How to Use Fiber Media Converter in Your Network?
Media converters are gaining much momentum over the years due to their cost-efficiency and flexibility for integrating copper infrastructure into a fiber-based system. They present a quite simple way to extend the distance that legacy UTP copper cabling cannot handle. Media converters today are widely deployed in all sorts of industries and sectors to provide a connection between copper and fiber, including security surveillance, government defense, enterprise, and campus LANs. Then how to use media converter and properly connect it to devices like network switches, optical transceivers, fiber and copper cables? This article will illustrate the cabling procedures, using considerations, and address common troubleshooting issues.
Guide on How to Use Media Converter
Copper to Fiber Network Application
While it is more common to deploy a pair of fiber media converters in a network, a single media converter is sometimes needed to connect copper cabling to a fiber device. In the figure below, a copper to fiber media converter with 1×SFP slot and 1×RJ45 is applied, connecting the Ethernet switch (Switch B) of RJ45 interfaces to an SFP switch (Switch A) to transfer a copper network to a fiber optic network at a speed of 1Gbps. The steps of connecting fiber optic cable and copper cable to media converter are as follows:
1. Connect the copper port of Switch B to the RJ45 port of fiber media converter using a UTP cable (Cat5 and above).
2. Plug an SFP transceiver into SFP slot on the media converter, and plug another SFP module into Switch A.
3. Insert a fiber patch cable into the SFP transceivers on the media converter and Switch A.
Extend the network distance of Gigabit Fiber Links
A pair of fiber media converters are often applied to link together two copper cabling systems for extending transmission distance. It is also the most common scenario using media converter in a network. The following steps show how to use a pair of media converters with network switches, transceivers, fiber and copper cables.
1. Connect the copper port of Switch A and RJ45 port of fiber media converter #1 using a UTP cable (Cat5 and above).
2. Plug an SFP module into SFP slot of fiber media converter #1, and plug another SFP module into SFP slot of fiber media converter #2.
3. Use a fiber patch cable to connect the fiber media converter #1 and fiber media converter #2.
4. Connect the RJ45 port of fiber media converter #2 to Switch B using a UTP cable.
Multimode to Single-mode Conversion
Fiber to fiber media converter provides multimode to single-mode fiber conversion and dual fiber to single-fiber conversion. They are the ideal solution to connect different fiber types, distances and wavelengths (WDM, CWDM & DWDM) across a variety of topologies and network architectures for longer data transmission distances. The specific configuration steps of fiber to Ethernet converter are as follows:
1. Connect the 10GBase SFP+ ports of Switch A and SFP+ port of fiber media converters #1 using two 10GBase SR SFP+ multimode optical transceivers and a multimode fiber.
2. Connect the SFP+ port of two fiber media converters using two 10GBase LR SFP+ single-mode optical transceivers and a single-mode fiber.
3. Connect the SFP+ port of fiber media converters #2 and 10GBase SFP+ ports of Switch B using two 10GBase SR SFP+ multimode optical transceivers and a multimode fiber.
Note: Optical transceivers are basically hot-pluggable devices, so there is no need to power off the media converter when inserting transceivers into the corresponding ports. Always remember to remove the fiber patch cable before removing the transceiver, and install the transceiver on the media converter before inserting the cable into the transceiver endface.
Considerations for Using Media Converters in a Network
Media converters are simply plug and play devices, yet you still have to consider some factors when connecting them to the network. It is better to choose a flat, secure place to install the media converter. Leave ample space around the converter for ventilation.
It is better to choose a flat, secure place to install the media converter. Leave ample space around the converter for ventilation.
The wavelengths of the transceivers on both media converters should be consistent. That is, if one transceiver is of the 1310nm/850nm wavelength, the same goes for the other transceiver. Besides, the data rate of the transceivers and the media converters must be the same: 1000BASE SFP transceivers are for Gigabit media converters. Also the transceiver type on a pair of media converters should be the same. Use either single mode or multimode optical transceivers at both sides.
The endface of the fiber patch cable should be in accordance with the media converter port. Generally, SC fiber patch cables are used to connect media converters with SC ports, while LC fiber patch cables are plugged into the SFP/SFP+ ports on fiber media converters.
Make clear whether the media converter supports full-duplex or half-duplex transmission. Using full-duplex media converters with switch or hub of half-duplex mode will cause serious packet loss in the network.
The operating temperature should be maintained in a proper range, or the media converter would fail to work. The parameters may vary for media converters of different vendors.
Troubleshoot Media Converter in a Network
Media Converters are designed for easy use in optical fiber transmission. When the connection does not work as expected after setting it up in a network, we need to do some troubleshooting. The checking include but not limited to the following six aspects:
|The POWER LED on the media converter is off and the unit is not receiving power.||
|The SYS LED on the media converter is off.||An internal component on the unit is damaged or not working properly. Try power cycling the unit. If power cycling does not work, contact the supplier for help.|
|The SYS LED on the media converter is blinking slowly.||An error is presented in this unit. Try power cycling the unit. If it doesn't work, remove and re-install the SFP module or try another SFP module. Check the SFP module is the correct type for the application.|
|Network performance between the twisted-pair port on the media converter and an end node is slow.||There might be a duplex mode mismatch between the port and the end node. This occurs when a twisted-pair port using Auto-Negotiation is connected to a device with a fixed duplex mode of full-duplex. If this is the cause of the problem, just adjust the duplex mode of the port on the end node or on the media converter so that both ports are using the same duplex mode.|
|There is no communication with the devices connected to the media converter.||
When the media converter is applied for the network, the whole link of the network can not communicate constantly.
Media converters offer a variety of features and options to meet a wide range of network applications. Always remember to consider the essential factors when connecting media converters to your network, and refer to the troubleshooting guide if you encounter any problems. For support and expertise, please feel free to contact us.