Media Converters – CompTIA Network+ N10-006 – 1.5

Media converters can be used to solve some challenging network design issues. In this video, you’ll learn about media converters and how you can use them to convert between fiber and copper network technologies.

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In networking, nothing works 100% the way that we’ve planned out. There may be times when we have to convert from one media type to another, so we need to change the way we’re sending this information over Layer 1 of the OSI model.

For instance, we may have a copper connection coming out of a server, but we may need to extend that over a very long distance. So it would be nice if we could convert that copper connection to a fiber connection, and then on the other end convert it back to a copper connection again.

This obviously is useful if you might even have the fiber that’s already between buildings, you can easily extend these network links just by using something like a media converter. If you’re converting from copper to fiber or fiber to copper, you’ll find that many of these media converters are powered.

If you’re simply changing something that may be transmitted through a fiber connection– for instance, from single mode to multi-mode– it might not need power. But a lot of the times when we’re dealing with media converters we’re needing to change the signal in some way, so we require that that converter be powered.

This is what a rack mountable media converter might look like. There are actually many media converters that are in this particular rack, all coming from a copper connection on the top side. And you can see they might be converting to copper or fiber down on the bottom side through other methods.

This is a very common way to have a high-density type of conversion happening in a rack, and it’s all powered from one single power source. It makes it very easy if you need to do a lot of converting. Instead of having single converters that are lying around, you can collapse it into one single rack mountable system.

If you need to only convert one single connection, you might use a standalone converter like this one. This one’s taking 110 or 100 megabit ethernet and converting it to 100 megabit single fiber right in the connector of the converter. It’s very common to do this, to take from a single mode or a multi-mode fiber and convert it back to a copper connection.

You can also see there’s power associated with this, and that’s because we do have that copper connection that needs to be powered. We would generally take one of these and convert copper to fiber on one end, extend the fiber connection, and on the other end use another converter like this to convert from the fiber back to the copper connection.

You may also see converters being used even at your home. If they have fiber in the ground to your house, they have to convert it in some way back to a copper connection because the devices in your home don’t have a fiber optic connector on them. They’re all copper connectors. So there has to be some type of conversion process that takes place to get it from the fiber to the copper that you can use.

There’s also fiber converters that allow you to change the type of fiber you’re using. You might have equipment on one side that’s single mode and equipment on the other side that is expecting multi-mode fiber, so in the middle you’ll need to change or convert that media.

And these generally non-powered fiber converters allow you to do exactly that. Instead of changing the hardware you’re using on both sides and purchasing new cards and modifying the devices, you simply change the fiber. And that way you can leave the equipment exactly the same and simply modify things in the middle with the media converter.