What Are BNC Connectors Used For?

By Sam N. Austin

What Are BNC Connectors Used For?
i BNC Connector image. Author: Jonas Bergsten

BNC connectors are attached to the ends of coaxial cables and can be used for connecting signals such as RF signals and video signals on consumer electronics.


Consumer electronics that have RCA connectors, such as televisions and DVD players, may also offer BNC connectors to deliver composite video. On computer monitors, BNC connectors may be used as an alternative to VGA connectors in order to improve the quality of the video. BNC connectors can connect both analog and digital signals.


Male type BNC connectors are attached to the ends of coaxial cables. BNC connectors consist of metal ring, or tube, surrounding a pin. The pin is connected to the coaxial cable and is the point of transmission between the cable and the device the cable is connected to.

BNC Compared to SMA

SMA type connector. Author: pl:Wikipedysta:Lzur

Both BNC and SMA connectors can be used with coaxial cables. SMA connectors are commonly used for household television cable connections, and may therefore be more familiar to consumers. However, SMA connectors differ from BNC connectors and the types of connectors are not interchangeable. SMA connectors, for example, are threaded, while BNC connectors are not.


BNC stands for Bayonet Neill Concelman. Bayonet describes the physical connector type and Neill and Concelman are the names of the BNC connector's two inventors. The acronym BNC has been mistakenly believed to stand for British Naval Connector, Bayonet Nut Connector, and Baby N connector.


In earlier computer networks, BNC connectors with coaxial cables were used in Ethernet networks, but Ethernet networks are now more commonly connected by RJ45 connectors and CAT5-style cables.