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Build a Long Distance Fiber Optic Network

As the internet traffic is growing exponentially, along with the expansion of network devices, your network capacity has to expand accordingly. But the capacity of today’s dominating copper-based network has failed to fulfill the ever-growing demands of network expansion. Admittedly, the Ethernet network is a perfect solution to a great number of solutions, such as IP cameras, PoS terminals, digital signage, etc., but when a faster network speed is required, the fiber optic network emerges as a winner. Moreover, given the inherent disadvantages of copper cabling (attenuation, electromagnetic interference, etc.) over the long cable runs, fiber cabling is a more viable choice in long-haul, high-bandwidth applications.

Fiber Optic Network: Front Runner in Long-distance Applications

The fiber optic network is a technology that transmits data in the form of light signals through fiber optic cables to extend the transmission distance up to 60-80km. Since the fiber optic cable has excellent immunity to crosstalk, EMI and network congestion, it’s the best-of-all solution for long-range network applications. And since the fiber optic cables cannot conduct electricity, they can be deployed in any combustible environment like oil, mining, industrial automation, etc. Additionally, no electricity flows mean there’ll be no electromagnetic field generated and no signal leakage, so the information cannot be easily tapped or accessed by intruders. The fiber optic network is also renowned for its symmetrical upload and download network speeds, ideal for installing mission-critical applications like IP surveillance systems.

How Fiber Optic Network Works?

Like the copper-based network, the fiber optic network is also hardwired. The signals are transmitted in the form of light pulses through the fiber optic cable to the connected device. Light travels down a fiber optic cable by bouncing off the walls of the cable repeatedly. Each light particle bounces down the pipe with continued internal mirror-like reflection. Once the light pulses reach their destination, an optical network terminal (ONT) will convert the signal to the electrical Ethernet which your device can understand and use. But considering a majority of network devices don’t support an optical interface, to set up the fiber optic network, the priority is to complete the conversion between fiber and copper cables.

How to Set up a Long Distance Fiber Optic Network

To set up a long-distance fiber optic network, you’ll need a router, a fiber optic switch, some media converters and SFP modules, and most importantly pre-terminated fiber optic cables.

Fiber Optic Swicth

The fiber optic switch connects multiple optic fibers and controls data packets routing between inputs and outputs to realize data management from a central point. It is widely applied in data centers, computer networks and surveillance systems. The fiber optic switch can eliminate congestion to the minimum in the signal transmission, ideal for heavy traffic and complex networks. And the fiber switch is often used with SFP modules and fiber media converters for media conversion. Fastcabling has launched an 8 port Fiber Optic SFP Switch that features 8*10/100/1000Mbps SFP ports and 2 Gigabit uplink ports to help set up a high-speed network at greater distances.

Fiber Media Converter

The fiber media converter offers a cost-effective method to retrofit the legacy copper-based network cabling and create a seamless connection between the fiber optic cables and Ethernet cables. Fastcabling has launched several kinds of media converters to facilitate the media conversion between dissimilar media types, such as the mini Gigabit fiber Ethernet media converter and 2 port fiber PoE extender. And we’ve also launched a waterproof industrial hardened grade fiber PoE media converter (IP67-rated) that can also generate PoE power for the edge device with a regulated power output of 30W to power devices like IP cameras and WAPs in remote areas and reduces the chances of power loss and voltage drop in long cable runs. Read more about media converter here.

SFP Module

The SFP module is a modular transceiver that plugs into the SFP port on the converter to facilitate the media conversion. The SFP modules are mainly classified based on their speed capabilities. Fastcabling has launched several types of SFP modules that deliver high-speed data transmission from 1Gps to 10Gps to support long-distance applications up to 10-20km. These SFP modules are designed for use with LC-type single-mode fiber optic cables. They feature a wide operating temperature range (-20℃~60℃/-40℃~75℃) and are equipped with excellent ESD protection to protect the devices from breakdown and malfunctioning.

Pre-terminated Fiber Optic Cable

The per-terminated fiber cable arrives on-site with the connector attached and ready to install. It’s normally made at a pre-determined length, and it’s undeniable of higher quality than its counterpart. The pre-terminate cable helps eliminate rework, transmission testing, etc. And it comes in a plug-and-play design, which can be easily connected and disconnected, cutting off the deployment time by at least 70%. It is manufactured and assembled in a well-controlled environment to ensure the best possible network performance, and signal loss can be highly restrained with thorough inspections. The pre-terminated cable can be used in mission-critical applications that demand the highest level of accuracy, like video surveillance systems.

How to connect:

1) Connect the router with the fiber optic switch with a short patch cord;

2) Insert the SFP module into the fiber optic switch and media converter and connect them with the pre-terminated fiber optic cable;

3) Power up both the fiber switch and media converter with AC power;

4) Connect the media converter with the powered device like an IP camera.

How to Choose a Network Device for Outdoor Deployments

When building the fiber optic network outdoors, extra protection is needed to ensure a safe network connection in long-range applications. Water ingress is one of the most common challenges when deploying network devices in wash-down or high-humidity places. If water infiltrates, problems like disconnection, short-circuit, fire or shock hazard, etc., may occur. Also, the device you choose for building the fiber optic network should be made from durable materials that are highly resistant to all kinds of environmental hazards, and materials like polycarbonate and stainless steel are highly recommended. Moreover, you should always take some precautions to protect your devices and appliances from power surges. If large enough, a power surge can cause permanent damage to the PDs. By the way, to adapt to the ambient temperatures outdoors, it should also be able to work under a vast temperature range.

To tackle the problems for outdoor deployments, Fastcabling has launched a great number of network devices to help you set up a long distance fiber optic network outdoors.

Outdoor PoE Switch with SFP

To install a long-range network in an outdoor environment, it’s highly recommended to use our outdoor PoE switch that is built with an SFP interface. By using this outdoor PoE switch, you can take advantage of fiber cabling to overcome the geographic limit of Ethernet. This outdoor PoE switch is built with an internal power bank and can work with various kinds of external power supplies like AC and solar power and is capable of delivering a maximum power out of 32W each port to help you install power-hungry devices in hard-to-reach areas (feeds on external power sources like AC or solar power). It also features 6kV surge protection to protect the device from electrical surges and lightning strikes.

Gigabit Industrial Hardened Compact Ethernet Media Converter

This media converter is designed for industrial-grade applications, like industrial automation, oil and mining, transportation monitoring, etc. It features a small footprint, easy to make its way into the existing network infrastructure. It has a generic Gigabit SFP interface for LC/SC type fiber. This media converter supports a wide operating temperature range from -40°C to 75°C and carrier-grade surge protection to prevent damages caused by lightning and power surges. It supports a transmission speed of 1000Mbps to help you set up a high-speed network in long-range applications.

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