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Network Networking Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Is It Time To Shrink the Ethernet Connector? 566

New submitter jimwelch writes: HDMI has shrunk to mini, then micro. USB has shrunk to mini, then micro. The wired Ethernet connector has not changed since 1988! On the Raspberry PI, it is the largest of the standardized connectors. Is it time to come up with a new version? What if, anything, would you like to see replace that suddenly clunky RJ-45 port? I rather like that (in theory) RJ-45 cables can't be easily dislodged, but at the same time dislike that its locking mechanism can be awfully fragile. And for that matter, I'm glad that on most of my computers so far there's been full-sized USB ports as well as full-size ethernet jacks.
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Ask Slashdot: Is It Time To Shrink the Ethernet Connector?

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  • Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:29PM (#51739753)

    Let's rewire miles of data centers for no discernible purpose.

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Informative)

      by slazzy ( 864185 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:33PM (#51739783) Homepage Journal
      There would be no need to re-wire data centers. I suspect the changes would mostly be to thin laptops, and to cable modems and home routers. Servers would probably maintain full size connectors.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Servers would probably maintain full size connectors.

        Yes they will, but not the ones that you think. Not RJ-45, but LC.

        The world is moving to fiber. Copper is so 1999.

        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Sunday March 20, 2016 @09:04PM (#51740569) Homepage Journal
          Not while fiber transceivers cost 20x as much as copper.
        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @02:04AM (#51741493) Homepage

          The world is moving to fiber. Copper is so 1999.

          The world won't make any serious move to fiber until the key Amphenol patents on Lightcrimp Plus expire making field terminations easy and cheap. (Lightcrimp Plus already makes them easy but not at all cheap)

          Until then specific applications will use fiber but common networking will continue to use twisted pair.

    • Re:Yes (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:53PM (#51739909)

      A bunch of datacenters are already switching to RJ point 5, because it halves the amount of space taken up by top-of-rack switches and patch panels. There's no need to rewire anything, as they both terminate to the same Cat6 cable, and patch cables are available for RJ.5 to RJ-45.

      See here [te.com].

      I'm really curious as to what sites actually have so much shit in their racks that they need to reclaim 1U by replacing the 2U 96 port ToR switch with a 1U 96 port ToR switch. I guess it might be micro, sub 1U servers, but then I wonder why they don't use backplane ethernet in these racks. Anyway someone clearly thought there was a need, and now there is RJ.5; Also microSFP, apparently, because 96 ports of 10G in 2U is not enough these days... I'm amazed they can make the thermals work to get 96x10G ports into a 1U switch or line card.

      -puddingpimp

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @07:00PM (#51739941)

      One of the biggest advantage of the rj-45 port is the relative ease of making a connection. Having smaller ports means we will need factory built connectors. And need all wires to be presized for all jobs. Making wiring much more difficult.

      Besides most small tech that cannot handle the RJ-45 sized ports are built fore wireless networking. Which for most used is fast enough.

    • I would be all for it if there was a discernible purpose and it's easy to see a half dozen of them. For instance moving to fiber optic. 10G is 10 years overdue but still stupidly expensive. TOSLINK delivered consumer $0.10/foot fiber optic cabling to the masses 20 years ago. We need to move to 10G at consumer prices and we should upgrade to a consumer priced fiber optic option based on plastic.

      What I would love is a push release/lock system like Micro-SD cards and sims. Press in and it will depress

  • One showstopper (Score:4, Interesting)

    by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:30PM (#51739757)

    Namely, existing infrastructure. With CAT5 and CAT6 cables everywhere, you will need some little box to convert the existing cable into a slimmer one which in turn would end with a slimmer connector.
    There are far, far more RJ45 connectors in the world than USB, for example.

    • by omglolbah ( 731566 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:35PM (#51739799)

      It is one of the few connectors you can feel in the dark and get the damn plug in the right way on the first try, every time.

      Could it be doable to make it a 'flat' connector like HDMI? Sure.. that would lower the 'vertical' footprint, but I am not sure if that would be worth the hassle.
      It reminds me of the PCMCIA-connector to rj45 converters... *shudder*

      If there is something I would like to never have to deal with again is having a bunch of these suckers hanging around waiting to break:
      http://ep.yimg.com/ay/videowar... [yimg.com]

      • On the other hand, the 3Com XJACK was nice, if still rather fragile. A breakaway version that could be yanked out of the device and easily replaced would be a good solution for ultrabooks and tablets.

        But wireless is where it's at in the mobile space these days, and the few mobile device makers that even bother with Ethernet probably won't for much longer. Despair not; a USB Type-C adapter will give you a nice small plug, or you can buy a wireless bridge (battery-powered, even) if you don't want to sully you

        • I can't imagine trying to run a full office of hotdeskers on wifi, particularly in the IT space where you've got people pulling GIT repositories while others stream conference talks and yet others are syncing the asset database to work offline.
      • It is one of the few connectors you can feel in the dark and get the damn plug in the right way on the first try, every time.

        I can manage to plug my headphone jack in the right way around most of the time, so why not a variant of that?

        • Re:One showstopper (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anaerin ( 905998 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @10:58PM (#51741041)
          Because if audio signals get crossed, the worst that happens is an annoying buzz. When you insert a barrel jack, it connects to each conductor in turn until it's seated - bad news for things like data transfer, where crossed wires have large consequences.
          • by hankwang ( 413283 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:24AM (#51741641) Homepage

            All ethernet devices of the last 10+ years can autonegotiate between straight and cross-over wire configuration. So with wires on the connector organized as tx+ tx- rx- rx+ (4-wire example), a flippable connector would not require any changes in the electronics. And it would get rid of the impedance-killing central pair split in today's standard connector.

            Of course, the question is whether you could make a flippable connector that's field-crimpable with simple tools.

    • Re:One showstopper (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .99wodahseht.> on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:40PM (#51739831)

      Not just this, but I can go and cut and make a new cat 5/6 cable in a couple minutes. Anything smaller and I'm certainly not running a length of cable out and crimping my own RJ45 heads on. We could probably come up with something to use 'from the wall', as those 'short' runs to a PC or laptop are the smallest of all runs of the cable itself and if you really want to do that you already can with USB (though it requires an adapter and is therefore expensive).

      Any replacement to Cat 5/6 and it's trusty RJ45 connectors needs to be as easy and offer as much bandwidth as the current tech to gain any traction. If it requires premade cables in a variety of lengths I just don't see it gaining any traction in a typical office or business environment. Heck one of the last places I worked for wanted me to make cables for everything because they were to cheap to have a variety of common lengths (7, 10, & 15 foot cables for instance) on hand, when we had a spool of Cat 5e cable for our wall/ceiling wiring needs.

      • What if it is the exact same wire and almost the exact same connector, just one third of the height?

        That could still work and be easy to deal with, though I would prefer to also replace the locking mechanism with something that lets go instead of breaking.

    • you will need some little box to convert the existing cable into a slimmer one which in turn would end with a slimmer connector.

      So, kind of like my MacBook Pro. RJ45 to a cable with a small, thin, Lightning connector (USB on pre-Lightning Macs).

      I'm happy with this solution for the laptop, but this would just be stupid for all of the HTPC's (Minis) and my iMacs.

  • In practice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lorens ( 597774 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:30PM (#51739759) Journal

    it has been replaced in consumer equipment by the (very small) WiFi connector

    • Re:In practice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:48PM (#51739881)
      yeah.. no. WiFi sucks balls for for anything you actually want to be reliably connected even in the home.
    • Re:In practice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @07:33PM (#51740109) Homepage

      I live in a high rise apartment. There are no less than 200 Wifi networks within range of my unit. There is a FUCKTON of interference. Connections themselves may be somewhat reliable, but lag and pausing and delays are inevitable. There's not a single channel that can reliably be used. There is a tremendous amount of bandwidth connection, and there's no reasonable way to eliminate it.

      For anything requiring reliable, fast, usable connections; gaming, media streaming, etc, I use a wired connection. There is no substitute in an environment like this.

      • s/connection/contention.

        freaking autocorrect.

      • by kwerle ( 39371 )

        OK, that sucks.

        But each of those networks is someone paying something on the order of $50/month for internet, right? You're talking about $10K/mo for the networks you can see. Doesn't it make sense for the entire building to get wired using something industrial and cooperative instead of competing for RF?

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      It took me 90 minutes to copy 13GB between a couple of laptops yesterday. Both have SSD and were connected to the WIFI point 2m away at 450mbs. The drives aren't the limitation here, but I'd still expect the theoretical time to be a few minutes. The trouble with wifi is latency and interference, which really slows it down. My wifi router itself is probably a bit crappy too, but again, that's part of the wifi problem.

  • by PsychoSlashDot ( 207849 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:35PM (#51739797)
    No. Leave it alone. Devices that are too thin for a standard jack are perfect candidates for a micro-USB ethernet adapter. The default assumption for RJ45 should remain as it is. No need for yet another connector to require we carry five different possible adapters and cables.
    • Its funny you mention the micro-USB adapter. On my desk my Mac has 2 Thunderbolt -> DVI adapters sticking out of the, power adapter and a USB -> Ethernet adapter. While my Dell gets dropped into the dock and "just works". I can't imagine how Steve ever thought this was an acceptable solution. Maybe its time that we standardize on a dock configuration so that its not just Lenovo and the enterprise class Dells that have ports for this. UWB seems like a good solution!
      • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:55PM (#51739921)

        I've never understood why docking stations aren't absolutely everywhere. They are one of the biggest reasons I keep buying Dell latitude laptops. Docking stations is permanently plugged in with all my peripherals and a power supply and I just sit down to start work.

        • I've never understood why docking stations aren't absolutely everywhere. They are one of the biggest reasons I keep buying Dell latitude laptops. Docking stations is permanently plugged in with all my peripherals and a power supply and I just sit down to start work.

          It is easy to understand once you see the price they demand. The problem is specifically that use proprietary connectors and then demand absolutely insane prices for the docks. If the docks were standard they would be cheaper and everywhere, but they are not going to open up that market voluntarily.

          • They're not that non-standard. Lots of them are USB3 nowadays, and the prices aren't THAT insane (e.g. $100-$300 depending what you need [dell.com]).

            I've had a comparable one for my notebook and work notebook, it's two cables to be up and working with the high-res screen, mouse, keyboard, anything else USB and a GbE. It's almost easier than a model-specific dock because you don't have to work out where the locating pins go (but you do need to deal with the 4-dimensional USB connector). It's a short step from that to U

      • All my new docking stations are USB 3. That's pretty standard.
  • Please don't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iris-n ( 1276146 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:38PM (#51739813)

    Ethernet is the one reliable standard that will always work, everywhere, no questions asked. And I need it. I can go on for days without eating. I can go on for hours without drinking. Without Ethernet? Good old, reliable, wired, Ethernet? What am I alive for? And don't come with your fancy "Wi-Fi" b/g/n. It never works when you need it. Airport? Conference? eduroam? It does not work! And I need it to work, this is the Internet we're talking about!

  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:39PM (#51739823)
    The standard rule applies. When a "Should x..." question is asked, the answer is no.

    Any reduction would be at the expense of compatibility with everything which already exists. Modular connectors are reliable, cheap, easy to install, they work. Wired Enet is near end of it's capabilities (10G reduces the distance from 100 m to 15), so you'd be better off looking toward smaller fiber connectors as we move forward.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:40PM (#51739827)

    Whoever wrote this article obviously didn't do any research first.

    There is already a new standard for physical ethernet cabling, calling RJ.5 (that is, ar-jay-point-five): http://www.alliedtelesis.com/videos/RJpointfive

    "Allied Telesis is one of the first networking vendors to embrace the new RJ point five Ethernet connectivity standard. Built to replace the RJ-45 standard copper Ethernet connector, the new RJ point five connectors are half the size, so you save valuable space and double your port density."

    They're not popular in the marketplace because the cables are uncommon and therefore expensive, and similarly the physical jacks are uncommon and therefore expensive.

    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      It has some attractions like the lanyard but otherwise it's too big.
      I believe it's possible to build a round Ethernet connector the same diameter as the cable itself.
      With a nice little locator pin that doubles as a bayonet lock.
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "new standard..."

      Standard? In what way? 8 pin modular connectors are ingrained in Ethernet/data standards (802.3 and IEC 60603-7), and RJ.5 doesn't support 10G. What standard includes RJ.5 (which is an obvious misnomer, since RJ... are telephony standards, although Ethernet shares the use of modular connectors).
    • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @08:51PM (#51740489)

      There is already a new standard for physical ethernet cabling, calling RJ.5 (that is, ar-jay-point-five)

      "RJ point five is a trademark of TE Connectivity used here under license."

      Nope. Not a standard. A wannabe "standard" that hasn't replaced anything at all. It's just a money-grab, as these things always devolve into these days.

      When will people learn, corporate greed does not breed standards?

  • As long as you can build a patch cable from an RJ-45 to the new connector, you'd be compatible enough with installed infrastructure.

    Require that every cable be a right-angle, 90 degree cable - i.e. when plugged into something like a flat laptop or tablet, the cable lies flat against the side of the device when plugged in, not sticking awkardly straight out the back. My laptop dock can't get closer than 7-10 cm from the back wall of my cube because of the old-style cables (RJ-45, HDMI, USB) sticking out.

  • Field installation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:41PM (#51739843) Journal

    One of the reasons, I think, that the RJ-45 connector has lasted so long is it's very easy to field install. A bag of cable ends and a relatively inexpensive crimp tool is all you need, and the wires are easy to insert. Making a connector that's appreciably smaller would make field installation of ends that much more difficult.

    Introduce a new standard and now you'll need new cables (wall jacks to device) or adapters (cables to device) to keep new things interchangeable with existing things. That doesn't simplify anything.

    That's assuming it CAN be made smaller, given the cable is unlikely to change.
    =Smidge=

    • Unless the new connector has contact points at the top and bottom and a divider in between. 4 wires are much easier to line up than 8.

      Making the connector smaller shouldn't be the priority though, I'd be happy if they just got rid of the flimsy locking mechanism
    • by RichMan ( 8097 )

      This point right here. The ability to cut and crimp to make a cable the exact length you need in an installation is why the RJ-45 is the end.

      Maybe we get 2 sizes. The RJ-45 for installation and some downsized consumer cable. But the big boys need it the way it is. Cheap and customizable.

  • Current ethernet adapters are quite easy to patch your own, if they were to get smaller isn't there quite a chance this would become impossible/require a soldering iron? Something that wouldn't be of favour to the people laying loads of ethernet throughout data-centres, offices etc.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:47PM (#51739873)
    Ethernet is an attempt to use the cheapest cable possible for the longest distance possible for the highest bandwidth possible. That's part why TIA/EIA standards do not specify the cable, they specify the performance characteristics that must be met. This is why it's possible to run Gigbit over some particularly short distances over Category 3, or why it's possible to get 10G out of 6 or 5e for some short distances.

    Changing the connector means that the horizontal cable gets more expensive, the jacks get more expensive, the patch cord material and plugs get more expensive.

    There already has been interest in changing the connector, larger. There was a cable that put four pins on the top to attempt to electrically separate the pairs to reduce crosstalk. It didn't take off, probably because the developer didn't want to license it cheaply enough, ie, free. There were attempts at hermaphroditic cables, but they were larger and had licensing issues.

    The 8P8C jack used as RJ-45 for Ethernet, RJ-48 for T1 and ISDN, and RJ-61 for telephone is not going anywhere.
  • -inducer removed. If you don't have boots on the existing RJ45, you're going to waste a lot of time pulling that cable back out of the route it's on.

    The problem is that impedance matching could be a problem over very long runs of cable with a smaller connector at very high speeds. It probably wouldn't be just a "scaled down" RJ-45 with a mandatory boot over the snag-inducing tab.

    And, of course, you'd need to have (and keep in stock) RJ-45 to "New" connectors, both M/F and F/M genders, 'cause one has to ac

  • My $.02 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PinkyGigglebrain ( 730753 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @06:54PM (#51739913)

    My opinion: leave it as is

    My thinking is;
    Most connected items that are portable or IoT already use WiFi now so having a smaller connector wouldn't really be a benefit.

    For the larger systems like desktops and servers there would be little to no benefit from the smaller connector.

    A standard RJ45/8P8C connector/jack is already about as small as you can get it and still be able to see what your doing when you install them.

    Currently the tools and connectors used for CAT X cabling are completely standardized and interchangeable with most of the telephone hardware still out there. Things like the line testers and punch down tools work on both systems so I have less I need to buy and carry when in the field working with mixed systems.

    All the older hardware, the Smart TV's, the server patch panels, the home routers, hubs, etc. use the full size connector. I don't think people would be happy if they bought a new router and had to get all new cables to boot.

    Just some of my thoughts on the subject, I'm sure there are going to many other valid reasons for and against that other commenters will bring up.

  • How about a smaller plug with 4 contacts (RX pair and TX pair). But make it with the same contact pitch as the RJ-45 and include a space to correspond to the RJ-45 pin 3 (unused for Ethernet). Then, make a plastic backshell that snaps onto the new connector, making it as thick and wide as the old RJ-45. So it will plug into older equipment.

    • Uh, gigabit ethernet uses all 8 wires. A special connector that only works with slower speed would just clutter the market with yet another failed standard..

  • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @07:05PM (#51739963)
    My work laptop is too thin for an RJ-45. I have a USB to Ethernet dongle when I want the net connection to be wired. So RJ-45 is fine. There will be adapters for whatever connection smaller devices need.
    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      There [i]are[/i] some quite thin laptops with a smaller smarter type of RJ-45 socket.
      The bottom part is on a hinge that you open with the RJ-45 plug when you need to insert it, thereby making the port large enough to accept the plug.
      When you unplug the cable the hinge springs back to its small, closed state.

      Of course this would need to be engineered as a part of the laptop's enclosure -- not just as a hole in it. And that might in turn imply patent licensing issues.

  • by MavEtJu ( 241979 ) <slashdot@@@mavetju...org> on Sunday March 20, 2016 @07:06PM (#51739967) Homepage

    Fiber-based Ethernet has already different kind of connectors.

  • There has to be a better reason other than "USB and HDMI did it". What good reason would there be? there has to be something beneficial achieved other than following a trend. Until then, no.
  • ...that can recognize the wire ordering as part of the handshake on device connection. That's the only way you could make smaller connectors and still have it be relatively easy to make up your own cabling.

  • by JumboMessiah ( 316083 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @07:22PM (#51740061)

    No, leave it as is. For one reason, ethernet cables are often hand made or hand terminated. I've terminated 1000s of cables in my career, various lengths and runs. The current connector, while not perfect, is just about the right size for hand termination without expensive or specialized equipment. My bag always has a crimper and spare connectors in it. I can easily whip up a cable on a moments notice. If you go to a mini or micro connector, more specialized equipment will be involved that may not allow one to hand terminate a cable easily. If we lose that, we lose the versatility of the connector in general.

  • Because it's versatile. With the right tools, it's incredibly easy to terminate and repair in the field. Parts are cheap. And I can crimp any length cable whenever I need it.

    But copper has its limits. To get beyond those limits, pair twists are tighter, cables are getting thicker, pull specs more delicate, and installation more complex. As conductors get thicker and shielding becomes mandatory, backwards compatibility is proving a challenge. We're now at the point where manufacturers like Leviton are

  • The physical size of a connector is related to whether it needs to be handled by human hands, and if so, whether a locking mechanism is part of the connector, which also must be handled by human hands. Beyond that, it's the physical size of the necessary cable that forms the final parameter.

    The Ethernet Connector could be made slightly smaller and satisfy the above, but not by much. There is no need for change when it's for the sake of change. So, the current RJ-45 is perfectly adequate and need not be furt

  • Ethernet is fine as it is and the bandwidth is going up and up so shrinking the cable could only force us to expand it again later when we decide we need more bandwidth or something.

    Leave it alone.

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @07:49PM (#51740191) Journal

    The beauty of the RJ-45 standard is that it has low insertion force, a positive engagement report (the click when the cable seats properly), and it is essentially impossible to put in the wrong way. It remains in place without screws, and yet releases easily. The only shortcoming it has is the fragility of the catch mechanism when pulling cables through walls or cable trays, but various manufacturers have come up with a range of boot designs to circumvent that problem. You can recognise the connector port by feel, and know the orientation blindly (ie, around back of the equipment you can't get your head behind to be able to see). Other people might disagree, but in my experience, it's the most reliable connector in common use. Maybe the RJ-11 (standard telephone jack) was, in its heyday, more commonly deployed, but probably not. I have never, ever, not once, found a panel-mounted RJ-11 or RJ-45 that had failed.

    Compare with the micro USB: insertion force is high enough that it's close to the force required to plastically deform the connector when putting it in the wrong way, yet, it can easily fall out under many circumstances. There is no positive feedback on proper seating. The holes for a micro USB are indistinguishable by feel from many other ports (at least to me). There is no retention mechanism other than friction. The connectors are very fragile, and nearly impossible to join to the cable in the field (read: you can't make your own cables). The insertion count lifetime is quite low, and I've worn out quite a few of them myself. It's a poor standard.

    The folks designing the RJ-45 and its sister standards were frelling brilliant. The people designing the more recent stuff ... not so much.

  • RJ22 (the little connector on the coiled cable going to your telephone handset) could be an alternative if there's not a lot of crosstalk induced by having the pairs up against each other.

    Thunderbolt could have been a contender, but as usual no one other than Apple adopted it because it was too expensive (and I'm sure there's an Intel tax or something).

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      USB could have been a contender, but as usual no one other than Apple adopted it because it was too expensive (and I'm sure there's an Intel tax or something).

      FTFY — Thunderbolt is not the only technology Apple adopted that found its way into PCs.

  • They can be a bitch to press especially if covered with a thick rubber cover, and they often break off

  • Increasingly, people just connect to networks via USB connectors. The fact that there is a little USB-to-Ethernet chip at the other end of the cable hardly matters. With high-speed USB-C connectors, you can run networking, display, and power over the same small connector and cable.
  • by hidden ( 135234 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @10:14PM (#51740871)
    I'm confused why everyone started talking about servers and datacenters and stuff. Surely if this actually happened, it would be done the same way as mini/micro HDMI & USB: The hubs switches and servers would all keep using the same old 8p8c, and the mini connector would just be used on the other end for the ultrathin laptops and stuff.
  • by evilad ( 87480 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @10:47PM (#51740995)

    From the question's comparison to a bunch of cables that you can't (easily) terminate yourself, I'm going to assume you buy all your ethernet cables. That's great except when you want to fish cable through walls, and use punchdown jacks in patch panels. Or make one that's a custom length. Or repair a 30m cable with a broken wire 5mm from one end.

    The only thing wrong with RJ45 is the fragility of the locking tab, and plastic overshields do a pretty good job of protecting that.

  • by recharged95 ( 782975 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @12:11AM (#51741267) Journal

    You only change based on the need.

    a. HDMI to micro: the need was super slim laptop output, try finding a 1" thick laptop nowadays
    b. USB to micro USB: the need was super slim smart phones, try finding a 0.4" thick smartphone nowadays.
    c. Ethernet: there are plenty of 1U+ blades, desktop computers, and industrial stuff (Ethercat) that are fine using RJ45. There is no need.
    d. RPi could use a smaller ethernet connector but:
                a few 100K pi's vs a million blade servers.... spanning models from 2000 to 2016 (not everyone is Google, Facebook, or Amazon that can replace their 2015 servers asap).
                Designs like the RPi should goto a connect that makes sense. If the users want less size, then listen to them (add the RJ.5).
                RPi really gets is chops via WiFi anyway.

  • by sabbede ( 2678435 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @07:30AM (#51742375)
    Sure, a smaller and sturdier connector would be nice, but the changeover costs would be insane! Not to mention the fact that a more compact connector might not be something you could clip onto the end of a cable you're running the way we do with RJ-11&45. You can't crimp and clamp something the size of Micro USB.

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