Recently, there are two main types of fiber Bucket Adapters, each of which serves a different purpose. One type of fiber adapter is used to convert a digital optical signal to a digital or analog radio frequency (RF) signal. This is necessary in order to connect certain equipment when one device has an optical output and another has only coaxial inputs. The other type of fiber adapter can be used to plug a traditional optical cable into a mini-jack. Since both of these formats are digital, this type of adapter does not involve any type of analog conversion hardware.
Optical cables, which typically conform to the standardized format, are used to transfer information digitally. The optical jack on an output device, such as a compact disc (CD) or digital versatile disc (DVD) player, generates light that acts as a carrier wave. Digital audio or video information is transmitted by this light-based carrier wave, and the optical jack on an input device is capable of reading it. The actual cables are composed of optical fiber that is capable of transmitting light-based carrier waves for about 20 feet (6 meters) before the signal attenuation becomes too great.
In order to connect a device that uses an optical output to a device that uses coaxial inputs, some type of fiber adapter unit is required. There are two different types of fiber adapter that can be used for this purpose, since various devices can use either digital or analog coaxial inputs. A digital to digital fiber adapter has a input on one side and a connector on the other. These devices typically require an external power source as well to facilitate the conversion process.
The other type of fiber adapter can also convert between digital and analog. This type of fiber adapter typically also has a standard input, but contains multiple outputs. Each output carries a single analog signal, such as a right or left audio channel. Despite the fact that both of these adapters use outputs, they are typically not compatible due to the difference between digital and analog RF signals.
Also, there are another fiber adapter that is simply used to convert between differently sized optical plugs and jacks. There is one main size for plugs and jacks, though some devices use the smaller instead. These jacks use the same encoding format to transfer digital information on a light-based carrier wave.