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fiber optic

  1. Copper (Ethernet) to Fiber – Media Converters

    Media converter is a bit of a catch-all term by itself. It refers to any device that can convert one type of signal into another type. A fiber media converter specifically refers to a media converter used to convert fiber cable to another format. Fiber media converters are sometimes just called fiber converters while general media converters are simply called converters. The phrase “fiber converters” is also typically used to describe fiber to copper (Ethernet) converters. Although other types of fiber converters do exist, they are much less common.

    What are Fiber Media Converters?

    Simply put, a fiber media converter is able to take fiber signals and translate them into Ethernet signals, or vice versa. Fiber transmissions are broadcast using light (lasers) signals, giving them a leg up over older cables with increased speed, less attenuation (signal loss), and greater maximum distance per cable. Ethernet signals are transmitted via electrical signals running through copper lines. On their own, these two types of signals are too different to be compatible. But with a fiber media converter, they are able to work together.

    Both fiber and Ethernet signals use the same methodology for signal transmission. A series of light or electrical pulses are sent down the cables. These pulses flicker on and off very quickly, 1000s of times per second. When a pulse is on, a computer registers it as a “1”. When it is off, the machine picks up a “0”. These numbers are used to make up binary

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  2. Fiber Optic HDMI Cables

    Fiber Optic vs. Traditional (Copper) HDMI

    Fiber optic HDMI cables are a new, top-of-the-line option for connecting HDMI devices. Using fiber optics technology instead of traditional copper, fiber optic HDMI goes above and beyond the limitations of standard HDMI cables.

    Conventional HDMI is made using copper, with multiple smaller copper lines inside the main cable. The main drawback of conventional HDMI is the distance limit. Plain old HDMI caps out at a maximum limit of 65 feet, although depending on the equipment being used, the quality of the cables, and similar factors, issues can start to arise at distances as short as 50 feet.

    Up until now, the only workaround to this would be using an extender balun. While baluns are certainly a fine solution, they are more cumbersome than a single HDMI cable and require a bit more work to set up. They can also have issues with maintaining 4k quality, especially over longer distances. Fiber optic HDMI not only lacks those issues but works even better than a standalone copper HDMI cable at peak performance.

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  3. Armored Fiber Optic Cables

    Fiber optic cables are a first-rate option for transmitting data, being much faster than traditional copper Ethernet lines. Fiber cable can also run for much greater distances, giving it another leg up on copper cables. However, a potential weakness of fiber is fragility. Compared to copper cables, fiber is easier to break since it contains glass. That is where armored fiber optic cables come in.

    Armored fiber optic cable can do everything standard fiber can do while also carrying additional protection. Underneath the jacket, there is a metal tube protecting the delicate fibers at the core of the cable. This metal tube does not hamper performance and provides protection from heavy objects, curious rodents, and other hazards. At the same time, the metal remains flexible enough to allow the cable to bend normally.

    Unarmored fiber (left) vs. armored fiber (right)

    Advantages of Armored Fiber

    All the options available to normal fiber (number of fibers, PVC or plenum jackets, single-mode or multimode, etc.) are also available with armored fiber. The armor allows the cable to withstand 7x the force of conventional fiber, providing a substantially larger safety margin if a heavy object is set on the cable or falls on top of it. The protection offered by armor also increases pull tension, making fiber installations easier

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  4. Fiber Optic Cable Protection

    Fiber optic cables provide incredible data speeds and can ensure a new or upgraded system will keep up with network demands for years to come. While the equipment specs are more than good enough to withstand the test of time, it is equally important to build a system that can physically hold up as the years go by. Physical network protection involves using the right tools and equipment to safeguard cables from external forces as well as improper use.

    How To Protect Fiber Optic Networks

    Raceway, also called conduit, is one of the easiest ways to protect any cable, fiber optic included. These hollow pieces of plastic act like a protective outer shell. They are available as straight sticks as well as various angled pieces for designing networks of any size and shape. Full details regarding raceway options can be seen here.

    While raceway is ideal for protecting the main part of the cable, the connectors on the ends will need something a bit

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  5. Fiber Optic vs. Ethernet Cables

    While fiber optic cable has been around for a while, it is only in recent years that new innovations have made the technology economically viable. Fiber has not quite hit the same low pricing as ethernet but is well within the realm of being cost-effective. With the issue of cost set aside, the real question becomes: “Why choose fiber over Ethernet?” These two cables may both be used for data transmission, but they have a few differences along with their similarities.

    What are Ethernet Cables?

    Ethernet is a tried-and-tested form of cabling, having been in use commercially since the 1980s. These cables are made with copper and use electrical signals to transmit data. Electrical pulses are sent through the cable with each pulse (or lack of a pulse) representing a 1 or 0. This happens very quickly with thousands of signals per second, allowing those 1’s and 0’s to be translated into computer code.

    There are a few different types of Ethernet out there. Data speeds can change greatly depending on what type of cable is used plus other factors. While Ethernet signals transmit very fast, they are not quite as fast as fiber optic signals. Using electrical signals also has a major potential drawback: interference. Equipment that gives off electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI) can disrupt Ethernet signals. This can cause problems in buildings with heavy machinery, such as fact

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  6. Types of Fiber Optic Connectors – Simplex, Duplex, LC, ST, SC, and More

    From left to right: FC, LC, SC, and ST

    Fiber optic cables utilize a few different connectors that can be used to terminate the cable. While they do bear some similarities, each kind has a different enough size and shape that they are not interchangeable. When preparing any fiber-related equipment for installation, it is important to make sure the cables are equipped with the right connectors for the job.

    FC is an older fiber optic connector currently being phased out of industry standards. While single mode cables still use FC, it is unusual to see them on multimode cables. FC connectors take longer to unplug compared to newer fiber optic connectors due to their threaded screw-on design. Additionally, the more complex design and use of metal make them more costly to manufacture. Despite those downsides, FC still sees some use since those threads allow it to remain secure when used on moving machinery.

    LC was designed as a push-pull connector that locks in place with a latch. While being faster and easier to operate is an advantage, the main draw of LC is its small size. Being about half the size of other fiber optic connectors, LC can be used on devices that would otherwise have too little room to support a fiber optic connection.

    SC is arguably the most common type of fiber optic connector used today. Designed to be simple to use and inexpensive to produce, SC uses a push-pull design similar to LC but utilizes a locking tab instead of a latch to secure the unit. The cost-effective design of SC makes it a popular choice with industries that frequently use fiber cables, such as telecom and datacom.

    ST uses a design similar to FC but instead of threads, it uses a locking mechanism similar to

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  7. Types of Fiber Optic Cable – Single Mode vs. Multimode

    For decades, all varieties of cables from coax to ethernet have used electrical signals to transmit signals through metal cores. Modern technology has paved the way for improvements on these age-old cables with fiber optic cabling. These newer cables are made using optical fibers, plastic tubes filled with small pieces of glass. Each piece of glass is used as a tiny mirror to reflect lasers down the cable. Since light (lasers) moves faster than electricity, fiber optic cables can transmit data much faster than older metal-based cables. It is possible to use fiber and Ethernet together so long as you have a media converter, allowing newer technology to upgrade older existing infrastructure.

    Each fiber optic cable has a different sized core measured in microns (μm). These cores are made of up optical fibers, also called strands, with each fiber acting like lanes of traffic that send and receive signals. Each fiber can only send or receive a signal, not both at the same time, so they work in pairs. As more fibers are added, more signals can be sent and received through the cable to increase data speeds. The number of strands needed will depend on how heavy network traffic will be.

    Along with being faster, fiber optic cables also support greater maximum distances. For example, Ethernet cables have a maximum distance of 328 feet (100 meters). By contrast, fiber optic cables can go for hundreds of meters or even several ki

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  8. Fiber Optic Cables

    Fiber optic cable is the newer, faster way to transmit data. These send data signals using light (lasers) instead of electricity. Light signals can travel faster for higher bandwidth, suffer from less signal loss, and degrade less from electrical interference. Fiber optic cables come in a few different varieties with multiple types of cable as well as multiple connectors.

    Types of cable include:

    • Single-mode
    • Multi-mode
      • OM1
      • OM2
      • OM3
      • OM4

    Types of connectors include:

    • FC
    • LC
    • SC
    • ST
    • MTP/MPO
    • MTRJ

    Fiber Cables

    Single-mode

    Single-mode fiber optic contains a very thin core, making it ideal for long-range transmissions. These cables can be incredibly long, with a single line potentially running for miles. The light transmitted by single-mode cable is between 1,300 and 1,550 μm, a frequency range that almost puts it into the infrared wavelength. This version of fiber optic cable is mainly used for telecommunications.

    The name “single-mode” comes from the cable only transmitting a single mode of light down the cable. Typically, single-mode fiber optic is color coded yellow. The downside of single-mode is that their long range means they require very powerful lasers to operate at those extreme distances. The equipment needed to make lasers that powerful tends to be very expensive.

    Multi-mode

    Multi-mode fibe

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