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Selecting Network Devices

Selecting Fiber Media Converters

When it is necessary to transfer data over long distances between devices (or switches), you can use optical fiber cables. To connect copper wire cables to optical fiber cables, you need a media converter that supports 1000BASE-T.

To connect an optical fiber cable to a switch, we recommend that you install a module such as a SFP (mini-GBIC) or GBIC in the switch instead of using a stand-alone media converter. Also, we recommend that you use a cut-through media converter rather than a store-and-forward converter. Using a store-and-forward converter will result in delays, so you will have to count the media converter as a switch when setting the Dante latency. Also, in a store-and-forward converter, unintended filtering may result in the blocking of necessary packets.

Optical fiber transmission with SFP/GBIC module

Depending on their transmission method, optical fiber cables and media converters can be divided into two categories: multi-mode and single-mode. Multi-mode optical fiber is the cheaper option and is capable of transmitting data over distances of up to 500m. Single-mode fiber is more expensive, but it can transmit data over longer distances than multi-mode fiber: up to 2 km is supported by most single-mode SFPs, though some will go further.

There is a variety of fiber-optic cable sizes to choose from (that is the diameter of the glass carrying the data), and they are not freely inter-changeable. It is important to select the cable size to match the SFP/GBIC specification. The most frequently used sizes for professional audio applications are as follows:

  • Multi-mode: 50/125μm
  • Single-mode: 9/125μm

Also, in addition to a fiber-optic connector, many devices are also compatible with the rugged opticalCON connector. opticalCON connectors use a locking mechanism which makes it difficult for the cable to be pulled out, and are useful for applications where the cable needs to be both pulled in and out frequently but also firmly locked in place, such as during live performance. By connecting with the fiber-optic cable of an opticalCON connector, you can create a solid network that is difficult to physically disconnect, even over long distances.

opticalCON connector

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