To fulfill the growing requirement for Ethernet network in extreme environment, more and more industrial media converters are applied for efficient transmission of data over long distances in hazardous and harsh areas. So what are the differences between industrial and commercial media converters? When to choose industrial media converter in the network? This article mainly focuses on industrial media converter features and applications.
Industrial and commercial media converters are equipped with the same functions, but the industrial media converters support a wider operating temperature from -40℃ to 85℃ and a higher voltage range of 12-48 VDC. Besides, industrial media converters are equipped with a power supply with lightning protection and surge protection of no less than 4KV, and IP40 protection, ensuring stable and reliable conversion even in hazardous outdoor areas, such as oil/gas drilling, mining, weather tracking and so on. Industrial vs commercial media converters differences are listed in the chart below.
|Features||Industrial Media Converters||Commercial Media Converters|
|Power Supply||Redundant Dual Power||Single Power|
|Installation||DIN-rail Mounting & Chassis||Desktop & Chassis|
|Cooling||Fanless & Shell Cooling||Free Air Convection|
|Link Failure Recovery||＜300ms||Much Longer|
Industrial media converters can help to eliminate Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), protect from hazardous emissions and prevent extreme temperatures & dust in many industrial environments, like manufacturing, wastewater treatment, outdoor traffic control, security & surveillance, building automation, military application, factory automation, and others. The following descriptions show four typical application scenarios of industrial media converters.
In some factories or manufacturing areas, several equipments need to be interconnected together. This would produce EMI and RFI that have adverse effects on data transmission across copper-based cabling. In this case, fiber optic cabling is required to eliminate any effect of EMI and RFI on data transmission. The following figure shows the industrial media converters in manufacturing with a point-to-point structure. The media converters are used to enable legacy devices with copper interfaces to connect to optical interfaces for distance extension. The point-to-point architectures feature direct links from the point system chassis to elements on the factory floor.
Figure 1: Industrial Media Converter Application in Manufacturing
Wastewater treatment is necessary for environmental protection to prevent emitting hazardous substances. In such a wastewater environment, the industrial media converters can offer greater control over remote sites. There are legacy PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) stations located at the processing building, maintenance building and a main plant in the following picture. The PLCs have serial interfaces and are connected to a main controller within each building. And the industrial media converters are connected with PLCs to get a centralized control of the wastewater treatment project. This implementation enables the wastewater treatment plant to incorporate their existing equipment, while reducing costs and allowing for future growth.
Figure 2: Industrial Media Converter Application in Wastewater Treatment
Outdoor applications are primarily concerned with temperatures, as elements such as moisture, dirt, and debris are minimized with the use of equipment enclosures. Industrial media converters support a wide operating temperature and come with alloy shells, which are suitable for outdoor networks, such as traffic control, weather tracking and so on. We can see from the figure below, the traffic control systems use coaxial or serial interfaces for the interconnection of outdoor traffic data devices and control center. The video codec in this application converts the analog video signal into an Ethernet signal. Then industrial media converters achieve the copper-to-fiber conversion, a managed industrial media converter chassis located in the data closet at the control center accepts the fiber signal, converts it, and connects to the copper switch at the main site.
Figure 3: Industrial Media Converter Application in Traffic Control
Industrial media converters can be applied for monitoring bad conditions as they support surge and lightning protection, which can resist the corrosive exposures. A security and surveillance application is illustrated in the diagram. The WiFi access points are installed on building to provide wireless network for each office. And the point-to-point fiber is terminated with a PoE industrial media converter deployed near a convenient AC or DC power source. Then the PoE industrial media converter transforms the optical signal to electrical signal and simultaneously injects Power over Ethernet with dual RJ45 ports to power two WiFi access points. Then they can offer fiber connectivity and PoE power to IP surveillance cameras to monitor the condition of remote sites. The dual fiber interfaces on PoE industrial media converters enable a fiber daisy chain architecture that connects multiple IP surveillance cameras.
Figure 4: Industrial Media Converter Application in Surveillance
Industrial media converters are equipped with a wider range of working temperatures, and lightning and surge protection, making them more suitable for applying in atrocious conditions to broaden the transmission distance. Besides, the continuously rising implementation of fiber media converters in the hazardous environment is expected to further accelerate the demand for industrial media converter market.