Integrated Connector Magnetics

Molex - Magnetic Modular Jacks

Well, it has been a while since I have graced the internet with my musings about the power world. Reason being that I have moved into a new area at Molex called ICM or Integrated Connector Magnetics. These are better known as magnetic jacks used in conjunction with the ever-popular RJ-45 harness connectors that can be found EVERYWHERE and may be most noticed in your home where you connect your home computing system to your internet provider’s modem.

I have been in the connector industry now for over 30 years. And I have steadfastly avoided the squiggly line side of the business – high speed connectors. A dozen years or so ago as high-speed interconnects became a huge focal point, connector companies began hiring SI (Signal Integrity) experts (aka double EEs) who are now developing ways to get connector speeds to 40 Gbps and higher! All of their analysis and predictive modeling involves charts with squiggly lines! FEXT, NEXT, crosstalk (does not mean yelling at your neighbor!) and return loss are all concepts explained with these lines that look more like my retirement fund returns than anything else I understand! I sometimes miss the power world where I was comforted with nice stable curves that showed Molex products performing at exactly the same voltage drop and resistance for years and years!

But I have not escaped entirely from power! Maybe you have heard of POE or Power Over Ethernet? Basically, telecom providers want to use the I/O for more than just signals. So we’re going to take a number of the circuits in the RJ-45 interconnect and use them to provide power. But wait, we’re not really stealing circuits from the signal folks; the engineers have found ways of sending power and signal over the same circuits at the same time! These are some really good engineers. Granted, in my old power world I was looking at thousands of watts and this is only tens of watts. But the fact that we can all this in this tiny package is truly amazing!

I am excited to be working on these new products and I hope you’ll follow along as I dive into the world of magnetics, high speed signaling and power, all combined into a very compact connector.