A fiber media converter is a device that changes signals on a copper cable to signals that run on fiber. If you have a network that practices the older type of copper cables and another network that utilizes more reliable and faster fiber optic cables then it’s possible to connect them by using a special product named fiber media converters.
It makes one cable look like another cable without changing the nature of the network. Fiber media converter is a small device with two media-dependent interferences and a power supply that simply receives data signals from one media and converts and transmits them to another media. This media converter can be installed almost anywhere in-network and the style of connectors depends on the selection of the media to be converted by the unit.
How Does a Fiber Media Converter Work?
Fiber media converters change the format of an Ethernet-based signal into a format compatible with fiber optic cables. The other end of the fiber cable run and a second media converter is used to change the data back to its original format. Every fiber run in a system must include two fiber cables, one carrying data in each direction and these are labeled as transmit and receive.
Types of Fiber Media Converters
Layer 1 vs. Layer 2 Media Converter
Traditional media converters are Layer 1 devices, which only convert electrical signals and physical media. It doesn’t do anything to the data coming through a link, so they are transparent to the data.
There are some media converters that are more advanced, Layer 2 Ethernet devices. It provides Layer 1 electrical and physical conversion and also provides Layer 2 services. This type of media converter has more than two ports that enable the user to extend two or more copper links across a single-fiber link.
Unmanaged and Managed Fiber Media Converter
An unmanaged converter allows for simple communication with one another but doesn’t provide monitoring, fault detection, and network configuration. It’s a great choice for newbies and plug and plays fiber network cable installation. Managed media converter is more costly, but it offers additional network monitoring, fault detection, remote configuration, and more.
Non-PoE vs. PoE Fiber Media Converter
A standard media converter comes with an AC power supply that plugs into a standard wall outlet. When a media converter is used in areas that don’t have convenient power outlets, it may be powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE) that provides power to network over the same category. It can also provide power through PoE to a PoE powered device such as a wireless access point or a security camera.
The media converter extends the productive life of copper-based switches, providing a gradual migration path from copper to fiber. A fiber media converter can also be used with new fiber switches that have fixed ports and are used to connect a copper device and a fiber device.