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Media converters are not always about fiber to copper

By Donna Donnawitz
June 13, 2013

Much of the discussion surrounding media converters center on getting fiber-based infrastructure to work well in conjunction with Ethernet architectures functioning on copper cables. While this is a key use model, it is not the only deployment option for the technology. Media converters can also be used within an all-fiber setup, creating value by extending the range of the network or resolving protocol-related issues within a specific network link.

Considering the benefits of fiber to fiber deployment models
There are a few reasons to use a media converter for fiber-to​-fiber connections. One common use is to interconnect single mode and multimode fiber-optic cabling deployments. One advantage of this capability is clear when organizations have a diverse fiber setup. Perhaps they have a multimode backbone setup that handles a large amount of bandwidth and covers a significant physical distance. A short single mode connection may run from that network to provide high-performance connectivity to a specific part of the office. From a cost-to-performance perspective, using single and multimode solutions in conjunction with one another makes sense. Conversion interconnects these architectures without sacrificing protocol consistency.

Maintaining protocol consistency is a key attribute of fiber-to-fiber conversion. A protocol independent media conversion solution in an all-fiber network can support a wide range of deployment models, adding an invaluable layer of flexibility to the system. However, these benefits can quickly erode if the system has to interact with Ethernet architectures. Introducing Ethernet into this kind of environment can lead to signal disruption and major performance errors. Fiber to Ethernet solutions that include the ability to translate Ethernet signal to function in a protocol-agnostic fiber to fiber setup can prevent these performance issues from emerging and maximize the value of the network.

Applications for fiber to fiber solutions
Fiber-to-fiber connectivity may not be an extremely prominent need, but it still fits operational requirements in a variety of sectors. Telecoms connecting fiber-to-the-home networks with fiber backhaul can benefit substantially from the technology. Similarly, organizations with large campuses can establish their own middle-mile fiber line connecting major offices and then branch out with smaller connections for different parts of the facility. Data center operators can also benefit from fiber to fiber technology, as more organizations are becoming dependent on fiber throughout the data center, not just in isolated locations.

Fiber-optic cabling is playing a large role in a wide range of network deployments, and media converters can establish a foundation for interoperability across protocols and cabling formats.

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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