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Large core step-index plastic optical fibers (SI-POF) are bandwidth limited due to their high modal dispersion and coupling loss at the receiver. To date, the large core SI-POF are typically deployed up to 150 Mb/s applications. This paper reports the transmission of 2.5 Gb/s on 980 μm core step-index plastic optical fiber with fiber-based mode conditioning elements that are part of the connector assembly. The built-in mode conditioners are tapered fiber tips that provide restricted mode launching at transmitter and mode filtering at the receiver side. The structures, at the tip of POF, are optimized by optical simulations and fabricated using laser fusion process. The connector assembly is realized by precisely encapsulating the mode conditioners with a metallic ferrule and positioned using optical grade epoxies. These plug-in modules are inserted to a typical SFP transceiver LC connector receptacle and characterized for gigabit rates.