Troubleshooting and Auto-Negotiation Features for Media Conversion Products

Media converters make the critical connection between different types of media, ensuring seamless integration of new equipmentin legacy networks. Media converters simply provide the electrical-to-optical conversion, and cost-effectively bridge the gap between copper and fiber optic media types.

Media converters are low-level OSI protocol stack products that connect one type of networking media or product to another. No networking packet delays or data loss are introduced because there are no packet store-and-forward functions or retiming of data. Media converters are completely transparent to the network. There are no MAC or IP addresses to consider. Mediaconverters can be placed anywhere in the LAN without concern for data degradation. These features make media convertersextremely inexpensive and easy to use.  These same features, however, can also make media converters the “missing link” of thenetwork, so to speak. Because many media converters are transparent devices and/or are often located at remote sites, whenproblems occur with cabling, troubleshooting can be difficult for network managers. In addition, network managers often upgradesome equipment and/or deploy 10/100 Mbps hardware in attempt to future-proof their networks.  Compatibility issues cansometimes occur when using media converters.

B+B SmartWorx recognized these issues and therefore implemented several troubleshooting features as well as Auto-Negotiationfunctionality into its media conversion products. This paper discusses link integrity and explains each of B+B SmartWorx’s troubleshooting features, including LinkLoss, FiberAlertand Link Fault Detection, which help locate “silent failures” on yournetwork.  This paper also discusses Auto-Negotiation, a feature that minimizes compatibility problems. It is vital that youunderstand exactly how these features work, and how they will react in your network configuration, before attempting to installyour media converter(s).

Installing media converters without understanding the effects of FiberAlert, LinkLoss, Link Fault Detectionand Auto-Negotiation can cause perfectly functioning units to appear flawed or even dead.