Definition of adapter in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is Adapter

Generally, a device for connecting two different types of electronic hardware without losing functionality.

In networking, a cable adapter has two different connectors that provide data transmission back and forth. Cable adapters come in many varieties, and they are specified by the two connector types and whether the connectors are male or female (for example, DB9 female to DB25 male adapter).

Cable adapters are a necessary part of the network administrator’s toolkit because of the large number of connectivity options provided by networking equipment vendors.

The term «adapter» is also used in a number of different contexts in networking, including the following examples:

  • Network interface cards (NICs) are sometimes called network adapter cards because they provide connectivity between computers and network cabling.
  • Cigarette lighter adapters can be used to power cellular phones or laptops from an automobile battery.
  • Digital phone adapters allow analog modems to be connected directly to Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone outlets without damage.
  • ST-SC adapters provide connectivity between fiber-optic connectors of differing types.
Network Adapter is the same as Network Interface Card. It's the interface that allows a computer to connect to a network using a HUB or SWITCH and UTP Cabling.