AirMax VS™ High-Speed Shieldless Connector

Amphenol ICC
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Recipient of Electronic Design 2012 Best Electronic Design Award!

ICC AirMax VS™ connectors column spacing has been increased to 3mm (from 2mm) enabling system designers to route high-speed signals using only two layers in their PC board backplanes and daughtercards, with a corresponding reduction in cost.

At the heart of the ICC AirMax VS™ connector system’s performance is its innovative IMLA (Insert Molded Leadframe Assembly) design, which combines EMI optimization with the use of air as a dielectric to eliminate the need for interleaving metal shields between contacts. A common IMLA design for both differential and single-ended signals provides system designers complete freedom to mix-and-match pin assignments within and between the IMLAs for maximum flexibility. This feature eliminates the need to define, order, and inventory unique part numbers for each application.

“For designs where density is less critical, choosing the 3mm spacing option also increases the air gap between contacts, which improves the connector’s electrical properties, especially cross-talk. The AirMax VS™ connector system is already being specified for next generation platforms in routers, servers, workstations, RAID systems and VOD (video-on-demand) servers.”
John Burkett, Product Manager, ICC

The AirMax VS™ connector exhibits excellent signal integrity at speeds from 2.5Gb/s to 6.25Gb/s, and allows customers to scale systems to >12Gb/s without requiring a basic platform redesign. Configured as edge-coupled differential pairs (5 pairs per IMLA/63 pairs/inch), the AirMax VS™ connector features insertion losses of 0.7dB(max.) through 6.25Gb/s and 2.0dB(max.) through 20.0Gb/s, with impedance of 100(±8) ohms. Near-end multi-active crosstalk is characterized as 2.5%(max); while far-end multi-active crosstalk is 3%(max.). These differential parameters are characterized with a rise time of 55ps (20-80%). In the single-ended signal configuration (95 lines/inch), the AirMax VS™ connector features insertion losses of 2.0dB(max.) through 6.25Gb/s with impedance of 60Ω (nominal). Near-end multi-active crosstalk is characterized as 9%(max); and far-end multi-active crosstalk is 3%(max.).

All the AirMax VS™ electrical performance specified above is for the highest density 2.0mm column spacing. The 3.0mm spaced version has even lower crosstalk. Initial results show that the differential connector’s near end multi-active crosstalk has dropped to <1.75% (max.) and its far-end multi-active crosstalk has dropped to <2.25% (max.). The AirMax VS™ two-piece header-receptacle connector system is available in 3mm and 2mm column spacing, in a 150-position (5-pair x 10 columns) configuration for 1.0”/25mm slot pitch applications. A complete system of power modules (80A current capacity), alignment pins, and other accessories are also available. Also, a 120-position (4-pair x 10 columns) AirMax VS™ connector for 0.8”/20mm slot pitch applications will be available soon.


  • A full set of building blocks for backplane, co-planar, mezzanine, and cable-to-board applications in Hard Metric building practices 
  • Innovative edge-coupling technology and air dielectric between adjacent conductors deliver lowest insertion loss and crosstalk 
  • High-speed serial data rates can scale from 2.5Gb/s to beyond 12Gb/s without requiring redesign of a basic platform 
  • Opposed dual-beam receptacle contact structure provides high reliability 
  • Contains no interleaving shields reducing connector weight, cost and PCB routing complexity 
  • Lead-free and RoHS-compatible options are available


  • Servers, Storage 
  • IP router, Switches & Gateways 
  • Enterprise Routers 
  • Base Stations 
  • ATAC™ Zone 3 
  • Medical and Test Equipment