RJ-45 Connectors - Ethernet`s Weakest Link?

All of us at some time or another have had the `plastic spring` on at RJ-45 Ethernet connector either break or when we come to use the connector find that it is not there. No worries right? Wrong. This little piece of brittle plastic is critical to insuring a reliable connection because it is the spring that pushes the pins and fingers for each of the wires in the Ethernet cable to make a secure contact. As we know without contact there is no communication.

Fortunately I am starting to see better designed connectors with a less brittle plastic and instead of a clip; the plastic is actually in the form of a spring. This offers two obvious benefits; the spring will provide better force and hence contact between the fingers and pins, and because the spring extends further it is possible to squeeze this component and thus more easily release it when required. Some manufacturers have even gone to the next step of making this important part of the connector from metal so there is less susceptible to fatigue and hence failure.

What do you think is Ethernet’s weakest link? Let us know so we can share with others and hopefully someone will share a solution with us.