Guide to Network Cable Connectors Types and Specifications Image

Networking cables are connected to different devices and servers via cable connectors. These connectors have different types based on their unique applications. In ethernet cable networking, RJ45 connectors are the most commonly used. And in optic fiber network cabling, three types of connectors are most commonly used. Namely, straight tip (ST) connectors, subscriber connectors (SC), Lucent connectors (LC), and Multi-fiber push-on (MPO) connectors.

Keep reading to find out the various types of networking cable connectors, their application, and their specifications.

Also Read: What is an RJ45 Connector?

Ethernet Cable Connectors: How Many?

You might realize, there is quite a variety of ethernet cable connectors. Well, that is due to the huge variety of networking cables

Meaning that there is a large number of cables such as shielded cables, unshielded cables, and multi-mode fiber cables. etc. 

To cater to all the specifications of these different cables, different connectors are required - hence, such a huge variety of connectors.

If you are a networking engineer, you must be able to identify these connectors, and if you are a networking aficionado or a regular user, you also need to be able to identify different connector types to easily connect your devices and cables.

For example, people sometimes consider the difference between RJ45 connectors and Keystone Jacks to be none. When in reality, both of these ethernet accessories are two entirely different pieces of equipment. 

RJ45 connectors

RJ 45 connectors are the most commonly used Ethernet cable connectors. These connectors are an upgrade on the former RJ11 connectors, which were used for connecting telephone cables. The registered jack 45 are 8p8c type connectors – eight positions, eight contacts. The conductors of the ethernet cables are inserted individually into these positions and the contacts allow the connector to pass signals to a coupler or a device.

For reliable connectivity and speed, high-quality RJ45 jack contacts are plated with gold which ensures that the contacts don’t corrode over extended periods. The outer body of the connectors is made from high-quality plastic which makes them almost unbreakable.

The rule of thumb to identify these connectors is to count the contacts – which are eight and set them apart at approximately 1mm.

RJ45 connector is utilized to connect all categories of ethernet cables. They are fast at transmitting signals, reliable, and rugged to last extended periods.

Straight Tip (ST) connectors

The straight-tip connectors are one of the oldest optic fiber cable connectors. They support connections with both single and multi-mode fiber cables. On an ST connector, you will find a bayonet-style plug and socket. The bayonet-style plug and socket are the key to identifying an ST connector.

The primary job of this connector is to connect the cables without getting the optic fiber damaged. The optic fiber is extremely fragile, therefore protecting it is one of the main jobs of the connector.

Subscriber Connectors (SC)

This is yet another type of optic fiber cable connector. The variety of optic fiber cable connectors is greater than ethernet cable connectors due to the obvious reason – more variety of cables.

Subscriber connectors can also be used with both multi-mode and single-mode fiber cables. The structure of the SC is made from a rigid plastic that is molded into a square. On the inside, you will find a cylindrical ferrule that houses the fragile fiber. It also features push-pull locking and unlocking capability which helps secure your fiber cable nicely with your device, etc.

Furthermore, the structure of the SC is standard-duplex and it is used widely for data transfer and other optic fiber applications.

Lucent Connectors (LC)

The Lucent connectors are an upgrade on the SC connectors. For high-speed performance over optic fiber cables, these are the go-to type of connectors.

Both the structure and the built quality of the LC are phenomenal. Size-wise, they are smaller than the SC and ST, and when it comes to performance, they are more efficient at transmitting signals and more rigid and rugged for long-term use.

It is used for all sorts of networking applications. Such as telecommunications, high-speed data transfer, cable television, etc.

Multi-Fiber Push-On Connectors (MPO)

These are the finest optic fiber cable connectors that are utilized for high-speed data transmission and other high-performance applications. They are compatible with both mono-mode and multimode connections and their prime feature is that MPO connectors can connect multiple fibers in a single ferrule.

An MPO is better than multiple SC and ST connectors due to its extreme compatibility feature, that is, you can terminate multiple fibers for high-density indoor applications. It is to optic fiber cables that an RJ45 connector is to ethernet cables.


Networking cable connectors are many and differ in terms of compatibility, built quality, cable type, and other specifications. Registered Jack 45 connector rules ethernet cable connectors and in optic fiber cabling, there are four main connectors. These connectors cater to all networking needs from household to commercial.

SmarTech Cables specialize in designing and manufacturing ethernet cables and accessories including ethernet connectors. All of our networking cables and accessories are built in accordance with industry standards to ensure high performance and reliability. If you are looking for well-built networking products, get in touch with us now.