Updating your network to fibre optic makes sense for many reasons. Speed of data transfer, clearer signal with fewer corrupted files, and to reduce or eliminate electro-magnetic interference from other wiring in the home or office are the common reasons why people choose to.

If you have experience in setting up networks and hardwiring them you may presume it to be a relatively simple task. Get rid of the Ethernet cable and replace it with fibre optic cable – right? Wrong.

fiber optics

As many want to be DIY installers have discovered there are some differences in working with fibre and Ethernet cable. First and foremost – you cannot get rid of all of the Ethernet cable. The reason is simple. Computers, as of now, do not have optical reader connection ports as a rule. While an Ethernet cable simply plugs into your computer a fibre cable does not. Therefore you need to connect the Ethernet cable to the fibre cable main.

Since the two types of cable function entirely differently (one uses light signals and one uses electricity) it is not simply adding an adapter plug. A Fibre Optic Patch Panel is used to connect optical cable to either other optical cable or to disburse signal to conventional Ethernet cable.

The patch panel will separate out the signal in individual strands of fibre and redirect it to the correct strand on the other cable in the case of networking optical cables together, or into a reader type device that will turn it into electrical signal to be used to connect a computer or other hardware.

The panel is not as direct as a simple plug in connector for the fibre input and output either. Inside the panel are a number of bulkhead receptacles to hold the incoming cable and fibre splice trays that are used to split the cables individual fibres (and signals) to redirect them into other fibre or hardware connectors. Modern boxes use SFF (small form factor) jacks to make couplings simpler.

Pre-planning is required to install a fibre optic network. To get the most benefit from it use of fibre patch panels at all points of integration are required and you should consider possible future modifications as well. Fibre optic cable cannot be simply cut so putting in patch panels at places likely to be considered for future updates is preferable.

A last consideration is that at each panel it is possible to test the individual fibre. By having a proper installation to begin with you can reduce potential future repair costs significantly. You can buy ST Fibre Optic Patch Panels at MCL Data Solutions to complete your network.

Though it is not as simple as an all electric or Ethernet set-up the benefits will make it well worth it in the long run. Clearer signal, better data transfers speeds, and technologically ready for future enhancements will make it a good investment for many high power users.