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Fiber Optic media converters provide an inexpensive method to extend LAN IP connectivity using existing fiber optic links. With a pair of EtherWAN ET-EL100T media converters and functional fiber optic links, the extension of a LAN can be accomplished with components at a reasonable cost.

The connection of the media converters to the fiber optic links is simple and straightforward. Position one of the ET-EL100T transceivers at one end using a Cat5e/Cat6 UTP cable with RJ-45 plugs attached. Typically the transceiver will then be connected to two multimode fiber optic links: one to transmit and one to receive. Next perform the identical process on the opposite end. Finally connect the provided 12 vdc power packs and the devices will immediately start transmitting and receiving Ethernet communications over the fiber optic links. Once completed, this process will effectively extend a LAN to over one mile, based on the length of the fiber links.

EtherWAN provides a variety of different fiber optic media converters, including rack mount and industrial usage devices.

EtherWAN provides a variety of different fiber optic media converters, including rack mount and industrial usage devices.

When planning to use fiber optic media converters, installers should verify whether the customer is currently using a “multimode” or “singlemode” fiber link. This information can usually be found on the outside jacket of the fiber. Multimode fibers usually have markings such as “62.5/125” and “50/125,” while singlemode fiber cables will be designated with a “9/125” label. While checking the fiber, the technician should also verify the “style” of fiber connector on the existing link being considered for use. In most cases this will be either a round “ST” or a square “SC” type connector. Jumper cables of the correct fiber type and connector style should be used when connecting media converters to fiber optic patch panels.

Companies such as EtherWAN provide a wide variety of media converters that can be connected to typical UTP wired Ethernet networks and devices that have both multimode and singlemode fiber. These can also be purchased with the specific type of fiber connectors needed for an installation. Once the type of fiber link has been determined and the link has been tested, the connection of the converter device is simple and quick. When the device’s LEDs start blinking, the connection is good to go; there is no programming required.

Media converters have been available in the general networking market for decades, and are proven to be robust and reliable. A smart integrator will use these devices when existing “dark” or unused fiber links are available in existing buildings and industrial plants, saving installation time and cost.

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