Fiber optic adapters are small plastic devices that are used in various configurations when connecting fiber optic cables. These adapters come in a wide variety of shapes but regardless of the shape, the purpose for them is the same. They all allow fiber optic cables to be connected together, either singly or as part of a huge network allowing a myriad of devices to all work at the same time.
The most common use for fiber optic adapters is to simply connect two lengths of fiber optic cable together. When two cables are connected two separate devices can communicate via a direct connection. Although technically an adapter, these simple devices are often called “mating sleeves” simply because they allow one cable to mate or connect with another cable. There are also simple inline connectors that connect three or four cables together.
Depending on the shape of the cable, there are an equal number of adapter shapes. If the cables that are being connected are the same, the appropriate adapter, either square rectangular or round inputs are used. The inputs are female and the individual fiber optic cables are plugged into them.
When the cables that need to be connected together are different shapes the adapter needed is referred to as a hybrid connector. A hybrid adapter can be designed to allow any two cables to be mated regardless of the cable size or configuration. The permutations are huge so when the order is placed for the specific hybrid connector, all the cable parameters must be known.
In addition to simple fiber optic adapters there are also fiber optic adapter panels. These panels are used when it is necessary to connect multiple lines. In these devices, connections are made between any of the numerous lines that are plugged into the panel. A typical panel can hold perhaps as many as 12 cables but it is also possible to splice many adapter panels together to produce a fiber optic system consisting of hundreds or even thousands of connections.
Fiber optic installations also use converters which perform a different task; the converter boosts the optical signal as the signal goes through the device. This signal is then resent, it can then travel several more miles at which time it can be split using adapters.
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