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Fiber rising in security sector

By Max Burkhalter
September 18, 2013

Physical security can be an incredible challenge for businesses in sectors like warehousing, retail and construction. These industries, and similar markets, often have large facilities or operational sites that can be difficult to monitor effectively. Fiber-optic cabling systems are emerging as a solution to this problem, making the solution a prime option in a wide range of settings.

Using fiber for security
Fiber-optic cables are uniquely well suited to security uses because it is easy to install various types of sensors and monitors on the cables. As a result, an organization can take a spool of fiber-optic cable, run it out over the course of its facility's perimeter, install sensors on the cable every few feet and use the wire to support both monitoring and data transmission. This means the fiber can be used to support high-definition video cameras, communications between security personnel and other key tasks simultaneously.

Fiber is a natural fit in this area for a few reasons. First, it can easily extend over long distances without signal degradation. Security deployments depending on copper can run into many problems as they have to use a variety of connecters and extenders to get the job done. Another advantage of fiber is that it is resilient to harsh natural conditions. Hardened forms of both copper and fiber cables can be purchased, but the costs are heavy. Standard optical cables, however, are much more resilient to the elements than copper, making the media choice a natural one for security, as systems often must extend outdoors.

While fiber is ideal in security systems, there are a few caveats when trying to use the technology. Chief among these is the fact that fiber is not compatible with Ethernet and most security cameras, network equipment and computing systems that will connect to the security network are Ethernet-based. This makes media converters vital when investing in fiber for security.

Using media converters to support fiber in security settings
When fiber is used to provide perimeter security, which is often the best model for taking advantage of the cabling formats, the wiring should only need to connect with Ethernet based systems in a few places. These include when the fiber system reattaches to switches supporting the internal network and in locations where the perimeter network branches off to connect with cameras. As a result, fiber to Ethernet media converters are essential to meet security requirements.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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