Help with going fiber optic

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  • Updated 4 days ago
In a previous post of mine, someone had offered to assist me in connecting my PC and Flex 6500 via fiber-optic to my router. Of course, now I can't locate that post. Regardless, here is my situation, and I would appreciate any recommendations for hardware and design.

I currently have Comcast XFINITY Internet coming into the house and connected to an IQrouter. At the router, we get about 100 Mb per second. My PC is connected to the router by Wi-Fi and my Flex is connected to the PC and bridged to the Wi-Fi.  My shack is on the upper floor and the router is in the basement.   Amazingly, it works and seems to work well at least when one looks at the latency bars. I would, however, like to directly connect my PC and Flex to the router. though I don't need the speed of fiber-optic, I like that it will provide some surge isolation.

Here is my laundry list of questions, and I greatly appreciate all the advice:

I am assuming that to do this, I need to get two pairs of media converters, one for the connection from the PC to the router and another for the connection between the Flex and the router?  Most of the videos that I have seen show the media converters connecting two ethernet switches. Can I,  nonetheless, come out of my Flex and PC with a short piece of ethernet cable to the media converter directly? Are there any particular media converter models that are better or less hassle to install than others. I noticed that all of the media converters need wall warts. Do some of the brands have better less noisy wall warts? What do the different types of SFP modules do?  Is that something I need to worry about?  Finally, what do I need to look for in the fiber-optic cable? I presume there are good quality and not so good quality cables?

Thanks again for your help.

73,
Bob, WK2Y
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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Posted 2 months ago

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Ted VE3TRQ

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Try this link - there is some fibre connection information there: https://community.flexradio.com/flexr...
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Ted VE3TRQ

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Some discussion on using fibre here: https://community.flexradio.com/flexr...
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Jerry W4UK

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I use a Fiber link just after the MODEM. Just a few inches of FO cable between the two FO interfaces. That way I protect the house (I hope) from surges incoming from the internet provider's wire cable. It worked well a couple of months ago - a nearby lightning strike took out my modem but the remainder of the house LAN wiring and all computers and the 6700 suffered no harm. Total cost around $85.

At Amazon, it is the 10GTek Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter, Single Mode Dual SC Fiber, 1000Base-LX to 10/100/1000Base-Tx, up to 20km, Pack of 2

 My cables are Amazon FiberCablesDirect - 0.5M OS2 SC SC Fiber Patch Cable | Duplex 9/125 SC to SC Singlemode Jumper 0.5 Meter (6.56ft) | Length Options: 0.5M-300M | ofnr sc-sc Single-Mode dup sc/sc smf dx Yellow PVC

Jerry W4UK
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KI4P

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good article here, look under eithernet protection. 
http://www.nn4zz.com/FLEX6700.htm#Ethernet_Lightning_Protection
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Clay N9IO

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Bob,
This past weekend was a weekend of RFI problem solving that started much earlier with a lot of experimentation.
My internet out here in Podunk (the country) is a radio modem on the tower at 45 feet very close to many of my transmitting antennas (go figure right?)
Turns out the RF was coming down the CAT7 run down the tower into my router combined with the rest of the network an RF storm ensued.

PROBLEM SOLVED when I broke the CAT7 run with 3 a pair of pre-made L-C fiber optic network converter's and 3 feet of glass (fiber.)
Connected my Flex 6600, Maestro and computer to a separate 5 port switch (no internet, separate network.)
Only the computer gets it's internet from a wireless NIC, it is a Fenvi dual band wireless NIC
made for WIN 10, 64 bit ONLY. No drivers required, WIN 10 assigned the drivers on startup, TOO EASY!

A crap storm with my computer started a couple days earlier with a wireless NIC that pretended to work for WIN 10 but only managed to trash the OS
to the point that I couldn't even sign in to the computer (Hence the next day OS and different NIC.)
Almost traumatic experience averted via Amazon and eBay to the rescue!

Spent Saturday waiting for next day delivery of the Fenvi board and WIN 10 OS disk.
The converter's are 10/100 and I have not detected any additional noise at this point.
I could point you to the devices I ordered from Newegg.
TP Link I believe.
Clay N9IO
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Phil N3ZP

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I also use a fiber optic link in my shack in order to separate the Flex and shack PC from the wired network and any RF issues or storm-related spikes. I have an Ethernet cable from my 2nd floor router that runs to my basement where the shack is. I use a pair of 10 Gtek Gigabit ethernet to fiber converters also. A pair sells for about $74 on Amazon. I use a 4 ft SC fiber cable between them. One converter connects to the ethernet cable and the other to a 4-port switch. The PC, Flex 6400 and Maestro all connect to the switch. It's been trouble free and speeds a good. 

Fiber cables can be very long with no signal loss. It would be easy to route them but I don't know how hard it is to install the end connectors.

Good luck with your setup.

Phil N3ZP
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Ted VE3TRQ

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Installing ends on fibre cable is not possible without professional (read: expensive) equipment. You really need to buy fibre with ends pre-installed. Just remember to keep the caps on until the connectors are pushed into the SFPs / GBICs, whatever.
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John - K3MA

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If anyone is looking to convert to fiber I have been using a HP Procurve 2524 24 port switch with fiber transciever built in and Trendnet TFC-1000mfc Fiber Media Converters.  I have several of these pieces of equipment extra and would be willing to sell them.  If interested you can contact me a MYCALL@outlook.com

John K3MA
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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Thanks for the offer John, but I think that might be overkill for me.
73,
Bob, WK2Y
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions.  I have one other.

Can someone tell me what these things are: 
(SFP SX Transceiver Included)  Some of the media converters come with them and some don't.  What do they do and do I need them?
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Ted VE3TRQ

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What you have in your picture is an SFP module, which is a fibre transceiver (with an LC connector). If your switch has an SFP (small form-factor pluggable module, or mini-GBIC) port, you need one of these to interface with your fibre run.

If your media converter has a fibre connector on it, you don't need the SFP. The advantage of an SFP is you can use different fibre types or fibre connectors, and are not locked in to the media converter's fibre and connector type. (Edit - a media converter with built-in transceiver - i.e. no SFP needed - will most likely be cheaper.)

Answer depends - if the media converter needs an SFP, you buy one, if it has the transceiver built in and presents a fibre SC or LC connector, you don't need one.

Oh, also, use MM (multi-mode) fibre, not SM (single-mode) - it is much cheaper.
(Edited)
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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SC or LC connector.  MM or SM fibre.  Makes me want to yell, "Can't we all just get along." ;-)  I suppose there are benefits and advantages to one or the other which probably aren't important to me, but might be in a commercial institution?

Thanks for the great info.  Could have been very frustrating if I hadn't known about these differences.
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Ted VE3TRQ

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I like LC connectors because they lock together and look after the TX/RX issue with the pair of fibers used for the run. SM fibre is usually used for long runs (higher power, different wavelength), and MM fibre is used for internal (switch to switch, switch to device) connections inside the plant.
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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You are a fount of knowledge.  I think I know enough now to make some purchase and move away from wi-fi.  Many thanks.
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Duane N9DG

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Ted, VE3TRQ has good advice. Multimode SX fiber will be just fine for anything you are likely to need to do on your own premises. Single-mode fiber and LX SFPs in all likelihood would just be extra expensive overkill.

When I was setting up my between building fiber runs I did an experiment where I sent the output of my gigabit switch with all my SDR radio hardware on it out on one duplex cable. Then back on the second duplex cable by linking them together at the far end. That then fed that into the PC via a SFP equipped media converter that is running all of my SDR SW. Basically it was about 360 foot fiber run round trip.

I am just using inexpensive OM1 multi-mode fiber with 1000BASE-SX SFPs on each end. That fiber network test was able to handle the 6500, and 3 HPSDR fat client SDR radios, consisting of 2 Hermes, and Mercury/Penelope. It worked 100% fine. Could tell no difference whatsoever that the networking was traveling an extra 360 feet.

What is important is to match the type/specs of the chosen SFPs on both ends. Easy to do if you just buy two SFPs of the same type. And to also select the appropriate fiber cable for the SFP type that you picked.

And yes by all means buy prefabbed cables with the ends already put on them. The tools and kits to properly terminate fiber are rather expensive for making just a handful of terminations. Never mind getting good at it.

Also order them with a few extra feet, or even few 10's of feet more cable than you think you will need. And then just coil up the extra fiber as needed. Nothing more annoying than deciding to relocate some gear and then the fiber being too short. Although there are couplers you can buy to link fiber cables together. I have some, and have not noticed any problems with them. Though I suspect they would be noticeable if I was actually pushing the limits of the OM1 fiber run distance.
(Edited)
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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A progress report.  Just wanted to let everyone know that I got the fiber optic cable into my PC and it was a piece of cake.  Plug and play.  Hardest part was running the cable from the basement upstairs but even that was relatively easy.  I didn't realize how small fiber optic is!!! I'll never run another ethernet cable.   Nice going from 25 mbps to 125 mpbs.    Just have to hook the second adapter and cable up to my Flex.

Thanks everyone for the advice.  This is working out real well.

73,
Bob, WK2Y
(Edited)
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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And one final report:  The Flex is hooked up and what a difference it makes.  Everything is amazingly faster on the PC and the Flex, and I haven't had a single disconnect since the fiber went in.  Now the only issue is that I have used up all the Ethernet ports on my router.  I presume I now need a switch, but I will start a separate thread on that.

Thanks again for everyone's help and Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all.
73,
Bob, WK2Y


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Ross W8TZ

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Just wondering what type media converters and fiber cable you ended up using.

Thanks...

Ross, W8TZ