An Ethernet Extender is a device that is used to extend an existing Ethernet network to enhance its distance limitation of 100 meters. It is also sometimes referred to as a network extender, Ethernet coupler, or LAN extender. Ethernet extenders offer a cheap and convenient solution for the integration of networks by eliminating any additional costs for expensive network switches for upgradation or extension purposes.
Ethernet extenders find their use in applications where different kinds of cabling are employed and offer a cost-effective upgradation for co-existing of cabling infrastructure. We will take a look at some of the functions and workings of Ethernet extenders in the following sections.
THE WORKING OF ETHERNET EXTENDERS
As per the IEEE 802.3 standards for communication over Ethernet cabling, a distance range up to a maximum of 100 meters for twisted pair cables is allowed. 100BASE-T is defined under the IEEE 802.3u standard for Ethernet and is also known as Fast Ethernet, it operates at 100 Mbps bandwidth and used Cat5 cable. Ethernet extenders allow 10/100Base-TX networks to leverage SHDSL to transmit Ethernet data up to 20km and also use VDSL technology to extend 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet up to 3km.
Ethernet Extenders are easy to use with a convenient Plug and play configuration. To configure and enable your Ethernet extender, connect one end of your Ethernet cable to the connection hub at your computer, then proceed to connect the other end of the Ethernet cable with the extender. Before connecting the power source at the hub it must be ensured that the cabling has been properly done with firm connections.
DIFFERENT TERMS AND MISLABELING OF ETHERNET EXTENDERS
This term means the extension of already existing Cat5 cabling infrastructure that can be expanded using the Cat5 extenders. It is usually carried by wiring both ends of both the cables with RJ45 male connectors and using inline Ethernet couplers by incorporating the female /female RJ45 connectors. It is often misunderstood as an Ethernet extender, however, it employs a fundamentally different technology as well as methodology.
Ethernet repeaters amplify an already existing Ethernet signal in a network, however, it differs from Ethernet extenders in the sense that they do not create a new network in the existing networking infrastructure. Ethernet repeater simply rebroadcasts the existing signal rather than creating a new one. In simple terms, an Ethernet repeater enhances the signal whereas an Ethernet extender extends the signal in terms of distance and location.
An Ethernet bridge is simply a device that helps connect two or more different local area networks together. It concerns the connection of two or more networks and thereby differs from the Ethernet extenders.
TYPES OF ETHERNET EXTENDERS
Ethernet extenders employ a number of different transmission mediums such as copper wire (Twisted pair cables), fiber-optic cable, and coaxial cable. Some of the types of Ethernet extenders are as follows;
- Ethernet over UTP Ethernet extender extends the UTP cable with managed and unmanaged multiport and single-port Ethernet extenders. Networks can be extended using these extenders up to kilometers from the usual 100m range.
- Ethernet over Coax (EoC) is a type of extender that utilizes technologies that supports the transmission of Ethernet over the coaxial cable.
- Power over Ethernet (PoE) Extender has the ability to extend the 100-meter distance limitation for standard Ethernet to up to 3,300 feet. PoE Extenders utilize the existing copper twisted-pair cabling to deliver electrical power over the same network connection as the Ethernet data transmission. It also allows the monitoring of the operation status of the network.
- Wi-Fi Extender connects to the existing Wi-Fi network and subsequently duplicates and rebroadcasts the network. The extended signal increases the range of the signals to cover more area.
- Industrial Ethernet Extenders are specifically designed for industry-specific environments that may include harsh and rugged settings. They also offer IP protection with an extended temperature range.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE SELECTION OF ETHERNET EXTENDERS
Before the selection of Ethernet extenders, there are some points that should be followed to ensure the compliance of the system with the existing infrastructure. The following points lay out some of the considerations;
It is one of the main components of the selection criteria before we can select the extender. If the bandwidth of the network is high the extension of the network would be shorter and vice versa.
The cabling of the network should be determined given the existing infrastructure of the network. Also, the Ethernet extender device should be compatible with the cabling.
The operating conditions of the environment in which the extender would be used shall be determined and factors such as shock, vibration, temperature, humidity, etc. should be taken into account. If the environment demands are such then hardened and rugged Ethernet extenders should be adopted.
COMPATIBILITY AND EXISTING INSTALLATION SECURITY
It should be ensured that the Ethernet extenders are compatible with the existing infrastructure and offer ease of installation without any compromise on the security of the network.
Ethernet extenders are used in extending an existing network to increase its range which is limited to 100 meters. They are easy to employ and offer a cheap and convenient solution for the integration of networks. Ethernet extenders eliminate additional costs accompanied by the upgradation of network infrastructure and provide easy integration. It has different types depending on the cabling and networking systems.