media converter

Definition of media converter in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Media Converter?

A device that connects two different networking media for Ethernet networks, such as thinnet cabling and unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling. Each Ethernet standard provides specifications for the media used - for example, 10Base2 and 10Base5 use different media types. A media converter allows these different types to be transparently joined.

Media converters can be simple, stand-alone two-port small boxes for connecting two wires of different media types, rack-mounted units with 8 or 16 preconfigured ports, or modular units, which allow the greatest range of configuration options. Media converters come in many types, with many different kinds of connectors. Some media converters are similar to bridges in their functionality.

Media converters can be used for various functions, including the following:

  • Connecting two different wiring systems, such as 100BaseTX and 100BaseFX, without adding to the repeater count for your network
  • Connecting two 10BaseT or 100BaseTX networks in different buildings using fiber-optic cabling runs as long as 15 kilometers
  • Connecting a 100Base2 thinnet Ethernet segment to an RJ-45 port on a 10/100-Mbps hub
  • Integrating a mix of cabling including UTP cabling, thinnet, thicknet, and fiber-optic cabling

    Graphic M-6. Media converter.

TIP

Media converters can be valuable if you have a large existing thicknet or thinnet Ethernet local area network (LAN) and you want to take advantage of new, fast Ethernet switching technology. Instead of rewiring your entire LAN to UTP (which is the standard cabling type for Ethernet switches), you can use some of your existing cabling by connecting your coaxial cabling to a media converter and then connecting the media converter to the Ethernet switch using UTP patch cables.