Fiber-optic converters can be used to change an electrical signal into an optical signal or to increase the speed of a signal over an optical cable. Some converters can also be used to change the standard to which the optical signal conforms or to boost a signal, allowing it to travel a longer distance through a fiber-optic cable. There are a number of different converters available that are designed to convert optical signals in a variety of ways.
One of the types of fiber-optic converters is used to change electrical information into optical information. This type of device requires the use of a light emitting diode (LED) or a laser that transmits optical information down the fiber-optic cable after it receives the information as an electrical impulse. This is a common type of converter that is used to bridge the gap between old communications devices and new optical communications devices.
Signals of different standards can also be converted through the use of fiber-optic converters. Most cables conform to the RS-232 standard, which dictates the timing between the pulses of light, but others may use the RS-422 or RS-485 standard. Specialized converters are used to allow signals to be seamlessly integrated across different standards without a decrease in speed of transmission.
Speed of transmission can also be increased using fiber-optic converters. These types of converters are usually used to connect an electrical line to an optical line and can increase transmission speed from 10 gigabytes per second to 100 or even 1000 gigabytes per second. These are often referred to as fiber-optic Ethernet converters.
Fiber-optic converters can also be used to connect single-mode and dual-mode optical cables. These cables are not the same size and cannot be connected to each other directly. The information travels down these types of fibers at different speeds as well, meaning that the conversion may boost the speed of information transmission.
Usually, a fiber-optic converter provides a boost to an optical signal as it passes through the device. The signal is re-sent by the converter, allowing it to travel a distance of several miles away from the converter. The converter can do this while keeping the signal optical or converting it from optical to electrical and then back to optical.