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A fiber-optic adapter is a small device used to connect fiber-optic cables together. These adapters have many different shapes, but they all serve the same purpose. A fiber-optic adapter allows fiber-optic cables to be attached to each other singly or in a large network, allowing many devices to communicate at once.
The most common use for a fiber-optic adapter is simply to connect two fiber-optic cables to one another. Connecting two cables together can allow two devices to communicate from a distance through a direct connection with the fiber-optic line. These simple types of adapters are often referred to as mating sleeves because they allow two cables to connect to one another. Some of these common line to line connectors are also built to connect three or four cables together.
There are a number of different shapes of adapters available, depending on the make-up of the two cables that are to be connected. If the connecting cables are all the same shape, an adapter with square, rectangular, or round inputs can be used. These adapters are comprised of two or more female connections that the fiber-optic cables can be plugged into.
When attempting to connect two cables that are different shapes, it is necessary to use a type of fiber-optic adapter called a hybrid connector. A hybrid connector can be designed to fit any two types of fiber-optic cables together. There are many different types of hybrid connectors, so it is important to know what type of cables need to be connected before purchasing one.
There are also adapters that can be used to attach a bare fiber-optic cable to a connection piece. This piece allows the cable to fit into a connection slot, whether into a mating sleeve or into an electronic device. The fiber-optic cable can be fit into an adapter that works with any of the standard shaped connectors.
In addition to connectors that tie two fiber-optic lines together, there are also fiber-optic adapter panels that can be used to connect multiple fiber-optic lines. In a device such as this, connections can be made between any of the lines plugged into the panel. Though a single adapter panel can usually only hold a dozen or so cables, the panels can also be spliced together, allowing hundreds or thousands of connections to be made.