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How to Set up a Point-to-Point Fiber Optic System?

Fiber optic network has become a more and more popular solution to meet applications requiring long distance, high bandwidth, and excellent security, such as IP surveillance, wireless coverage, and access controls, etc. Moreover, a point-to-point fiber optic system tends to be an optimal choice to realize Ethernet or PoE extension and obtain fast enough network speed, which gradually plays an important role for home and small-to-medium-sized business network expansion design. Fiber optic network makes use of glass or plastic fiber optic cable to achieve fast speed and low latency data transmission over long distance. This article intends to cover people who plan to apply a simple PTP(Point-to-Point) fiber optic network with basic knowledge about PTP fiber optic network and essential things that help start a P2P(Point-Point) fiber optic system deployment in an easy and effective way.

Point-to-Point Fiber Optic Networking System Brief Introduction

A point-to-point fiber optic network basically imply a fiber optic connection between two remote sites, and it can be used for running one fiber optic link for multiple locations, but it only focuses on simple and easy fiber optic connection between two sites, such as two buildings, servers, workstations and so on, and here it is out of the business of those applications that planing to use fiber optic networks for multiple connections, like multiple buildings, the whole campus, hospital or some situations alike.

P2P fiber optic network features a simple design and setup. It saves many complicated thinking and considerations to balance the stability and cost for the view of the whole networks on a large scale. It can’t be so hard to design the network only from point A to point B.

P2P fiber optic networks actually come with plenty of other advantages. Let’s start from its essence, like mentioned at the beginning, fiber optic networks reply on glass-made or plastic-made fiber optic cable to finish data transmission, so power surges or electromagnetic inferences occurring on the connection won’t be concerns anymore. And fiber optics use light as a medium to transmit signals, that is why fiber optic networks are able to reach up to 10KM easily and serve fast speed at the edge end. Then get back to P2P fiber optic itself, it offers supreme network security as it is a dedicated, and private connection between two points. Besides, P2P fiber optic networks are capable to make the users experience the same network speed as the LAN at the main control location over the long run, and it performs an equal upload and downloads bandwidth. In addition, P2P connection allows the users to manage the network from the main control room, that said, situations like data at the remote sites needed to backup or some specific network ports required a higher bandwidth can be solved at headquarters locations.

To accomplish a point-to-point fiber optic network, for starter, it is necessary to make clear what equipment are required, otherwise, I guess nobody is willing to encounter a dilemma that the setup has to be stopped and resulting in a longer deployment period just because lacking materials that are essential.

For different applications with different networking infrastructure or requirements, the checklist of the needed equipment is supposed to be different. We can divide thes equipment into 4 categories roughly, including network electronics, signal conversion devices, connection tools, and power supply.

Network Electronics

It can apparently be implied from the keyword “P2P fiber optic network” that the basic and final demand is to get the network to cover a remote site for the edge connecting IP devices. Some other types of fiber optic networks, such as FTTH(Fiber To The Home), FTTP(Fiber To The Premise), FTTC(Fiber To The Curb), has been used, among these, FTTC is the most common type, which means fiber optic networks are run to the curbs near homes or business buildings, and the distance between these two points adopt Ethernet wires or coaxial wiring or some else types wiring. Regarding fiber optic networks, the majority of houses or business buildings have no direct access, which is the contrary of those new style fiber optic networks, FTTH, or FTTP. And just for this reason, P2P fiber optic networks show its function. It can easily integrate with the existing Ethernet or PoE network. Ethernet or PoE network generally consists of routers, Ethernet switch, or PoE switch, moreover, when referring to IP surveillance network, NVR or PoE NVR may need. P2P fiber optic link is mainly helping take the LAN to one or multiple remote locations, therefore, if you already have a networking infrastructure installed, there are no need to do works on it, and just skip this part and go to the next signal conversion part unless the original network no longer meets the growing requirements on network speed, number of ports or others.

Signal Conversion Devices

It is mentioned initially that fiber optics rely on light for data transmission, so it light signals through the fiber optic cable. Whereas, commonly used Ethernet or PoE network utilizes copper wires to get electronic connected, which is electric signals. As a result, it is a necessity to add devices or gadgets that are specially designed to do the signal conversion work. Such devices are called fiber media converters and SFP transceivers( aka SFP modules). These two gadgets have to work together to finish the signal conversion job, and for most applications, they are both used in a pair. Some people wonder why these two things don’t produce as one product directly, and this is largely determined by the SFP modules. In order to meet different needs, SFP modules are varied network speeds and transmission distances, and some of them only work with specific brands due to different protocols being used.

Fiber media converters are equipped with an SFP slot and a or two RJ45 ports, just place one at the main network switch end and put the other one at the edge end. The SPF slot is empty and waiting for the SFP slot to be plugged into. And RJ45 ports are certainly used to connect to network switches RJ45 port or the edge IP device’s RJ45 pigtail. There are two types of fiber media converters available in the market, one is the Ethernet type and the PoE-enabled type. The PoE-enabled fiber media converters offer greater installation flexibility for the edge IP devices because power is transmitted simultaneously over a single Ethernet cable, like Cat5e, Cat6, eliminating extra AC outlets around the edge devices.

SFP transceivers stand for small form-factor pluggable transceivers, which are compact, hot-pluggable signal conversion tools making instant fiber connectivity with plug-and-play installment. SFP modules are produced to support two types of fiber optic cables, singlemode and multimode. Besides, it also varies from connectors types, simplex or duplex. Common SFP module equipped with two ports, one for signal transmitting and the other for signal receiving. There is an advanced type called BiDi SFP modules, which only use one port for transmitting and receiving with different wavelengths, providing an easier connection. SFP general supports 1G or 2.5G network speed, and if calling for a 10G network, the SFP+ module can easily meet your need.

Connection Tools

Fiber optic networks are wired connectivity, so same as the Ethernet network using copper wires to build a channel for data transmitting, fiber optic networks use fiber optic cable to do the job. Fiber optic cables are divided into singlemode and multimode fiber optic cables. Singlemode serves a long distance transmission with higher bandwidth due to its cable structure, a cleaner channel is used to transmit signal with less attenuation. Multimode fiber cables are more widely for applications with a shorter transmission distance(within 300-400 meters). What’s more, the deployment environment needs to be considered in the purchase of fiber optic cable. You can find indoor or indoor/outdoor types. Generally, fiber cabling is protected by waterproof wipes or enclosures so as to realize outdoor harsh deployment or direct-buried beneath the ground.

Unlike copper wires that usually with a connector installed, fiber optic cable is a sensitive thing requiring high preciseness due to easy signal loss. Consequently, fiber optic cables are not always pre-made. For those applications asking an ultra-precise cable termination, they may choose fusion splicing or hand polishing, which creates a higher investment in connection tools and installation time. If just for home or regular business use, pre-terminated fiber optic cable is a fair option. The connectors have been pre-terminated and 100% tested in the factory, so the performance effect can be guaranteed and it features plug-and-play to make connector termination easier and faster.

Power Supply

The above information indicates that fiber optics is not about the current due to their material. That means only data, or say network that is more easily understand, is transmitted over a long distance in the fiber optic cable. That means at the edge end, power needs to take extra consideration. If choose fiber PoE switches, no matter using a fiber optics network or other media for transmission, they require an external AC power source, you need to find an AC outlet present, or run wires from afar where the AC power source is available. Regarding the fiber media converters, they also need to be powered, and then they can work normally, supply network or PoE to the connected IP devices. Generally, external power supply units are used commonly, for outdoor or industrial harsh deployment, outdoor-rated or industrial grade power supply units are highly recommended. Needless to say that if you choose fiber switches or fiber media converters that do not comply with PoE standards, the edge IP devices, such as IP cameras, wireless access points need to be powered separately with matched power adaptors.

How to Set up a Point-to-Point fiber optic network for IP Camera or Wireless Access Point?

To set up IP devices with a fiber optic network from point A (main control center) to point B (the remote location), it is not hard work if you gather all the needed and proper items, especially for those support PoE technology or plug-and-play installation. Let’s take the most typical one to demonstrate and give a brief instruction.

Equipment and materials:

√ Router

√  NVR

√  A pair of fiber media converters(the remote end used the PoE-enabled type)

√  A pair of BiDi SFP modules

√  Pre-terminated fiber optic cable

√  Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable

√ PoE camera and PoE wireless access point

1. Plug the SFP modules into the fiber media converters

2. Use Ethernet patch cord to connect the Ethernet fiber media converter’ RJ45 port to one of the RJ45 ports of the router

3. Power the two media converters using DC adaptors

4. Connect the two media converters with pre-terminated fiber optic cable

5. Use Ethernet cable (Cat5e, or Cat6) to connect the PoE fiber media converter to the PoE camera and the PoE wireless access point (PoE ports to PoE ports)

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