This document describes the most common connection types and what they do.
Standard uses for Ethernet are networking, such as Internet, and data transfer between computer or printers.
This is often the most important feature when purchasing or using a Ethernet cable. The category defines how fast the cable can transfer data.
Unshielded Twisted Pair (or UTP) is the standard and most common type of cable. There is also Screened Twisted Pair (SCTP) that has shielding around the cable to provide extra protection.
Solid cable is very rigid and designed to carry data over long distances, by contrast stranded cables are more flexible and are used in smaller areas where the cabling needs to wrap around corners.
Provides a universal connection for data transfer between computers and external devices.
USB A is the most common type of USB connection and is found on most computers.
USB B is less commonly used then USB A and is most commonly used on printers and external hard drives.
USB C is rising in popularity and is set to take over as the primary connection type, it can support 10Gbps, charging of 100W at 5A and 20V, and also can efficiently carry display information
Micro and Mini USB connection types are most commonly used for smaller electronics, for example, Android phones that have not yet changed over to USB C use micro USB to charge
Male A to Male A
Male A to Male B (2.0)
Male A to Male C
Male A to Male B (3.0)
Male A to Female A
Male A to Mini USB
Male A to Lightning
Male A to Micro USB
Provides a universal connection to allow for both audio and video signals to pass between devices within a single cable.
The chart below describes the various differences between the different versions of HDMI:
Provides video transfer between devices, typically from a computer to an external monitor or projector
There are no variants of a VGA cable, all VGA cables are a 15-pin configuration and sometimes are referred to as a D-SUB connection.
Provides high definition video transfer between devices, typically from a computer to an external monitor or projector.
DVI can travel 33ft without an extender. DVI cables vary in signal transfer capabilities and pin set of their plug, which can be seen below.
Provides a faster means of data transfer, than USB 2.0, between computers and external devices.
Firewire 400 vs 800:
Besides connectors the only difference in firewire is the transfer speeds, listed below:
SATA provides a universal connection for computer components such as CD/DVD drives, hard drives, solid state drives, and other internal controllers. eSATA provides a connection to external devices that have the proper connection terminals.
The major difference between SATA cable versions is their data transfer speed capability with the exception of mSATA and eSATA which provide change in the connector design to prevent improper use.
Provides a single (mono) or dual (stereo) channel analog sound between devices. Also provides analog video connection between devices. Typically used for connection of DVD/VHS players or portable electronics to a TV or stereo system.
Single channel audio (Mono) is carried through a Red or White RCA cable while a video signal is carried through a single yellow RCA cable
Dual red and white cables are typically called stereo cables and carry left and right channels audio between stereo components and devices
White/Yellow cables are typically for camcorders or digital cameras with connection to a television
Used for stereo audio and video transfer between devices. Typically used for game systems, TVs, cable boxes, DVD players, and VCRs
Provides a single wire connection for high quality digital sound. Typically from computers, TVs, DVD players, and other electronics to a stereo receiver with digital audio decoding (i.e. surround sound)
Two kinds of cables exist, one is called toslink and is a fiber optic connection and the other is SPDIF or digital coaxial (Typically orange or black).
Some computer (such as apple's) come with a 3.5mm port that is also a 3.5mm mini toslink port. This allows for a digital audio output signal from your computer.
Provides an audio connection between devices. Typically found as a sound output port on phones, computers, and just about every other electronic. Sometimes used for audio input, such as microphones.
The only variation in this type of cable is the plug. The plug is either 3.5mm or 2.5mm. 3.5mm is the standard and 2.5mm exists on some older phones.
Some 3.5mm jacks, such as those found on apple computers, can double as a digital audio output as well (see the toslink section).
Provides a higher definition video signal then standard RCA connection, between video source and reeiver, such as TV and DVD player.
Colors are typically more vibrant with component compared to composite since the colors are all being sent through individual wires instead of through a single yellow one.
Two cables exist, one is a 3 wire design that has red green and blue connectors, and the second is a 5 wire design that adds white and black for audio
Provides a high definition connection between devices. Typically used for computers (desktops) to monitors.
A DisplayPort cable can carry analog or digital signal. DisplayPort also has the capability to carry audio and USB port data although it's typically used for video only.
Dispay Port looks very similar to HDMI, the most obivous difference is the one flat edge on the displayPort(right) as compared to HDMI (left) that is rounded on both sides.
Provides a universal audio/video port on Apple devices and some PC laptops.
Note: Mini DisplayPort products will work on thunderbolt 1 and 2 ports (if the plug fits the port, it will work, see thunderbolt section)
Mini DisplayPort male to male is the only cable readily available although many adapters do exist (seen below).
Provides a universal audio/video port that can also handle data transfer
Note: Thunderbolt products will NOT work with Mini DisplayPorts or standard USB-C ports
Thunderbolt male to male is the only cable readily available, however some adapters do exist (seen below)
Provides a audio/video port as well as chargin and docking port for Apple iPads, iPhones, and iPods
Found on the following devices:
Provides a audio/video port as well as charging and docking port for the newer generation of Apple's devices.
Found on the following devices: