Media is often distributed and transferred in large scale by way of fiber optics, but considerably less expensive and common Ethernet-based technology. This particular device is generically known as an Ethernet media converter and there are a wide ranging models that vary in network connectivity, modes, as well as overall functionality. The result is a selection of products for many different needs.

The Ethernet connection speed could well be the most common feature that sets apart entire strata of Ethernet media converters. At the top of an individual and prosumer lines are gigabit Ethernet converters capable of producing full-duplex 1000Mbps operation for a high quality price. There are actually very high-end industrial grade multi-gigabit models just as well, but plenty of consumers on a tight budget or with modest media needs opt for 10/100-capable models. Due to the eventual switch from gigabit to multi-gigabit networking devices, it's quite possible that an investment in anything less than a gigabit Ethernet media converter may not necessarily turn out to be the best long term strategy.

Speed is usually a serious matter for network architects because of the way it establishes the type of fiber optic connection and data provisioning equipment. Similarly important is the mode in which the media converter will function or no matter if it is a true multi-mode device. Cheaper devices are typically uni-directional in nature and convert data from fiber to Ethernet only. Some other devices can operate in either direction and from time to time are known as either dual-mode or multi-mode Ethernet media converters, however these two terms are hotly debated by media professionals and network architects alike. These high quality professionals generally believe that multi-mode would mean simultaneous synchronous or asynchronous communication, which is a feature quite normal on higher-end equipment targeted specifically at their segment(s) of the market. Additionally, there is the Ethernet extender family of products, which is a term that is sometimes used by various kinds of networking specialists to define different products. Some define an Ethernet extender in order to extend a fiber optic network to more prevalent and economical Ethernet devices while other people simply use the term to indicate an Ethernet signal repeater or strengthener. Due to the incredibly fidelity of fiber optics in general, the primary reason to consider such an extender in a fiber optic network is usually because fiber optic client cards, switches, and other networking devices are not affordable compared to Ethernet ports. When dealing with the use of client devices, the proliferation of Ethernet ports is practically complete from the most economical of netbooks and hubs up to the very best echelon of professional grade servers.

Author's Bio: 

In short, even the latest gigabit Ethernet media converter is often the most cost effective way to make the leap between fiber optic and Ethernet devices. An Ethernet extender to an existing fiber optic network may be a great way to link a single device or even an entirely separate network to combine the power of fiber with Ethernet’s value.