Category Archives: Copper Network

Copper Cabling Choices For 10GbE

As switching standards is growing maturer and copper cabling standards catch up, the use of copper cabling for 10GbE is becoming more and more popular. Currently, there are four different copper cabling technologies for 10 Gigabit Ethernet, each with its pros and cons. Although fiber (10GbE SFP+ optics) delivers the lowest latency and feature flexibility, many IT departments still prefer to use copper cabling for switch-to-switch or switch-to-server connections.


10GBASE-CX4 was the first 10G copper standard published by 802.3. CX4 modules use 4-lane PCS and copper cabling and have a maximum distance of 15 meters. Despite its larger size of connector, CX4 module was initially designed as a replacement for legacy Infiniband switching hardware and a lower-cost switch interface. 10GBASE-CX4 offers the advantages of low power, low cost, and low latency, but has a bigger form factor and more bulky cables than the newer SFP+ standard and a much shorter reach than fiber or 10GBASE-T.

10G SFP+ Direct Attach Cabling

10G SFP+ DAC is also known as 10GSFP+Cu, 10GBase-CR, or 10GBase-CX1, SFP+, or 10GbE Cu SFP cable. SFP+ direct attach cables feature rugged twinax cables that connect directly into a low-profile small form-factor pluggable plus (SFP+) diecast connector housing. 10GbE SFP+ direct attach cable has a fixed-length cable, typically 3, 5 or 7m in length, and like 10GBASE-CX4, feature low power, low cost and low latency with the added advantages of using less bulky cables and of having the small form factor of 10GbE SFP+.

10g sfp+ dac


According to wikipedia, 10GBASE-T is a standard released in 2006 to provide 10 Gbit/s connections over unshielded or shielded twisted pair cables, over distances up to 100 meters. 10GBASE-T SFP+ copper transceiver module uses standard RJ-45 connectors that are already widely used with Ethernet. 10GBASE-T cable infrastructure can also be used for 1000BASE-T allowing a transition from 1000BASE-T using auto negotiation to select which speed to use. 10GBASE-T is available from several manufacturers like Mikrotik, HPE and FS.COM with power consumption of 3-4 W per port with current generation PHY’s (2012) and promise even better power management in the future.


Backplane Ethernet, also known as 802.3ap, is used in backplane applications such as blade servers and modular routers/switches with upgradable line cards. 802.3ap implementations are required to operate in an environment comprising up to 1 meter (39 in) of copper printed circuit board with two connectors. There are two port types for 10 Gbit/s Backplane specs, (10GBASE-KX4 and 10GBASE-KR). New backplane designs use 10GBASE-KR rather than 10GBASE-KX4.


The growth in the number of 10GbE networks and the improved efficiency in the physical layer components, have allowed 10Gb Ethernet deployments to have a much broader footprint. 10GbE optics like 10GBASE-T copper SFP+ transceiver module begin to take up a foothold in 10G network deployment. More importantly, 10GBase-T provides a cost-effective method for migrating from your current network to 10G Ethernet by utilizing your existing RJ-45 copper short connections. For 10GbE network components, you get them either on Amazon, Mikrotik, HP or FS.COM.

Achieve Simple Connection With Toolless Keystone Jack

Ethernet cables like Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat 6a are widely used to connect devices on local area networks such as computers, routers and switches. In most successful connections with Ethernet cables, keystone jacks that connect a device to a network port play an important role. But nowadays a new type of keystone jack is also very prevalent. That’s toolless keystone jack. This article intends to introduce the basics and benefits of toolless keystone jack.

Toolless Keystone Jack Overview

People who have electrical cable installation experience know clearly what is a keystone jack. A keystone jack is a female connector for mounting a variety of low-voltage electrical jacks or optical connectors into a keystone wall plate, face plate, surface-mount box or a patch panel. Keystone plug is a matching male connector, usually attached to the end of a cable or cord. Traditional keystone jack needs a punch down tool to help finish cable installation, but this toolless keystone jack is different. With the snap-fit cap design, conductors can be terminated simultaneously when the cap is pressed into place, allowing for a simple installation without the need for a punch down tool. The most commonly used one is RJ45 (8P8C) toolless keystone jack.

rj45 toolless keystone jack

There are shielded and unshielded toolless keystone jacks in the market. The difference between them is whether there is a shielded STP cover outside that is designed for protection from external radiated noise. Choosing a suitable keystone jack should be based on the cables you’re connecting to. In a word, toolless keystone jacks are an ideal solution for terminating and connecting network cables.

shielded and unshielded toolless keystone jacks

Benefits to Use Toolless Keystone Jack

Compared to common keystone jacks, toolless keystone jacks have more benefits.

Easy termination. As have mentioned above, there is no need to use punch down tools in the termination process. Except that, simply insert the wires according to the color coding and press down the cap. Termination will be done. Besides, all eight wires can be terminated at a time when the cap enclosed.

Easy Installation. Flexible mounting tab allows installation from front or rear of face plate and secures module into the face plate. Besides, 568A and 568B color wiring diagram is integrated on the outside for quick identification and easy installation.

Save cost. If you do not want to invest a punch down tool for only a time installation, this keystone jack would be a perfect choice.

Convenient to verify proper wiring (only for the unshielded keystone jacks). The snap-fit cap has a large window for viewing terminations. Once the termination is done, you can check whether there is an error occurring to make sure a successful connection.

benefits of useing toolless keystone jacks

Steps to Terminate Cat6 Cable With Toolless Keystone Jack

Using tools to terminate cables is time-consuming, especially under some conditions where time is the paramount factor to be considered. Of course, toolless keystone jacks do not suitable for all cases. It should depend on the practical situation. Here is a simple installation instruction for toolless keystone jack termination.

Step one. Trim the end of the Cat6 cable with a crimping tool. Strip off the jacket to expose approximately one inch of wires. This step is similar to the termination process with RJ45 connectors.

Step two. Untwist wires and flatten them as much as possible to make preparation for the next step.

Step three. Just open the top cap, place the wires on the jack according to the color coding on the outside.

Step four. Close the top cap to snap firmly on the plug. In order to ensure a good termination, you can just insert two pairs wires at a time, then repeat the same operation until all wires are placed well.

Step five. Carefully cut off the wire ends using crimping tool. And check the keystone jack to make sure the wires are terminated well.


Toolless keystone jack provides a simple way to terminate and install Ethernet cables. With its special design, time and money can be saved. They are quite versatile and can be mounted easily into a wall plate, which makes them one of the most common and useful components of data centers and networking.

Things You Need to Know About Patch Panel

Nowadays how to achieve efficient cable management is an essential aspect of network cable installation. Patch panel, as a crucial element of an interconnected network cabling, is able to realize the connection, allocation, and scheduling of cable links easily. This post will introduce some information about patch panel which can help you get a further understanding of them.

What Is a Patch Panel and How Does It Work?

Patch panels, also called jack fields and patch bays, are network parts held together within telecommunication closets that connect incoming and outgoing local area network (LAN) lines or other communication, electronic and electrical systems. If engineers want to set up a wired network which contains multiple wall ports in various rooms, patch panel can offer a simple, neat and easy-to-manage solution. There are various patch panels based on the number of ports like 12 Ports, 24 Ports, 48 Ports, etc.

patch panel

When patch panels are deployed in network systems, its major function is to bundle multiple network ports together to connect incoming and outgoing lines. For example, when patch panels become part of a LAN (local area network), they can link computers to outside lines. And those lines, in return, allow LANs to connect to wide area networks or other Internet. With patch panels, engineers just need to plug and unplug the corresponding patch cords to arrange circuits, which improve efficiency greatly.

The Importance of Patch Panel

As we all know, patch panels are typically attached to the network racks, mostly above or below the network switches. They consist of ports to quickly connect cables. Available in different sizes and configurations, patch panel can be customized to fit different network requirements. But all patch panels have a similar feature that they are important for networks to configure new equipment or phase out old components.

Patch panels from main links are to collect data and route it to where its destination. They are so critical to a system that if anything goes wrong with them, the entire system may fail. That means that patch panels are very important to the network system.

Furthermore, although there are no physical limits existing for a patch panels’ size, many of them have ports from 24 to 96. And for a larger network, hundreds of ports may be needed, which is another important factor—as the network grows, more ports mean the ability to accommodate ever-expanding demand.

Besides, patch panels also help electricians and network engineers by offering convenient, flexible routing options. Because a patch panel has numerous ports in close proximity, cables can be routed, labeled and monitored easily and efficiently.

Copper or Fiber Patch Panel?

There is no doubt that patch panels are extremely important in cabling systems. And they are one of the few components used in both copper and fiber cabling networks.

copper patch panel vs. fiber patch panel

The copper patch panel is typically made with 8-pin modular ports on one side and 110-insulation displacement connector blocks on the other side. Wires coming into the panel are terminated the insulation displacement connector. On the opposite side, the 8-pin modular connector plugs into the port which corresponds to the terminated wires. With the copper panel, each pair of wires has an independent port. And fiber patch panel needs two ports for a pair of wires, one for the transmitting end and another for the receiving end. Fiber panels tend to be faster to operate than copper ones. Of course, they are also more expensive.

Therefore, when it comes to the copper patch panel, each pair of wires has a port. While fiber patch panel requires two ports, but it is easier to be installed. What’s more, some professionals think there is no real difference in the performance and construction, while others have different opinions. They maintain that the fiber patch panels are better, even though they are more expensive than the copper counterpart. However, no matter what type of patch panels you choose, they must be based on practical situations.


As the growing demands for more effective cabling, patch panels also get more development. Manufacturers are now trying to produce more convenient patch panels such as front-access panels, which allow users to terminate and manage cables from the front. Getting a further understanding of patch panel can help you choose the suitable patch panel for your networks.

Finding a Perfect Fiber Media Converter for Your Network

Fiber media converter or fiber converter is a device that links two different media signals for conversion, usually exchanging the signals on a copper cable with signals on an optic fiber cable. This device is often used in MAN (metropolitan area network) access and data transport services to enterprise customers. Fiber media converter provides a balanced flow, isolation, conflict and detection of errors and other functions to ensure high security and stability of data transmission. It also breaks the restriction of the Ethernet cable length to more than one hundred meters.

For a long time, fiber media converter is an indispensable part of the actual network set up. And it will continue to transform towards the orientation of high intelligence, high stability, easy management and low cost. Of course, selecting a right fiber media converter is also very essential to the actual applications. This article will mainly introduce some aspects to be considered when purchasing the fiber media converter.


Knowing Function of Fiber Media Converter

Knowing the function of fiber media converter helps you have a better understanding of your own system which contributes to the selection process. Generally speaking, fiber media converter receives data signals from one media and converts them to another while remaining invisible to data traffic and other net devices. It supports quality of service and layer 3 switching since it has no interference with upper-level protocol information. Fiber media converter changes the format of an Ethernet-based signal on twisted pairs into a format compatible with fiber optics. At the other end of the fiber cable run, a second media converter is used to change the data back to its original format.

Fiber media converter supports full duplex Ethernet over UTP at 20 or 200 Mbps, and half-duplex Ethernet over UTP at 10 or 100 Mbps. Full duplex Ethernet is more efficient for connecting two switches or one switch to a file server. Also, fiber optic media converter can automatically sense which mode is in operation without any adjustment for mode switching.

Other Factors to Consider During Your Selection

Here are some factors that you can consider when purchasing a fiber media converter:

  • First, according to different data rates, there are various fiber media converters to match the transmission speeds. Thus, data rates should be considered as an important factor.
  • Second, figure out what transmission media are in your network, and find the corresponding cable types. For instance, there are fiber to copper, single-mode fiber to multimode fiber, dual strand to single strand and so on.
  • Third, diverse fiber media converters have different port types. Typically, there are two types of ports, one for copper and the other for fiber. The copper ports are all designed for RJ45 copper cables. But in terms of fiber ports, there are also another two types. One is designed for fiber optic transceivers (SFP, XFP, etc), and the other for fiber optic patch cables (SC, LC, etc).
  • Fourth, transmission distances of fiber media converters are varied to satisfy different length demands.
  • Fifth, if main power is not available or difficult to deliver in physical locations, PoE fiber media converter can be an option to supply the required power.
  • Sixth, different power supplies are also available. For example, AC (alternating current) power supply, DC (direct current) power supply, internal power supply and external power supply are the common choices.

Fiber optic converters can be used in lots of applications. Here are some examples. Point to point application can connect two UTP Ethernet switches (or routers, servers, hubs, etc.) via fiber, or to connect UTP devices to workstations and file servers.


10G Ethernet application extends distances between 10G switches and servers.


Multimode to single-mode application extends a multimode network across single-mode fiber with distances up to 160 km.



Fiber media converter plays an important role in today’s multi-protocol, mixed media networks. Many types of fiber media converters like fiber to RJ45 converters, SFP Ethernet converters are purchasable on the market now. Please regard this article as an reference for finding a suitable fiber media converter in your network.

Cable Shielding of Shielded Twisted Pair

For the purpose of providing a reliable connection between electronic devices, choosing a proper shielded twisted pair cable is essential to the network using copper cables. EMI (electromagnetic interference) is a disturbance in twisted pair cables. It affects the performance of an electrical circuit by electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction. But with the help of cable shielding, cables can be immune to the disturbance and keep a stable connection. And this article will present some knowledge about cable shielding. Hope you can find it useful.


Before getting to know cable shielding, you may wonder about the real difference between shielded twisted pair (STP) and unshielded twisted pair (UTP). As their names suggest, STP has a shield that works as a guard and drains the induced current surges to earth. Yet UTP has no cable shield with such a function. But the shortcoming of STP cables is the extra shielding cost added to an installation. Typically, STP cables are more expensive than UTP cables. And due to the stiffer and heavier shielding, coping with STP cables is more difficult. But if you pursue a higher performance, STP will be a preferable choice.

Types of Shields

There are mainly two types of shields: braided shield and foiled shield. Braided shield is made up of woven mesh of bare or tinned copper wires. It has better conductivity than aluminum and more bulk for conducting noise. An easier attachment with connectors can be achieved by crimping and soldering the braid. However, braided shield does not possess 100% coverage. It usually provides 70% to 95% coverage according to the tightness of weave. But as a matter of fact, 70% coverage is always sufficient if cables are fixed. Another shielding is foiled shield. This type of shielding uses a thin layer of aluminum and has a 100% coverage around the conductors. But the drawback is that its conductivity is lower than copper braided shield.

shielded twisted pair

Different Constructions of Shielding

Today, people will use acronyms to name different shielding constructions. Take U/FTP as an example, the first letter “U” represents the outer shield or overall shield of cable, and the followed letter “F” represents the individual shield under the overall shield of each twisted pair or quad.


Here are some commonly used shielding constructions:

1) Individual Shield

U/FTP is the typical individual shielding using aluminum foil. This kind of construction has one shield for each twisted pair or quad above the conductor and insulation. Individual shield especially protects neighboring pairs from crosstalk.

2) Overall Shield

F/UTP, S/UTP, and SF/UTP are overall shielding with different shield materials. Overall shield refers to the entire coverage around the whole cable. This type of shielding helps prevent EMI from entering or exiting the cable.

3) Individual and Overall Shield

F/FTP, S/FTP, and SF/FTP are individual and overall shield. This type of construction has both layers of shielding. And its immunity to EMI disturbance is greatly improved.

Meanings of the abbreviated letters:
U = unshielded
F = foiled shielding
S = braided shielding
TP = twisted pair


As for the application in 10GBASE-T Ethernet, UTP, U/FTP, F/UTP, F/FTP and S/FTP are often used. But their practicable cable categories are varied from cat 6/6a to cat 7/7a. When twisted pair cable is deployed for 40GBASE-T Ethernet, U/FTP, F/UTP, F/FTP, S/FTP are applied under cat 8/8.1/8.2.


Adopting shielded twisted pair cable is an effective method to prevent EMI from interfering signal transmission. And there are different shielding constructions for you to choose. Of course, using twisted pair without cable shielding is also feasible if your budget is limited. Wish you find the most suitable shielded twisted pair cable for your project!

Related Article:

Why Choose the Shielded Cabling System

How To Purchase Twisted Pair Cable

The Evolution Path of BASE-T

With the requirements laid on data center increasing rapidly, the ability to flexibly adapt to future demands is tremendously crucial for data center managers. Often this can be achieved by deploying higher bandwidth solutions in a part of the data center, provided that these systems are backwards compatible with existing infrastructure or it may be a cost-consuming method. BASE-T technology featured by its low cost, availability and flexibility is largely favored by data center designers. This article illustrates the migration of BASE-T technology so that people can future proof their data center tomorrow.

Why BASE-T Is so Popular?
To be short, three main advantages will be concluded in the following part.
1. Least cost access layer alternative when compared to other interconnect technologies

  • Optical (e.g. SR, LR)
  • Direct-Attached

2.Structured topology

  • Common physical interface (RJ45)
  • Flexibility and longevity
  • Optimized for small to medium-sized data centers (< 20K square feet)

3. Supports auto-negotiation and Power-Over-Ethernet

  • Simple plug and play installation
  • Ubiquitous RJ45 interface simplifies 10GBASE-T to 40GBASE-T upgrade path

1000BASE-T—Gigabit Ethernet Over 4-pair Cat 5 Cabling
1000BASE-T (ratified in 1999) is a Gigabit Ethernet standard over copper wiring at the speed of 1000 Mbps. Each 1000BASE-T network segment can support a maximum length of 100 meters, and uses Category 5 cable or better (including Cat 5e and Cat 6). 1000BASE-T also uses a symbol rate of 125 Mbaud and all four pairs for the link and a more sophisticated five-level coding scheme. The 1000BASE-T SFP operates on standard Category 5 unshielded twisted-pair copper cabling of link lengths up to 100 m.

Realizing 10BASE-T
Upgraded from 1000BASE-T, 10GBASE-T (certificated in 2006) offers the most flexibility, the lowest cost media, and is backward-compatible with existing 1 GbE networks. 10GBASE-T connected with Cat 6 and Cat 6A (or above) cabling supports a length up to 100 meters that gives IT managers a far greater level of flexibility in connecting devices in the data center. 10GBASE-T and Category 6A cabling costs less than using either optical fiber or SFP+ direct attach copper (DAC) options that have been widely deployed to date center for 10 Gb/s. For example, EX-SFP-10GE-DAC-1M can only support a link length of 1m that largely limits its application. Figure 1 presents a comparison between 1000GBASE-T and 10GBASE-T.

comparison between two BASE-T technology

Road to 40GBASE-T in Data Center Networks
If there is a 10GBASE-T for switch-to-server and switch-to-switch connectivity, there will be a 40GBASE-T over twisted pair cabling for the 40G data center deployment according to the IEEE. Twisted pair cabling with the RJ-45 connector has always been the first choice for IT professionals, based on its low cost and ease of use. Unlike fiber or twinax solutions, twisted pair cabling can automatically switch to different data rates, such as from 100MbE to 10GbE. Therefore migration to 40GBASE-T does not require a upgrade of all the equipment of the data center, which will reduce of the overall expenditure of the data center.

The advantages of 40GBASE-T are clear, but the path from initial ratification to commercial availability is not always smooth. There still a few months off for 40GBASE-T standardization, here comes some good news, as well as some considerations.

40GBASE-T is specified with transmission performance up to 2 GHz (four times the bandwidth of Category 6A) with a lot more stringent alien crosstalk requirements. Since initial 40GBASE-T applications would be limited to data centers, the traditional twisted pair Ethernet 100m link length is not essential. Additionally, Industry players helping in the development of an industry standard for 40GBASE-T have to ensure that it could be supported and rolled out cost-effectively. The new standard will minimize the time it will take to develop new electronics for switches and servers that can support 40GBASE-T connectivity, by building on the work already completed to support 10GbE connections. The standard will also support the ubiquitous RJ-45 connector. Sooner or later, 40GBASE-T will be upon us. Nowadays 40GBASE-LR4, 40GBASE-SR and 40G QSFP+ cables are there to help with the deployment of 40G connectivity. Take JG330A as an example, it is QSFP+ to 4SFP+ Passive Copper Cable available for short reach application. Figure 2 shows a data center twisted-pair migration roadmap.

Data Center Twisted-Pair Migration Roadmap

BASE-T technology (1000BASE-T, 10GBASE-T or 40GBASE-T) always retains the traditional advantages—low cost, easy to deploy and auto-negotiation for plug and play and backwards compatibility. 1000BASE-T and 10GBASE-T have already brought benefits to people. But no one can foresee that 40GBASE-T will be used in the future but future-proof planning of the cabling is important, given the long life of the cabling systems. Fiberstore provides a full range of BASE-T products including 1000BASE-T SFP, 1000BASE-T media converter, 1000BASE-T GBIC transceiver, etc. And 40GBASE-T devices will be coming soon. If you have any request of our products, please send your inquiry to us.

Copper Cabling for 40G Data Center

A heated debate over whether fiber will take place of copper in the near future has caught people’s attention lately. Five to seven years ago, fiber was considerably more expensive than copper and, as such, was used sparingly. As fiber price has dropped dramatically and our bandwidth needs have grown, data centers have started to use more fibers all the way to their infrastructure. Under this circumstance, people wonder that copper cabling may soon be out of the stage of telecom industry. But the truth is that there is a still a place for copper cabling in the data center, even in 40G data center.

Deploying Copper Cabling in 40G Data Center
The biggest market for 40G Ethernet (40GbE) is in data center for interconnection links with servers and storage area networks. There are lots of 40GbE devices that can be used in 40G data centers. 40G direct attach copper cable (DAC), especially passive copper cables (PCC) is one of those devices that can support 40GbE networking. PCC is the preferred alternative for short-reaches in the data center and as such, that won’t necessarily change as speeds increase. Copper cable assemblies are significantly more affordable than fiber, and many twinaxial cables available on the market today can support 40G for reaches of seven meters or less.

40G QSFP+ Passive Copper Cable
QSFP+ (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable Plus) copper cable assemblies were developed for high-density applications, offering a cost-effective, and low-power option for high speed data center interconnects up to 10 meters. 40GbE passive copper cables provide robust connections for leading edge 40G systems and have extremely low power consumption which improves data center power consumption and thermal efficiency which are ideal for 40G LAN, HPC and SAN applications. QSFP+ to QSFP+ passive copper cable and QSFP+ to 4SFP+ passive breakout copper cable are the two common types of QSFP+ cables that will be introduced in the following picture. Let’s take QSFP-H40G-CU1M as an example, it is compatible Cisco QSFP+ to QSFP+ passive copper cable that is suitable for very short distances of 1m and offer a very cost-effective way to establish a 40-gigabit link between QSFP ports of Cisco switches.

qsfp+ dac for 40g data center

Copper Cabling in 40G Data Center—Pros and Cons
One important thing to note is why the feasibility of using twisted-pair-copper cabling (with RJ-45 connectors) to support 40G Ethernet is so critical to the overall market. RJ-45 connector is with no double one of the most common connector types used in data networks. As the market continues to grow from 1G to 10G, the backward compatibility of this technology will continue to be of extreme importance as work continues towards 40G. This will allow data center operators to evolve their networks based on changing requirements and do so with the least amount of disruption and cost to their networks. In addition, twisted-pair-copper cabling has proven to be an extremely cost-effective solution and designers, installers, and customers have a lot of experience and confidence in copper-based networks. While the eventual deployment of 40G-based copper solutions is still a few years out, this technology will allow organizations to think about how they are deploying copper based solutions today with an eye to the future. Doing so correctly will help ensure infrastructure costs are well managed from both a product and support standpoint.

The problem of standard twinaxial cables is not their performance as much as their tendency to be stiff and bulky, thus consuming precious rack space and blocking critical airflow. The current copper solution for 40G Ethernet limits the architectures one can deploy. 40G Ethernet QSFP+ DAC cable assemblies have a reach of 5 to 7 meters. Thus QSFP+ DAC cable (or QSFP+ breakout cable) assemblies cannot be used for most end-of-row (EoR) implementations or other architectures. What’s worse, DAC cable assemblies are a point-to-point solution and therefore cannot support a structured cabling design. Designers must be careful not to bend the cables too much because the cable’s shielding and overwrap materials can distort the precise cable geometry needed to maintain impedance control, which can degrade signal performance. Moreover, the wrapped shield, with repeated breaks in the shield along the cable length, can produce an unwanted resonance effect, evident at certain frequencies.

Will copper be completely replaced by fiber in 40G data center? The answer is yes or no, we have no clue. But one thing is for sure that copper cabling continues to strive to achieve the quality and speeds that fiber can handily provides, while fiber will develop itself to be more competitive among designers. It is the good news for subscribers. Fiberstore is committed to provide first-class services and high quality products for users. If you have any question about today’s topic, please leave your messages to us.

Basic Knowledge About Media Converter

Over the years, there has been a growing popularity of Ethernet networks, resulting in the increasing use of Ethernet switches in the network infrastructure. But there is problem that the majority of Ethernet switches on the market today are available only with either 10Base-T or 100Base-TX interfaces (i.e., RJ-45). And on the other hand, in order to meet the needs of longer distance transmission and immunity to electrical interference or eavesdropping/interception, fiber cable has been used on a large scale. Since the entire network is not all twisted pair, the problem of how to interconnect disparate cabling types to the switch must be solved. As a result, media converter, a device which can convert RJ-45 to one of the fiber types in use, has been designed.

What is a Media Converter?

Media converter is a simple networking device that enables you to interconnect networks or network devices with different speeds, operation types, modes and media types. And the most common type usually works as a transceiver, converting the electrical signals in copper unshielded twisted pair (UTP) network cabling to light waves used for fiber optic cabling. It is essential to have the fiber optic connectivity if the distance between two network devices is greater than the copper cabling’s transmission distance. Since media converters are IEEE compliant devices, they implement IEEE data encoding rules and Link Integrity Test.

Media Converter

Types of Media Converter

Generally, there are two types of media converter. One type is copper to fiber media converter, another is fiber to fiber media converter. And the illustration of each type will be given as follows.

Copper to fiber media converter – It is a compact device that provides seamless integration of copper and fiber cabling in Enterprise, Government and Service Provider networks. Also, it can be divided into two types, too. They are Ethernet copper to fiber media converter and TDM copper to fiber media converter. Ethernet copper-to-fiber media converter provides connectivity for Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet devices. Some of it support 10/100 or 10/100/1000 rate switching, enabling the integration of equipment of different data rates and interface types into one seamless network.

As to TDM copper to fiber media converter, the common used types are T1/E1 and T3/E3 converters, providing a reliable and cost-effective method to extend traditional TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) telecom protocols copper connections using fiber optic cabling.

Fiber to fiber media converter – This media converter type can provide connectivity between multimode and single-mode fiber, or between dual fiber and single-fiber. What is more, it can support conversion from one wavelength to another. Fiber to fiber media converter is normally protocol independent and available for Ethernet, and TDM applications.

Benefits of Media Converter

Nowadays, media converter plays an important role in multi-protocol and mixed-media networks. In general, media conversion can deliver the following benefits for your network environment:

Cost Reduction – Compared with the hybrid media switches, the cost of media converters with cost-effective Ethernet switches is much lower. What is more, the two devices can do the same job. This type of media converter solution can cost significantly less than that relies on higher-layer devices such as routers or switches.

Flexibility and Simplification – It is of much flexibility for media converter to combine copper with 850 nm and 1300 nm multimode fiber and 1310 nm and 1550 nm single-mode fiber. In addition, With protocol transparency, it can be applied in anywhere in the local network or remote network whether it’s a LAN or the WAN environment.

Ease of Use and High Availability – Configuring and installing redundant solution of media converter is much easier to handle and to manage than higher-layer devices. And it will makes the troubleshooting easier if you add management functions to the media converter.

Since media converter has so many advantages, it can support advanced bridge features – including VLAN, Quality of Service prioritization, Port Access Control and Bandwidth Control – that facilitate the deployment of new data, voice and video to end users. In a word, media converter does more than convert copper-to-fiber and convert between different fiber types. It can also provide all these sophisticated switch capabilities in a small, cost-effective device.

Twisted Pair Copper Cable — A Preferred Cable in Building Wiring

In recent years, as the demand for fast-speed and mass media is increasing, optical fiber cable shows an absolute advantage over copper cable. After fiber-to-the-home solved the “last mile problem”, there even emerged a sentence “optic fiber in, and copper wire out” on the Internet. However, is copper cable really useless? The answer is definitely No! Indeed, twisted pair copper cable has many advantages over optical fiber in the application of building wiring.

The most commonly used copper network cable in the horizontal wiring between buildings is twisted pair copper cable. Therefore, in this text, I will illustrate why twisted pair copper cable is a preferred cable in building wiring.

What is Twisted Pair Copper Cable?

A twisted pair cable is a pair of copper wires, with diameters of 0.4 -0.8mm , twisted together and wrapped with a plastic coating. The twisting increases the electrical noise immunity, and reduces the Bit Error Rate (BER) of the data transmission.

Types of Twisted Pair Cables

Classified by the inner structure of twisted pair copper cable, it can be divided into Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and Shielded Twisted Pair (STP).

  • UTP is just two insulated pair twisted together. The EIA/TIA (Electronic Industry Association/Telecommunication Industry Association) has established standards of UTP and rated 6 categories of wire.
  • STP is heavier and more difficult to manufacture, but it can greatly improve the signaling rate in a given transmission scheme. STP is commonly used by large scale companies in high-end applications that require the maximum bandwidth.

The UTP and STP are showed in the picture below.

twisted pair copper cable

The difference between UTP and STP are stated below:

  • STP cables are shielded while UTP cables are unshielded
  • STP cables are more immune to interference and noise than UTP cables
  • STP cables are better at maximizing bandwidth compared to UTP cables
  • STP cable cost more per meter compared to UTP cables
  • STP cables are heavier per meter compared to UTP cables
  • UTP cables are more prevalent in SOHO networks while STP is used in more high-end applications.

For most common uses, it does not really matter whether you use STP or UTP as both would probably perform well. UTP is the more logical choice for the majority of enterprises in LAN as it is cheaper and much easier to find.

The Advantages of Twisted Pair Cooper Cables in Building Wiring

In the building wiring project, as the physical space of wiring is relevantly spacious, there is no need to worry too much about the wiring density. Therefore, though the diameter of copper wire is larger than optical fiber, there has enough space for the copper wire. And because of the large space, the problem of heat dissipation of copper wires is solved. The distance between enterprise buildings is relevantly short, therefore, even though the attenuation of copper wires is bigger than optical fibers, the influence on the whole network is small. What’s more, the port energy consumption has lower degree of influence on building wiring compared with data center. Therefore, the factors to be considered in the building wiring system inclined to the total cost of the project.

Compared with fiber optic network device, copper cable network device has an obvious advantage over the cost. Therefore, the copper twisted pair wiring system will remain the first choice in a fairly long period of time.

Besides the easy implementation and lower cost, twisted pair copper cable has other strengths:

  • High utilization of cables.
    If a portion of a twisted pair cable is damaged, it does not affect the entire network.
  • Anti-interference.
    Twisted pair cable can effectively restrain common mode interference. Even under the strong interference environment, it can transmit very strong image signals.
  • High reliability.
    One of the biggest advantages of copper cable is reliability. Network reliability is usually measured by Bit Error Rate (BER). The BER of copper cable is usually lower than the industry standard.
Tips to Be Borne in Mind When Choosing UTPs

When choosing UTPs, you should remind that the tighter the twisting, the higher the supported transmission rate and the greater the cost per foot. More twists per inch means more linear feet of copper wire used to make up a cable run, and more copper means more money.

If you are considering to rewire your buildings, the twisted pair copper cable is a good choice for your short distance cable application.

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