A balun is a device used to connect two different cable types and connectors.
A balun overcomes the need to meet varying interconnection standards. In some markets telecommunications signals are carried over 75 ohm coaxial cables and in other markets they are carried over 100 or 120 ohm twisted pair cables. These differing standards mean equipment manufacturers must support both interfaces, increasing equipment cost and complexity, or support one standard and use a balun as a means of connecting to the other standard.
The word “balun” is derived from the words balanced and unbalanced.
Balanced signals are carried by twisted pair cables. One conductor carries a positive signal and simultaneously the other conductor carries a negative signal. The signals on the two conductors are equal in amplitude with respect to ground. The ITU G703 recommendation specifies the use of twisted pair cable with rated impedance of 100 or 120 ohm.
Unbalanced signals are carried by coaxial cables. One conductor, the core, carries the signal and the other conductor, the cable shield, is connected to ground. The signals on the two conductors are unequal with respect to ground. The G703 recommendation specifies the use of coaxial cable with an impedance rating of 75 ohm.
A balun connects these different cable types. It provides impedance transformation and matching to maintain pulse shape, minimise signal reflections and reduce insertion loss.
In summary, a balun is a device used to connect a balanced line to an unbalanced line.
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