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What is a Fiber-Optic Transmitter?

By D. Nelson
Updated May 17, 2024
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A fiber-optic transmitter is a device that is used to change electrical signals into optical signals. The transmitter then transfers the optical signals to the optical fiber. The applications of fiber-optics are normally related to scenarios of networking computers within an office. Fiber-optics are also used for long distance telecommunications. A fiber-optic transmitter is considered to be a hybrid device that has three different components.

The first component of a fiber-optic transmitter is the interface circuit. The interface circuit is responsible for processing the electrical signal. This component is also responsible for creating compatibility between the electrical signal and the source drive circuit.

The transmitter also contains the source drive circuit. The purpose of the source drive circuit is to vary the current of the optical source. This source drive's intensity literally modulates the optical signal.

Finally, the optical source is the component of the fiber-optic transmitter that changes the energy of the electrical current into optical energy. Optical energy is another way of saying "light." Therefore, the optical source what is responsible for changing the electrical energy into the light that one can see.

The most common purpose of a fiber-optic transmitter is for networking and telecommunication. Fiber-optics are well suited to these applications because optical fibers tend to be light-weight and easy to handle. Optic cables can be easily stored and transported, making them perfect for office environments where space may be limited. Due to the ease of handling the cables, installing a fiber-optic transmitter is relatively simple.

There are two types of fiber optic transmitters. Those in the first group interface with single mode cables, while others interface with multimode cables. When using a fiber optic transmitter, multimode interface is often preferred. A multimode interface requires only a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) rather than a laser; lasers are necessary for the use of single mode cable interfaces.

When choosing a fiber optic transmitter, there are a number of features to consider. For example, a prospective buyer or network administrator should consider the signal input and the focusing lens necessary for his or her application. He or she should also consider a transmitter whether a stand-alone transmitter is preferable to a chip. When it comes to types of fiber optic transmitters, many find that the most important feature is the signal input, which determines if the transmitter is for video, radio, or for digital purposes.

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