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Transceivers (Media Converters)
The term transceiver does describe a separate network device, but it can also be technology built and embedded in devices such as network cards and modems. In a network environment, a transceiver gets its name from being both a transmitter and a receiver of signals—thus the name transceivers. Technically, on a LAN, the transceiver is responsible for placing signals onto the network media and also detecting incoming signals traveling through the same wire. Given the description of the function of a transceiver, it makes sense that that technology would be found with network cards.
Although transceivers are found in network cards, they can be external devices as well. As far as networking is concerned, transceivers can ship as a module or chip type. Chip transceivers are small and are inserted into a system board or wired directly on a circuit board. Module transceivers are external to the network and are installed and function similarly to other computer peripherals, or they can function as standalone devices.
There are many types of transceivers—RF transceivers, fiber optic transceivers, Ethernet transceivers, wireless (WAP) transceivers, and more. Though each of these media types are different, the function of the transceiver remains the same. Each type of the transceiver used has different characteristics, such as the number of ports available to connect to the network and whether full-duplex communication is supported.
Listed with transceivers in the CompTIA objectives are media converters. Media converters are a technology that allows administrators to interconnect different media types—for example, twisted pair, fiber, and Thin or thick coax—within an existing network. Using a media converter, it is possible to connect newer 100Mbps, Gigabit Ethernet, or ATM equipment to existing networks such as 10BASE-T or 100BASE-T. They can also be used in pairs to insert a fiber segment into copper networks to increase cabling distances and enhance immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI).