Serial-to-Fiber Media Converters: The Ultimate Solution to Extend Industrial Ethernet Networks

Industrial Ethernet networks demand extended reach for data transmission. Industrial Ethernet networks consist of multiple data terminal equipment (DTE) and data communication equipment (DCEs) integrated together. To transmit data from the DTE to DCEs, Ethernet-compliant transmission media such as copper cables, fiber optics cables, etc are utilized. In modern industrial Ethernet networks, fiber optics has become a highly preferred choice due to its efficiency, data security, transmission speed, and higher bandwidth, etc. Since data signals transmitted from the DTE are in electric form, electric-optical data conversion is required. For the data conversion, the media converters are utilized. The Ethernet network extension is often done to accommodate long distance data transmission requirements. To achieve the same, serial-to-fiber media converters are utilized. The serial-to-fiber media converters are the devices that enable serial communication between the DTE and DCEs and further extend the reach via fiber optic transmission cables. This post introduces you to serial-to-fiber media converters and their role in industrial Ethernet network monitoring and extension.

An Overview of Serial-to-Fiber Media Converters

The serial-to-fiber media converters are the devices that enable fiber extension of serial protocol copper connections. These media connectors offer point-to-point and/or multipoint communication between the source device and the receiving devices integrated into Ethernet networks. To achieve universal acceptability, these serial-to-fiber media converters are designed in two common protocols of copper to fiber transmission.

An Overview of Serial-to-Fiber Media Converters

Three main interfaces of these serial-to-fiber converters are discussed below.
  1. RS-232: RS-232 is a serial communication standard used for data transmission to medium distances. RS-232 serial-to-fiber converter offers a point-to-point configuration for full-duplex fiber transmission at 15meters at 9600bps.
  2. RS-485: RS-485 standard assures differential data transmission, which is quite effective while communicating high data rates over large distances. Differential data transmission has balanced differential signals that helps minimize induced noise signals and ground shifts. This feature enables RS-485 to meet multipoint network requirements. This standard can accommodate 32 receivers and 32 drivers on a single 2-wire bus. However, they are extended to hundreds of nodes by using high-impedance drivers and automatic repeaters. RS485 drivers can withstand bus fault conditions and bus contention conditions. RS-485 serial to fiber media converters offer a multi-point configuration of half-duplex fiber transmission at 1.2km at 9600bps.
Based on the requirements of the fiber optic Ethernet network, the serial-to-fiber medial converters can be chosen.

Role of Serial-to-Fiber Media Converters in Extension of Ethernet Networks

The function of serial-to-fiber converters differ according to the topology or mode of configuration. Let us discuss the function of serial-to-fiber converters in both modes of configuration.
  • Pair Mode of Configuration: In this mode of configuration, the serial-to-fiber converter is connected between a pair of DTE i.e.; source computer, and DCE i.e.; serial device. These two devices can be 20km apart in this type of configuration as long as fiber-transmission-link is established between both the devices. During this point-to-point transmission, the electric data is translated to optical pulses by the converter and is carried forward via a fiber optic link. At the delivery end, the data format is reversed to electrical signals.
  • Ring Mode of Configuration: In this mode of configuration, multiple DTE and DCEs are connected within a ring-topology. In this configuration, serial-to-fiber converters can interact with a fiber-to-serial ring network whereas the transmitted signal travels from a converter to converter. Alternate electrical-optical and optical-electrical conversion takes place during the transmission of signals from source to receivers. This topology can be utilized for nearly 100km of the fiber transmission link.

Applications of RS-232 and RS-485 Standards

RS-485 and RS-232 serial to fiber media converters are used in various industrial applications, including the following:
  • Factory automation in autos and metal fabrication facilities
  • Process automation in chemicals, breweries, and paper mills
  • Motor and motion control devices
  • HVAC
  • Security devices
  • Data centers
  • Telecommunication equipment
  • Enterprise networks
  • LANs and point-to-point fiber networks
Considering the importance of serial-to-fiber media converters in an extension of a fiber-based Ethernet network, it is important to ensure the quality, performance, and efficiency of these devices. That is why you should source these devices from reliable suppliers like VERSITRON. The company offers high-quality fiber optic communication resources. They offer serial-to-fiber converters/FOMs of RS-232 RS-422 RS-485 configurations. All their products are RoHS, and MAS compliant.

Related Products Table:


Product Name



10/100 Base TX to 100 Base FX Fiber Optic Media Converter, Multimode ST


10/100 Base TX to 100 Base FX Fiber Optic Media Converter, Multimode SC


10/100 Base TX to 100 Base FX Fiber Optic Media Converter, Single-mode SC


10/100Base-TX to 100Base-FX Single Fiber Media Converter


10/100Base-TX to 100Base-FX Single Fiber Media Converter


10/100/1000Base-T to 1000Base-SX/LX "Triple Duty" Gigabit Media Converter with SFP GBIC Technology


Multimode to Singlemode | Fiber Optic Media Converter


10/100/1000Base-T to 100/1000Base-X PSE Converter | Gigabit Ethernet with PoE+ Technology


10/100TX-FX Industrial Media Converter, Singlemode SC


10/100TX-FX Industrial Media Converter, Multimode SC


10/100TX-FX Industrial Media Converter, Multimode ST


10/100/1000Base-T to 1000Base-X Industrial Media Converter


10/100/1000Base-T to 1000Base-X PoE/PoE+ Industrial Media Converter


10/100TX-FX Industrial Media Converter, Single-fiber, Singlemode SC


10/100TX-FX Industrial Media Converter, Single-fiber, Singlemode SC

Rich Tull

R.W. Tull is the President of Versitron, a prominent technology company specializing in innovative solutions for data communication and networking. With extensive experience in the industry, R.W. Tull leads the company's strategic vision and oversees its day-to-day operations.  With a deep understanding of data communication technologies and networking systems, R.W. Tull has played a pivotal role in driving Versitron's success.

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