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Tips on Extending Ethernet over Fiber Optic Network

Ethernet connections are one of the most common forms of cabling found in data networking. It is a traditional technology to connect network devices in a geographically localized LAN network. Ethernet was first introduced in the 1990s and defined by the IEEE802.3 standards, world-renowned for its high speed, simplicity and reliability. It is a low-cost network solution to help end-users and small-to-medium-sized businesses to expand their networks without interfering with the existing workflow. The two most common types of Ethernet speeds are Fast Ethernet (10/100Mbps) and Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000Mbps), which are more than enough for most people’s local network uses.

But as the internet access increases, the network speed decreases gradually since Ethernet cannot handle such heavy traffic at once. And most importantly, Ethernet comes with a 100-meter standard limitation. Beyond this limit, it will experience severe signal degradation and might as well create crosstalk along with the long cable runs, which makes it highly restricted in long-distance applications. By the way, Ethernet also doesn’t work well with real-time and interactive applications.

Extend Ethernet with Fiber Optics

To overcome the standard Ethernet limitation, the fiber optic network, as another frequently used broadband network solution, is normally recommended for distances greater than 100 meters to ground the issues in copper cabling. Since no electrical pulses are carried over a fiber optic cable, compared with the Ethernet network, the fiber optic network has greater immunity to electromagnetic interference, surges, spikes and is easier to troubleshoot. But since most houses and office buildings are fully carpeted with Ethernet cables, it’ll be unrealistic and extremely expensive to retrofit the whole wiring system. Perhaps, the easiest and the most cost-effective way to extend your network with fiber optics is to deploy a pair of fiber media converters. And depending on what type of cables and SFP transceivers you use, you can extend your network up to 60-80km, ideal for long-range network deployments.

Here are the key network devices you need to extend the existing Ethernet network with fiber optics: fiber media converters, SFP modules and pre-terminated fiber optic cables.

Fiber Media Converter

The fiber media converter is a device that is utilized to create a seamless connection between dissimilar media types. It’s used in various scenarios, such as surveillance systems, building access controls and enterprise networks. The fiber media converters often work in pairs to realize copper-to-fiber conversion. The first media converter receives the Ethernet signals from the network switch or main router, converts them into optical signals and transfers them down the fiber cable to the second media converter. And the second device will then convert the signals back to the Ethernet signals that the edge device can receive. The fiber media converters can be mainly divided into managed and unmanaged, commercial and industrial-grade, standalone and chassis-based ones by their functions and forms. If you’re interested, please continue to read Media Conversion: Ethernet to Fiber.

This compact media converter is an ideal solution for extending or converting different types of data signals (electrical or optical) throughout the entire network system, allowing you to upgrade your existing network infrastructure in a more budget-friendly way. It features a compact size, easy to fit in a space-constrained location. This converter supports a maximum transmission rate of 1000Mbps. It is intended for use with single-mode fiber optic cables using SC or LC type connectors. It offers various mounting options like Din-Rail, wall and desk-mounting to allow you to install the device with ease. This media converter provides a plug-and-play installation to help you complete the conversion within minutes.

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 transmission from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps 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.

Supported by the WDM technology, the BiDi SFP module is a transceiver that can accept and receive bidirectional data flows from the interconnected equipment. Physically, the BiDi SFP module only has one port because it is equipped with a diplexer to combine and separate the signals transmitted through the fiber optic cable, while the traditional SFP module is available with two ports, one for transmitting data and another for receiving data. BiDi SFP is normally used in FTTX applications, especially in setting up a point-to-point connection. Fastcabling has launched a pair of single-mode BiDi SFP+ fiber modules that are specifically designed for use with single-mode fiber cables terminated with LC connectors to deliver a maximum transmission rate of 10 Gbps, ideal for Gigabit Ethernet applications. Featuring a low power consumption, it offers a cost-optimized solution to bypass the 100-meter Ethernet limit by extending the transmission distance to 10km.

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.

There are two primary types of fiber optic cables: single-mode fiber cables (SMF) and multi-mode fiber cables (MMF). The single-mode fiber cable has a small fiber core size and only allows the laser to pass through, while the multi-mode fiber cable has a larger fiber core which lets multiples strands of light signals pass through at the same time. But MMF will create more reflection and generates more signal loss over the transmission. SMF is widely used in long-distance and higher-bandwidth deployments, while MMF is used for short-distance, cross-building applications (≤550 meters).

These fiber optic cables are pre-terminated in a clean environment with the least possible contamination on the connectors, so the signal loss can be greatly reduced. Fastcabling has launched a series of high-quality pre-terminated fiber optic cables at different cable lengths (100m/300m/500m) to meet your specific needs. Besides, our pre-terminated fiber cables are wrapped with a rugged armored jacket to prevent transmission failures caused by bending, twisting, breakage, etc. And the pulling eye design saves you lots of time when installing fiber cables through conduits, ducts or risers. And it also protects the connectors of the fiber optic cables to prevent the cables from twisting during the installation. Each fiber optic cable has two connectors per end labeled with Connector A and B to speed up the point-to-point connection on the site. If you want to run the cable over 500 meters, you can use the SC-SC or LC-LC fiber optic cable extension coupler to connect two independent cables together.

How to Install an IP Camera 500 Meters Away

1) You need to prepare a router or a network switch if multiple devices are to be installed, a fiber media converter, a waterproof industrial hardened grade fiber PoE media converter, a pair of SFP modules as well as some Ethernet cables and pre-terminated fiber optic cables.

2) Connect the router and the media converter with a short patch cord, insert an SFP module into the converter and power the device with AC power.

3) Insert another SFP module into the waterproof industrial hardened grade fiber PoE media converter, use a 500-meter-long pre-terminated fiber optic cable to link two converters, and then power up the fiber PoE media converter with AC or solar power.

4) Since the fiber PoE media converter can simultaneously generate PoE power for the edge device with a regulated power output of DC 54V, 30W to power devices like IP cameras and WAPs in remote areas, there’s no need to install a power outlet on the installation site. Just use an Ethernet cable to connect the converter and the IP camera.

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