FIber Connection to remote site with UC500

Unanswered Question
Apr 27th, 2010

I currently have a UC520 in a home office with 3 phones and desktops connected to it. But I also have an office in a shop at the other end of the property, around 700 feet away.

We have had a Cat5 ethernet cable linking the 2 sites for the past few years, with a switch in the middle (around 300ft) and a switch at the top. At the top office there hs been 1 cisco phone and 1 desktop. This has worked ok, the network speed is not super fast and there are some lost packets, but overall the connection is has been ok and no problems.

But now we are adding a 2nd desktop and Cisco ip-phone to the top, when I do this the connection dies. So I think we need a better solution to linking the 2 sites together now. We might be adding a 3rd phone and desktop at the top soon as well.

I was thinking that a fiber optic connection might be best, since the distance is well within the fiber 1800ft limit or whatever it is. So with a fiber line there would be no need for the switch in the middle. But the switch at the top is just a Linksys WRT54GL router. The UC520 has an empty expansion bay, so I think you can buy a fiber optic module for that? I'm finding it hard to get more info on this, I have no idea what i need to buy. And the linksys router at the top will have to be replaces I presume, since there is no way to extend fiber capability to it. We have a spare Cisco Catalyst Express 500 swtich we could use, but it appears to not have an expansion slot. I have seen some external standalone ethernet to fiber convertors though, maybe one of those could be used on the top end, or on both ends?

Anyway any help or advice would be excellent.

I have this problem too.
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Brikers12 Tue, 04/27/2010 - 11:32

We actualy already own 2 Patton Coperlink 2168 and could never get them working well. The speed was always VERY slow for some reason. The normal ethernet with a swtich in the middle up until now offered much faster connection speeds.

With the Patton extenders I only get 1.2Mbps, with ethernet I can get between 8-10Mbps.

But I can't get the ethernet to work at all anymore, ever since I tried to connect a 2nd cisco phone at the top. I have unplugged the phone and restarted all the network devices but the connection is still bad, very few packets get through. I have no idea why its not working now, was working for over a year just fine.

aaronc123 Tue, 04/27/2010 - 12:01

Well, you might have a damaged cable ... it does see odd for it to suddenly stop working.

You might consider a wireless bridge as well.

I think that anything you go with is going to be external given then parts that you have to work with.

Brikers12 Tue, 04/27/2010 - 13:31

I thought there might be something physicaly wrong with the cat5 cable, but it would be a weird coincidence that it happens right when I start tinkering with the network. Since i'm unable to get the ethernet setup I had working for almost 2 years working right now, I switched to using the Patton extenders. I have the link working with them, ata  stable 1.66 MBS.

Before we ran the ethernet cable we tried todo wireless, many years ago. The property is on a hill, with the top being higher than the bottom and there are several other structures and trees in the way.

So i guess your saying that the expansion slot in the UC520 can't accomodate any fiber optic module? Have you tried an ethernet to fiber extender, kinda like the patton copperlinks?

We actualy already have fiber cable, a huge spool from a government auction. We would hire someone to make the ends though.

David Trad Tue, 04/27/2010 - 15:58

Hi Trevor,

For starters you are running to long of a cable for what the cable was intended for, even with the Patterson in the middle the service will not be as stable as you would like to be.

If you want to run fibre between the two sites, then Single Mode Fibre is your better option, although Multimode could be used it is not what you want for a run like yours.

However to run Fibre you will need a fibre switch at both ends and the one where the UC500 is will need to be able to interface with the UC, this is not a problem as any Cisco switch can do this that is capable of fibre channels, although this is all dependant on your budget, Linksys have a range of switches that can run fibre and might be suitable for your needs.

Wireless is an option depending on the location of the trees, although at that distance I wouldnt expect anything above 24Mbps, the elevation is not an issue as you will use a Point-to-Point antenna, it might pay to get some one local to do a wireless inspection for you, some people/organizations do free quotes, this will give you a good indication of what you can expect out of a wireless link. Keep in mind that Wireless has progressed a distance in the last 2 years, probably a lot from when you last looked into it.

Can i ask what is your tottal Cat5E cable run? No injectors in between, just the full cable length.



Brikers12 Tue, 04/27/2010 - 18:28

Thanks for the reply. Can you recommend some of the Cisco switches that would be compatable?

The ethernet length is around 700 ft. But at 300 ft there is a break in the line where there was a switch, currently I have the 2 lines joined together with a simple female-female jack. And have the patton copperlink ethernet extenders at either end.

We actualy have a large outdoor antenna on the room of the top office already. And I can get a signal with my laptop at certain spots around the lower office. But the lower office doens't have any outdoor antenna currently, we did try a cantenna setup, but it never worked well. The wireless network currently is just using cheap linksys wireless routers as well.

aaronc123 Tue, 04/27/2010 - 19:06

For the wirelss connection, you'd want to look at a bridge:

I'd look at a pair of AIR-BR1310G-A-K9 ...

On the switch side, I've had good luck with the SRW208G it has a SFP slot for fiber. I've never used that part, but I'd imagine that it would be fine.

Moving up the food chain, you could use the ESW-520-8P-K9 . It could be managed by CCA, etc ...

All good options to explore ...

David Trad Tue, 04/27/2010 - 20:57

Hi Trevor,

Aaron has provided you with the same options I would have recommended.

Cantenna's are only as good as the material being used, I have had good success with them and really woeful success with them, but then again I am not all that handing with building things :D

As for the outdoor antenna I would look for something that resembles this "2.4GHz 100W  18dBi Directional High Gain 18-Unit Antenna for Wifi/Wireless Network  (SMA)" I would post the link to the one I purchases to do a 1.1KM bridge from my house to a friends house so we could game with each other, but since it is a Non Cisco product, it would be disrespectful of me to do so.

[EDIT] The above recommendation could be illegal in our region, so please look into this before installing anything :)

But do look at Aaron's recommendations, i think this would be a cost effective way of doing things.



(PS) The weak link with your cable run is the Female-Female Adapter, you will most likely have a fair bit of loss generating from it, and you might even have some NEXT issues with that adapter (Unless it was shielded).

Brikers12 Tue, 04/27/2010 - 21:32

Thanks for the replies, they have been very helpful! I'm still leaning towards a wired solution over wireless though. Its just kind of annoying that I have to buy 2 switches. The bottom switch will only have 1 port in use, wish I could just have an expansion module on the UC520.

What is the empty pay above the POE ports on the UC520 for if not expansion modules?

With both the switches were linked, would a fiber optic module need to be purchased seperatly, or do they come with that funcitonality out-of-the-box?

The SRW208G is definalt appealing for its price, but it would be nice to manage everything from CCA. With Cisco ip-phones in mind is there any disadvantage besides the CCA control to going with the cheaper switch? Like better QOS for voice networks or something?

I don't think the cat4 female-female is having any big impact, I tested the connection speed and packet losss before and after the connector and there was no difference.

David Hornstein Tue, 04/27/2010 - 23:06

Gidday Trevor,

I think I have a similar setup at home.  I have a UC520, but have connected a SRW2008P copper port 6 to the expansion bay of the UC520.

I then used a MBGSX1  SFP module in the SRW2008P switch to extend fiber to a remote ESW540-24P  switch.

I used a MGBSX1 module in my remote ESW540-24P switch.

I made sure the SRW2008P  was tagged for VLAN100 and untagged for VLAN1 on all ports.  Didn't worry about QOS in the SRW2008, because voice comms was great anyway.  By using the SRW2008P switch for fiber concentration, what I really have is a cheap managed fiber to copper  'media converter'

please note the limitation on MM fiber at gig speed is around 220Meters using 62.5/125um  or around 500meters using 50/125um fiber.  So at 700 feet you are getting close  to that distance limitation if you have 62.6/125um fiber in house.

regards Dave

padraic.murphy Fri, 04/30/2010 - 10:02

The MC100FX-SC Series equips with one 100FX fiber port and one 10/100TX copper port for speed and media conversion. The MC100FX-SC2-A features the built-in SC type connector and multi-mode fiber transceiver module that are capable of extending network for span up to 2 km.The MC100FX-SC Series media converter can identify and retain 802.1Q VLAN packets to ensure that Virtual LANs (VLANs) operation across the media converter.With Auto-negotiation, the 10/100TX copper port can synchronize transmission speed and mode with peer devices. In addition, Auto-crossover on 10/100TX copper port eliminates circuit mismatch problem by auto-sensing the MDI/MDIX function; both features make installation easier to complete. Meanwhile, multiple configurations can be done via DIP switches to give users more management capability for better control over the devices.With the Link Fault Signaling (LFS) mechanism, one failed link detected on the 10/100 copper port will force to stop a link on the fiber port, and vice versa. The copper downlink port will stop transmitting and turned off as soon as the remote link is failed, and the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) of the connected switch will start functioning as a result to activate the backup link that secure the network operation. Transparent link status is delivered by LFS mechanism to make network recovery and troubleshooting easier and faster.

Product Description

ZyXEL MC100FX-SC2-A - media converter

Device Type

Media converter

Enclosure Type


Dimensions (WxDxH)

7.4 cm x 11 cm x 2.3 cm


160 g

Cabling Type

10Base-T, 100Base-FX, 100Base-TX

Data Transfer Rate

100 Mbps

Optical Wave Length

1310 nm

Data Link Protocol

Ethernet, Fast Ethernet

Max Transfer Distance

2 km


Flow control, auto-negotiation, VLAN support, auto-uplink (auto MDI/MDI-X), Link Fault Signaling (LFS)

Compliant Standards

IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.1Q, IEEE 802.3x , CE, CE-LVD, EMC, FCC Part 15 A

using 50/125um fiber with the above equipment will give you 100 MB up to 500 Metres you must terminate the fibre cable using SC Pigtails as they will plug inot the media convertor without having to buy a patch panel but you must be very carefull not to damaged the fibre

The media convertors will cosy arounf €70.00 ea you wil need 2 on at each end. 100 Mbps is sufficiant speed to do what you need


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