Media Converter

What Does Media Converter Mean?

A media converter, in the context of network hardware, is a cost-effective and flexible device intended to implement and optimize fiber links in every kind of network. Among media converters, the most often used type is a device that works as a transceiver, which converts the electrical signal utilized in copper unshielded twisted pair (UTP) network cabling to light waves used for fiber optic cabling. It is essential to have the fiber optic connectivity if the distance between two network devices is greater than the copper cabling’s transmission distance.


The copper-to-fiber conversion carried out by a media converter allows two network devices having copper ports to be connected across long distances by means of fiber optic cabling.

Techopedia Explains Media Converter

A media converter offers fiber-to-fiber conversion as well, from multi-mode fiber into single-mode fiber. It also converts a dual fiber link to single fiber with the help of bi-directional (BIDI) data flow. In addition, media converters have the capability to convert between wavelengths for applications that use wavelength division multiplexing (WDM).

Generally, media converters are protocol specific and they support an extensive array of data rates and network types. They are presented as physical layer or Layer 2 switching systems. Media converters that include Layer 2 switching functionality offer rate-switching as well as other innovative features.

Network intricacy, challenging applications and the increasing range of network devices drive network bandwidth and speed requirements to new extents and push longer distance requirements inside the local area network (LAN). The answer to these issues is media converters. Media converters permit fiber usage when required and integrate new devices into existing cabling infrastructure. Media converters provide flawless incorporation of fiber and copper, and various fiber forms in LAN networks. They support a multitude of protocols, media types and data rates to build a more trustworthy and cost-effective network.

Media converter characteristics:

  • Expands network distances with the conversion of UTP to fiber and the extension of fiber links
  • Retains investments in pre-existing devices
  • Boosts the potential of present fiber with WDM wavelengths

New applications for media converters:

  • Remotely handled converters and multi-port switch configurations
  • Conversion of DM wavelengths to enhance the bandwidth capacity
  • Facilitate fiber-to-the-desktop

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.