What is Fiber Optic Adapter and How to Choose it

When selecting a fiber optic adapter, there are two main factors to consider:cable type and material of alignment sleeve.
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Table of Contents

Fiber optic adapters design to precisely connect two connectors and minimize losses while transmitting the maximum amount of light.

They commonly use to connect fiber patch cords with other fiber patch cords or devices.

Do you know how fiber adapters work, their common types, tips for selecting a fiber adapter and methods for cleaning them?

1. Working Principle

fiber optic adapter

The key to fiber optic connection is the precise alignment of the fiber cores, which can be challenging with traditional connection methods such as welding.

Fiber adapters, however, have alignment sleeves built into their design, which ensures accuracy during connection and allows for high-performance connections between fiber patch cords. This is the working principle of a fiber adapter.

2. Types of Fiber Optic Adapter

Fiber optic adapters come in various types, including LC, FC, SC and bare fiber adapters.

LC fiber adapters

  • Use to connect LC fiber patch cords or connectors.
  • Available in LC-LC, LC-FC, LC-SC, LC-ST and LC-MU types.

FC fiber adapters

  • Use to connect FC fiber patch cords or connectors.
  • Available in different shapes, such as square and different types of single-mode and multi-mode.
  • Have metal housing and ceramic sleeves.

SC fiber adapters

  • Use to connect SC fiber patch cords or connectors.
  • Have various types, including standard female-to-female SC adapters and hybrid SC adapters.
  • Most SC adapters come with ceramic sleeves, while those with bronze sleeves are typically multi-mode.

Bare fiber adapters

  • Special type of fiber adapter that allows bare fiber cables to connect to optical devices.
  • Can install in connection slots for both matching and electronic devices.

3. How to Choose Fiber Optic Adapter

fiber optic adapter1

When selecting a fiber adapter, there are two main factors to consider:

Cable type

  • If the fiber adapter needs to connect to the same type of cable and connector, we can use square, rectangular or circular interfaces.
  • If the cable type is different, people require hybrid fiber adapters, which can connect any two types of fiber patch cord together.
  • It is important to determine what type of cable needs to connect before purchasing a hybrid fiber adapter, as there are many varieties available.

Material of alignment sleeve

The alignment sleeve is the most important component of a fiber adapter and some manufacturers use metal as the material for alignment sleeves.
However, it has been proven that fiber adapters with ceramic alignment sleeves perform better than those with metal alignment sleeves because ceramic has a hard crystalline structure that does not deform over time as metal does.
Therefore, fiber adapters with ceramic alignment sleeves can achieve quick alignment and high-precision fiber end-face connections.

Consideration of these two factors can help you choose the most appropriate fiber adapter for your specific needs.

4. How to Clean Adapters

Although fiber optic adapters are small components in fiber optic cabling, they play a vital role in the overall system performance. Like other fiber optic equipment, they require regular cleaning to maintain their effectiveness. There are two main methods for cleaning fiber optic adapters: dry cleaning and wet cleaning.

Dry cleaning involves inserting a dry cleaning swab into the adapter and rotating it to clean the connector inside. The swab is then remove and the connector end-face is inspected for any contaminants.

Wet cleaning, on the other hand, involves dipping a cleaning swab into a fiber optic cleaning solution and then inserting the damp swab into the adapter. The swab is then rotated against the end-face of the connector inside the adapter and a dry cotton swab is used to remove any excess cleaning solution. The connector end-face is then inspected for any contaminants.

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