The function of a fiber optic adapter, also known as a coupler, is to establish a connection between two fiber optic connectors used in a fiber optic cabling system. It acts as a bridge to close the gap between two similar or different types of connectors.
The terms ‘coupler’ and ‘adapter’ refer to the similar device but only with a slight difference. We call the device a coupler when it connects two similar style connectors. Likewise, it’s an adapter when it links two different style connectors.
Fiber Optic Adapter Types
The types of fiber optic adapters are many because there’s a diverse range of fiber optic connectors. Most adapters are female on both ends that can join two cables. However, some models have male-female ends that connect to a connector at one end and plug another end (male) into the port of a different device.
Fiber optic connector adapters can be divided according to singlemode and multimode cables. The singlemode model provides a more precise alignment of the ferrules (connector tips). You can connect multimode cables with singlemode adapters but doing it vice versa will result in attenuation of signal strength and misalignment of the fibers.
Let’s check out some common types of adapters:
- Singlemode Fiber Optic Adapters – Simplex and Duplex
These singlemode fiber optic connector adapters connect singlemode cables together where each cable has either one fiber or connector (simplex) or two fibers or connectors (duplex). Both the versions are compatible for using with multimode cables.
- Multimode Fiber Optic Adapters – Simplex and Duplex
These adapters establish a link between multimode cables where each cable has either one fiber (simplex) or two fibers (duplex). To ensure the reduction of insertion losses, you have to make sure that both the cables have the same core size.
- SC Adapters – Simplex and Duplex
Singlemode and Multimode SC adapters are available in both simplex and duplex versions. They are commonly used it military, medical, and industrial applications and various types of networks such as data processing, telecommunication, metro, LAN, etc. They offer a high precision alignment and reduce signal strength and back reflection.
- LC Adapters – Simplex and Duplex
LC adapters are widely used in Gigabit Ethernet, CATV, video, multimedia, premise installations, industrial, and other applications. Available in simplex, duplex, and quad types (can connect to four cables), these adapters offer high precision alignment and attenuate insertion and return loss.
- FC Adapters – Simplex and Duplex
These adapters come in different types of body styles and flange options. They are available in single D, double D, and square types, in singlemode and multimode versions. Like other fiber optic adapter types, you’ll find their use in LANs, data processing networks, metro networks, CATV, etc.
There are more variations of fiber optic adapters such as ST, MU, E2000, and more. Most of them differ from each other in the shape and size of their body.