Copper to Fiber Media Converter Application Guide

Posted on Sep 22, 2021

Copper to fiber media converter is an important branch of media converter or fiber media converter. It is widely deployed to achieve seamless conversion of copper and fiber cables, largely extending the transmission distances and improving efficiency. To be specific, copper to fiber media converter can be roughly divided into three types, including Ethernet copper to fiber media converter, TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) copper to fiber media converter and serial-to-fiber media converter. The following is going to introduce the applications of these three kinds of media converters respectively.


Ethernet Copper to Fiber Media Converter Applications

Ethernet copper to fiber media converters serve as the most basic type supporting 10/100/1000Mbps or 10Gbps, which are applied to a variety of common scenarios, including point-to-point, high-density fiber distribution and redundant fiber/copper applications.

Point-to-Point Application

Point-to-point connection is a data link between two communication endpoints or nodes. This is the most basic and direct usage. For example, a pair of media converters can be used in point-to-point connections that connect two Ethernet switches (or routers, servers, hubs) via a fiber cable, or to connect switches to the workstation and file server. This application is very simple and efficient, which can be widely used in individual homes or small businesses.


Figure 1: Point-to-Point Application.

High-Density Fiber Distribution Application

High-density fiber distribution is needed in large data centers, enterprise and campus networks. In these cases, a number of fiber media converters are deployed. For better management and space saving, they are usually installed in a redundant power chassis. In this application example, chassis-based media converters are for high-density fiber distribution from the network core (A). An Ethernet switch (B) is connected to the network core with a standalone media converter via a fiber. Another media converter connects a PC RJ45 port in a fiber-to-desktop application (C). An Ethernet switch (D) is connected directly via fiber to the media converter linked with the core switch (A).


Figure 2: High-Density Fiber Distribution Application.

Redundant Fiber/Copper Application

Redundant Ethernet media converters usually have three ports, providing fiber or copper link redundancy. Via the built-in DIP (dual in-line package) switches, the converter can be configured as 2-port redundant mode, which supports auto-recover function. Provided that one cable link is broken, the redundant link is enabled to ensure 100% uptime. They are designed for mission-critical network applications that require fibers or copper links to automatically recover less than 10ms (millisecond), such as ISPs (Internet Service Provider), telecom, hospitals, banks and enterprises. Redundant links can run in parallel paths or geographically diverse paths shown below.


Figure 3:Redundant Application.


TDM Copper to Fiber Media Converter Applications

TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) copper to fiber media converters can be used to extend traditional TDM telecom protocol copper connections using fiber cables, which can improve noise immunity, quality of service, intrusion protection and network security. T1/E1 and T3/E3 converters are two common types. The application is often within a building, building complex or campus.

T1/E1 Application

T1/E1 copper to fiber media converters often provide diagnostic features to support the installation and maintenance of T1 or E1 connections. They enable the deployment of fiber into campus or industrial environments where fiber is free from electrostatic interference noises, making these converters especially important. They operate in pairs extending distances of TDM circuits over fiber. In this application, a pair of T1/E1 media converters are used to extend the demarcation point (hand-off from the Service Provider) to another tenant building with fiber.


Figure 4: T1/E1 Application.

T3/E3 Application

T3/E3 copper to fiber converters provide coax-to-fiber conversion and can be framing independent to operate with framed or unframed, channelized or fractional unchannelized data streams. They can be used to connect to devices such as PBXs (private branch exchange), multiplexers, routers and video servers via fiber. T3/E3 media converters also provide a cost-effective solution for extending telecom demarcation points.


Figure 5: T3/E3 Application.


Serial to Fiber Media Converter Applications

Serial to fiber media converters provide fiber extension for serial protocol copper connections. They can automatically detect the signal baud rate of the connected full-duplex serial device, and support point-to-point and multi-point configurations. They can be connected with RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485 port of network devices.

RS-232 Application

RS-232 fiber media converters are capable of seamlessly connecting with most serial devices, as they support all sorts of hardware flow control signals, operating as asynchronous equipment. RS-232 is widely used because it is so readily available. But it has limited distance, and is susceptible to noise and not multi-drop (Many devices can be connected to the same set of copper cable, while each device listens for its own data and negotiates with the others before sending). In this application, a PC gets access to a terminal server via a serial connection in which two RS-232 fiber media converters are used to achieve the integration of fiber and copper cables.


Figure 6: RS-232 Application.

RS-422 Application

RS-422 fiber media converters have advanced advantages compared with RS-232 converters. It can run longer distances, and is multi-drop and noise resistant. In this application, RS-422 converters are deployed in a bookend configuration to enable serial network distance extension over fiber. They are installed at each end of the fiber link and provide media conversion for connectivity between a serial host/controller and multi-drop serial devices.


Figure 7: RS-422 Application.

RS-485 Application

RS-485 fiber media converters are used in many multi-point applications in which one computer controls many different devices. RS485 converter is multi-drop and can also run long distance as RS-422, but it has better commanding and listening functions. In this application, a pair of RS-485 converters provide the multi-drop connection between the host equipment and connected multi-drop devices via fiber cable.


Figure 8: RS-485 Application.



Copper to fiber media converter will continue to be in great demand for a long time due to ever-growing requirements for transmission distance that Ethernet copper cables cannot cover but fiber cables are able to extend. Ethernet copper to fiber media converter, TDM copper to fiber media converter and serial to fiber media converter are three main types and each type has specific applications, so it would be better to consider the network demands before deploying any of the Ethernet media converters.

Related Article:

Fiber to Fiber Media Converter Application Guide

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