overall signal-integrity stability. Additionally, Molex’s fully-shielded design delivers far-field gain performance, which is useful for connecting 5G antennas to the rest of the transceiver. 

Designed for fast, reliable assembly

The Molex Flex-to-Board RF Connector 5G25 series facilitates fast, trouble-free assembly with excellent 'click feeling' to prevent mismating. Additionally, the compact connectors feature robust peel force to increase reliability and minimize the load on assembly operators or automatic assembly machines.

Collaboration drives innovation

Molex expedited 5G25 development by assembling a global team of RF, antenna and high-speed communication experts to balance critical electrical, mechanical and environmental requirements. Engineers based in the U. and Japan collaborated with a global RF antenna module manufacturer on concept development, advanced simulation and testing, along with rapid design iterations. The use of Molex’s inhouse 5G testing chamber helped the team achieve optimal signal integrity performance to finalise the design concept in two weeks.

Fueled by its customer-first focus, Molex rapidly designed and provided working prototypes within months, an impressive achievement considering the stringent mechanical and signal integrity performance needed to meet the application specifications. As a trusted advisor to a smartphone manufacturer, Molex then refined the connector to accommodate the customer’s specific needs while ramping volume manufacturing to produce five million connectors per month.

The global collaboration and early customer engagement proved instrumental in accelerating innovative 5G go-to-market strategies.

Molex Consumer & Commercial Solutions

The Molex legacy of delivering critical connections extends across the entire mobile device ecosystem with proven expertise in 5G, mmWave, RF, signal integrity, antenna, power, camera and display technologies. Precision, volume manufacturing and miniaturisation enable Molex to meet dynamic market demands while providing mobile device manufacturers and their suppliers with what they claim to be the smallest, densest and most advanced connectors currently available.

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