Fiber optic cable is increasingly used to extend USB signals, including SuperSpeed (USB 3.0, 3.1), High-Speed (USB 2.0) and Full-Speed (USB 1.1) compliant data and video. The USB specification limits cables to 5 meters (16.5 feet) in length and fiber-based systems provide reliable, zero-latency transmission over several hundred feet.
In addition to increased signal transmission length, USB over fiber extension also provides several other benefits:
- Immunity to RF and electrical (EM) interference
- Immunity to static electricity, surges and lightning strikes
- Signal bandwidth continuity up to and including 10Gbps
- Integrated network signal extension
USB over fiber extenders typically leverage the same standard fiber optic cable and connectors commonly used in network applications, such as duplex multimode OM3 with LC connectors and single mode OS2 with LC connectors.
Application Design Notes:
If possible, verify the USB over fiber extender requirements prior to installation of the cable to ensure the proper fiber and connector formats. Not all models of extenders are compatible with both single mode and multimode fiber, and often the fiber SFP module must be replaced to flip from one format to the other. By default, most extenders ship with duplex multimode SFP modules.
Ensure there is a source of power on both ends of the cable run. USB over fiber extenders require power, whether through an AC outlet or the USB connection, and fiber optic cabling will not transmit power. On the transmit side, host computers are often the source of power.
Many USB over fiber extenders include built-in USB hubs for the connection of multiple simultaneous devices.
USB over fiber extenders are often only compatible with a specific format of USB (SuperSpeed, High-Speed and/or Full-Speed). Always verify the specifications of the devices which will be connected to the USB over fiber extender, as well as the extender’s USB version compatibility.