Fiber Media Converters
Ethernet-Fiber Converters enable connections of UTP copper-based ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link to take advantage of the benefits of fiber which include;
- Using fiber optic cable extending links over greater distances
- Protecting data from noise and interference
- Future proofing by adding additinal bandwidth capacity to your network
Copper-based Ethernet connections are limited to a data transmission distance of only 100 m when using UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cable. Fiber optic cabling can now be used to extend this link over a greater distance by using an ethernet to fiber conversion solution.
An Ethernet to Fiber Media Converter can also be used where there is high level of electromagnetic interference or EMI which is a commonly found in industrial and commercial environments. This interference can cause corruption of data over copper-based ethernet links. Data transmitted over fiber optic cable, however, is completely immune to this type of noise. An Ethernet to Fiber Optic Converter enables you to inter-connect your copper-ethernet devices over fiber ensuring optimal data transmission across the plant floor or commercial space.
Fiber optic media converters connect to different types of networks, copper ethernet and optical fiber ethernet. Cable used can be single mode or multi mode fiber. Fiber media converters are widely used, especially in FTTH systems.
Media converters are often used in pairs to extend a network by inserting a fiber segment into a copper network. There are also used individually if one side of the network already has an existing fiber connection.
There are various types of fiber media converters based on parameters such as data rate, interfaces, form factors, power options and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).
The following illustration depicts the connectors most commonly used with fiber optic media converters. The ST connector is designed for fiber using a bayonet locking system. SC connector and LC connector are the most popular small-form-factor fiber connectors. The MT-RJ connector is a RJ-style connector which has a molded body. The RJ45 is the familiar to most people, which is designed for copper cable and can be found on most of our devices that need to be connected to the Ethernet.
Patch cables are generally used to directly connect media converters. However, for SFP, SFP+ and XFP transceivers, there are two methods for connecting the media converters to the network.
The following diagram shows an application example of fiber media converters. For fiber media converters with fiber optic interface of LC/ST/SC/MT-RJ, the interfaces on the two media converters can be connected directly by a length of fiber optic patch cable that has the corresponding connector type. The RJ45 port of each media converter is connected to 10/100Base-TX HUB and computer server separately. The two fiber media converters should be supported by electricity.
What is a Fiber Media Converter?
Media converters are flexible and cost-effective devices for implementing and optimizing fiber links in all types of networks. The most common type of media converter is a device that functions as a transceiver converting the electrical signal used in copper Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) network cabling into light waves used in fiber optic cabling.
Fiber optic connectivity is necessary when the distance between two network devices exceeds the transmission distance of copper cabling. Copper-to-fiber conversion using media converters enables two network devices with copper ports to be connected over extended distances via fiber optic cabling.
Media converters are available as Physical Layer or Layer 2 switching devices, and can provide rate-switching and other advanced switching features like VLAN tagging. Media converters are typically protocol specific and are available to support a wide variety of network types and data rates.
Media converters can also convert between wavelengths for Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) applications.
Deployed in Enterprise, Government, Data Center, and Telecom Fiber to the x networks, media converters have become the Swiss army knife of networking to enable connectivity and fiber distance extension.
The Benefits of Media Converters
Network complexity, demanding applications, and the growing number of devices on the network are driving network speeds and bandwidth requirements higher and forcing longer distance requirements within the Local Area Network (LAN). Media converters present solutions to these problems, by allowing the use of fiber when it is needed, and integrating new equipment into existing cabling infrastructure. Media converters provide seamless integration of copper and fiber, and different fiber types in Enterprise LAN networks. They support a wide variety of protocols, data rates and media types to create a more reliable and cost-effective network.
Demands on the Network are Increasing:
- LANs and WANs are converging, and networks are growing in physical area
- Budget constraints are pushing preservation of capital investment in legacy switches and routers
- New network services are driving up bandwidth demand
Solutions Provided by Media Converters:
- Increase network distances by converting UTP to fiber and extending fiber links
- Maintain investments in existing equipment
- Increase the capacity of existing fiber with WDM wavelengths (when used with multiplexers)
New Applications for Media Converters:
- Remotely managed converter and multi-port switch configurations
- Convert WDM wavelengths for bandwidth capacity enhancement
- Enable Fiber-to-the-Desktop
Media converters do more than convert copper-to-fiber and convert between different fiber types. Media converters for Ethernet networks can support integrated switch technology, and provide the ability to perform 10/100 and 10/100/1000 rate switching. Additionally, media converters can support advanced features including VLAN, Quality of Service (QoS) prioritization, Port Access Control and Bandwidth Control. These features facilitate the deployment of new data, voice and video to end users. Media converters can provide all these sophisticated switch capabilities in a small, cost-effective device.
Media converters save capital equipment expenditures (CAPEX) by enabling interconnection between existing switches, servers, routers and hubs; preserving the investment in legacy equipment. They also reduce CAPEX by avoiding the need to install new fiber links by enabling WDM technology through wavelength conversion.
Media converters also reduce network operating costs (OPEX) by helping to troubleshoot and remotely configure network equipment that is at distant locations, saving time and money when there is not a network administrator at the distant location.
Media Converters Leverage the Benefits of Fiber Optic Cabling
Fiber can transport more data over longer distances than copper cabling, and increased distances provide the ability to reach more users and equipment. Fiber has complete immunity to electrical interference, and provides higher security than copper cabling because it has no electro-magnetic emission. These characteristics have made fiber an ideal medium for commercial, utility, government and financial networks.
Distances supported by fiber network infrastructure are limited mostly by the optical power, or brightness, supplied by the active interface hardware. Fiber distances can range from 300 meters to 160 kilometers, depending on the type of media converter, cable, wavelength and data rate.