Tag Archives: Fiber Media Converter

Fiber SFP Module VS Fiber Media Converter

Many devices in the optical communication field are sharing similar functions, such as fiber SFP module and fiber media converter. They are designed as the equipment for photoelectric conversion. Some of you may get confused about the two seemingly similar devices. Don’t worry, in this article, we are going to reveal the secret between SFP fiber module and fiber media converter. In the beginning, let’s go over the definitions of them.

What Is the Fiber SFP Module

The SFP (small form-factor pluggable) module, also called mini GBIC (gigabit interface converter), is a compact, hot-pluggable optical transceiver used for both telecommunication and data communication applications. It converts electrical signals to optical signals and vice versa. Usually, the SFP module consists of optical SFP and copper SFP. And the type depends on whether their SFP ports connect with fiber optic cables or copper cables. The fiber SFP module can support SONET, Gigabit Ethernet, Fiber Channel, and other communication standards.

Figure 1: SFP Copper RJ45 100m Transceiver

Figure 1: SFP Copper RJ45 100m Transceiver

What Is Fiber Media Converter?

Similar to the working mode of optical transceivers, the fiber media converter receives data signals from one media and transmits them to another. Conventionally, fiber media converters can support two kinds of conversion: copper-to-fiber and fiber-to-fiber. Copper-to-fiber media converters are devices designed to connect two dissimilar media types, such as the twisted pair with fiber optic cabling. They will be chosen when the transmission distance of two network devices with copper ports need to be extended via fiber optic cabling. When it comes to the fiber-to-fiber conversion, it supports a connectivity not only between multimode fiber and single mode fiber but also a dual fiber link and single fiber using Bi-directional (BIDI) flow. Conversions between different wavelengths can also be achieved by some fiber-to-fiber media converters.

Figure 2: 1*SFP and 2*RJ45 Ports Mini Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter

Figure 2: 1*SFP and 2*RJ45 Ports Mini Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter

Connection: Fiber SFP Module vs Fiber Media Converter

A fiber SFP module has a much smaller size than a fiber media converter. Before catching the connection between fiber SFP modules and fiber media converters, we had better know the media converter’s physical structure in advance. So far, copper-to-fiber media converters cover two types of ports. One is for copper (usually the RJ45 port) and the other is for fiber. As for fiber ports, two kinds can also be found. One is designed to insert fiber optic transceivers (SFP, XFP and etc), and the other to connect fiber optic patch cables (SC, LC and etc). As for fiber-to-fiber media converters, both the input ports and output ports are for fiber link. It can be a fiber optic connector for fiber patch cables or an SFF connector for optical modules. After knowing the media converter’s physical structure, it will be easier for us to grasp how does it coordinate with the SFP fiber module. Therefore, if you want to make an SFP module and a media converter both into use at the same time, you need to choose a fiber media converter with fiber ports for an optical transceiver. That is to say, you can insert you SFP module into one side and connect an RJ45 copper cable with the copper port on the other.

Figure 3: 1SFP+1RJ45 Ports Mini Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter

Figure 3: 1SFP+1RJ45 Ports Mini Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter


To sum up, in this article, we introduce what the fiber SFP module and the media converter are. Then after studying the media converter’s physical structure and how it coordinates with the fiber SFP module, we can understand the connection between the fiber SFP module and the media converter.

Applications of Fiber Media Converter

With the increased demands on the network, various network devices are manufactured to meet these demands. Fiber media converter is one of a key components in those devices. It features of high bandwidth capacity, long distance operation and reliability, making it popular in modern networking systems. This post is going to explore some basis and illustrates several application examples of fiber media converter.

Basics of Fiber Media Converter

Fiber media converter is a device that can convert an electrical signal into light waves between copper UTP (unshielded twisted pair) networks and fiber optic networks. As we all know, compared with Ethernet cable, fiber optic cables have longer transmission distance, especially the single mode fiber cables. Therefore, fiber media converters help operators solve the transmission problem perfectly.

Fiber media converters are typically protocol specific and are available to support a wide variety of network types and data rates. And they also provide fiber-to-fiber conversion between single mode and multimode fiber. Besides, some fiber media converters like copper-to-fiber and fiber-to-fiber media converters have the capability of wavelength conversion by using SFP transceivers.

Fiber Media Converter

According to different standards, fiber media converters can be classified into different types. There is managed media converter and unmanaged media converter. The differences between them are that the latter one can provide additional network monitoring, fault detection and remote configuration functionality. There is also copper-to-fiber media converter, serial to fiber media converter and fiber-to-fiber media converter.

Applications of Common Types of Fiber Media Converters

With the several advantages mentioned above, fiber media converters are widely used to bridge copper networks and optical systems. This part is primarily to introduce two types of fiber media converters’ applications.

Fiber-to-Fiber Media Converter

This type of fiber media converter enables the connections between single mode fiber (SMF) and multimode fiber (MMF), including between different “power” fiber sources and between single-fiber and dual fiber. Following are some application examples of fiber-to-fiber media converter.

Multimode to Single Mode Fiber Application

Since SMF supports longer distances than MMF, it’s common to see that conversions from MMF to SMF in enterprise networks. And fiber-to-fiber media converter can extend a MM network across SM fiber with distances up to 140km. With this capacity, long distance connection between two Gigabit Ethernet switches can be realized using a pair of Gigabit fiber-to-fiber converters (as shown in the following picture).

Fiber Media Converter application 1

Dual Fiber to Single-Fiber Conversion Application

Single-fiber usually operates with bi-directional wavelengths, often referred to as BIDI. And the typically used wavelengths of BIDI single-fiber are 1310nm and 1550nm. In the following application, the two dual fiber media converters are linked by a single mode fiber cable. Since there are two different wavelengths on the fiber, the transmitter and receiver on both ends need to be matched.

Fiber Media Converter application 2

Serial to Fiber Media Converters

This kind of media converter provides fiber extension for serial protocol copper connections. It can be connected with RS232, RS422 or RS485 port of computer or other devices, solving the problems of traditional RS232, RS422 or RS485 communication conflict between distance and rate. And it also supports point-to-point and multi-point configurations.

RS-232 Application

RS-232 fiber converters can operate as asynchronous devices, support speeds up to 921,600 baud, and support a wide variety of hardware flow control signals to enable seamless connectivity with most serial devices. In this example, a pair of RS-232 converters provides the serial connection between a PC and terminal server allowing access to multiple data devices via fiber.

Fiber Media Converter application 3

RS-485 Application

RS-485 fiber converters are used in many multi-point applications where one computer controls many different devices. As shown in the picture below, a pair of RS-485 converters provides the multi-drop connection between the host equipment and connected multi-drop devices via fiber cable.

Fiber Media Converter application 4


Affected by the limitation of Ethernet cables and increased network speeds, networks are becoming more and more complicated. The application of fiber media converters not only overcome the distance limitations of traditional network cables, but enables your networks to connect with different types of medias like twisted pair, fiber and coax.

Related article: Things You Need to Know About Fiber Media Converter

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.

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.