Plugs are electrical components that realize a releasable connection between two lines on the physical level. The difference to a connector is that plugs usually have only a few contacts and are designed for quick connection and disconnection.
Connectors are specially adapted to the physical properties of cables, their transmission parameters and services. Thus, there are special connectors for coaxial cables, TP cables and FOC connectors for optical fibers and polymeric fibers, for balanced and unbalanced, for two-, four- and multi-pole cables, as well as for the various services such as data communications, telephone, television, audio, video, acoustics, automotive technology and for the various PC interfaces.
Plugs and connectors are characterized by the number, shape and nature of the electrically conductive pins, as well as the mechanical dimensions and their interlocking. They generally have a gender assignment: the female connector is the female counterpart to the male connector. However, there are also exceptions in the form of hermaphrodite connectors, which are also referred to as "sexless" or hermaphroditic. In these connectors, both parts are identical. An example of such a connector is the IBM data connector. For coaxial cables, the group of data connectors adapted to the physical cable properties includes the BNC connector, the N connector and the F connector.
For STP and UTP cables, there is the RJ45 connector, the GG45 connector, the ARJ45 connector and the Tera connector. Inworkplace cabling and peripherals, the Sub-D connectors, the USB interface connector and the FireWire play an essential role.
Among the service-oriented connectors, the TAE connector, the RJ10, RJ11, and the RJ12 supported the long-distance speech and the private branch exchange technology. Other services such as audio and video are supported by the EC7 connector, SCART connector, jack plug, XLR connector, and the RCA connector. For transmission on fiber optic cables, there are a variety of different FO connectors.