Where Category 5e, 6, and 7 metallic cable transmits data by way of
electrons, fiber-optic cable uses light. The cable used for this
purpose is made up of glass or plastic fibers surrounded by layers of
various materials that serve to protect them from harm.
optics transmit data in the form of light particles -- or photons --
that pulse through a fiber optic cable. The glass fiber core and the
cladding each have a different refractive index that bends incoming
light at a certain angle. When light signals are sent through the
fiber optic cable, they reflect off the core and cladding in a series
of zig-zag bounces, adhering to a process called total internal
reflection” (fiber optics, TechTarget, http://bit.ly/2WNAaFJ).
cable is ideal for long-distant signal transmission applications.
This is because light will carry data for much longer distances
without the usual signal degradation so typical of metallic cable.
The only problem, most of the time this data starts out over metallic
cable and it must be converted to light for use with fiber-optic
cable. The question is, how do we go from metallic cable to fiber and
To make this
conversion possible, a fiber adapter is necessary. This device will
extend the effective transmission distance from the customary 328
feet to more than 3,000 feet. This application is ideal when
connecting a remote workstation to a wired hub or switch in a
In this case
the modular plug installed on the end of a metallic UTP (Unshielded
Twisted Pair) cable is simply inserted into an adapter at the one end
of the circuit and the opposing end is inserted into another adapter
at the other end. There are conversion devices also available that
make the metallic to fiber conversion at a wired hub or switch. The
100Base-FX standard, for example, uses fiber-optical cable to extend
the transmission distance up to 1.2 miles. Compare this to the usual
328 feet limitation of metallic 100Base-T.
stations are wired in a star configuration to a repeater or central
concentrator using SC, ST or MIC connectors. See Ethernet and
fiber converters also are built for speed and convenience. For
example, according to Interlogix, the firm’s IFS DE7200M series
10/100 Mbps Ethernet Mini 2-Port Media Converter will function as a
10 Mbps Ethernet link, or as a 100 Mbps Ethernet link without any
We’ll cover fiber conversion in greater detail in a subsequent blog post here on the Cables.com blog.