Both used techniques have their disadvantages:
For the UTP they are:
- The cable length is limited to 100m
- The cable is thick and can not be hidden easy – always a big cable mess exist
- The quality of the connection can depend on the temperature, humidity, the electromagnetic radiation, etc.
- There are only fixed lengths of cables available of the market – for the home user is difficult to cut the cable and to mount the jack (special crimping tools are needed)
- If connectivity fails – it is difficult to find where exactly the problem is – you have to have always additional replacement cables
- It creates electromagnetic radiation
- Sometimes, when the used devices are from different brands (the router and the WLAN card or USB adapter) is very difficult to build a stable connection
- Even coded and security protected, they are easy to hack – your neighbors can connect to the Internet through your WLAN modem and perform even criminal tasks, leaving you the responsibility.
This technique is based on the use of POF.
POF stands for plastic optical fiber .
The 1mm fiber diameter is about 500 times thicker than a glass optical fiber. 96% of the cores cross section conducts modulated light for data transmission similar to glass optical fiber applications. The maximal transmission distance amounts to about 100m without active repeaters. Polymer fibers are used for high speed data network in homes, commerce and industry as well as in cars and airplanes. POF is often regarded as an optical home network because POF is easy to install. The fiber is thin, can be shortened to the desired length by a sharp knife and requires no connectors on its ends. Anyone can set up a robust, high performance and Ethernet compatible network without any special tools.
Due to its simplicity POF can carry Ethernet, USB, IEEE1394 and other protocols. The latest POF fibers operate at a wavelength of 650nm, are in mass production and offer state of the art network bandwidth. The fiber material is available in two main qualities; Low cost SI-POF with a core diameter of 1mm and a length of 50 to 100m. The 1mm core of GI-POF offers very high data rates combined with long range. The current GI bandwidth is in the range of > 3Gbps at 50m. The attenuation is < 200dB/km and the proposed bending radius is about 25mm. POF is very robust against vibration, EMI, zero radiation (EMC), humidity, provides high isolation, suited for explosive environments and has a wide temperature range. And it is easy to use. In other words the ideal networking media for you.
On the pictures is done comparison between Ethernet cable and POF. It is seen that the POF is thinner and it is easy trace, to hide, to mask, to bind .
- Fast and cheap installation
- The communication is done using visible light, created by LED and it safe for the eyes
- It is resistant against electromagnetic waves, temperature, humidity, chemical reactive substances
- In plus – it does not create radio wave radiation
- It is electrically isolated network – if external routed, can not collect lightnings, can not create short circuit fail
- It has very low weight
- Can be easy mounted inside the walls and panels and simply connected
First – The POF cable of course - the POF is offered in the colors : White, Black, Grey.
Which structure the network will have depends on how many computers will be connected together. The simplest solution is that only one computer must connect to the Internet and a link between the computer and the modem/router must be established. In this case are needed additionally only two Ethernet to POF adapters. Because the mainly used computers do not have their own POF port or card like presented on the picture above (internal PC POF PCI card), as well, the popular modems and routers too, special adapters (dongles) POF-Ethernet must be used.
The POF-Etehrnet adapters require additional supply. They can be supplied directly from a free USB port by special cable, or using AC/DC adapter.
Having all needed parts the building of the network can begin:
The POF cable can be cut at the appropriate length. The presented dongles guarantee a stable problem less connection at distances until 40-45 meter. The cable can be cut using usual sharp knife.
Together with the POF cable can be ordered also a special dedicated cutter.
The dongles must be connected to the PC and the modem through UTP Ethernet cables and supplied. They are automatically recognized by the computer and do not require any driver. What remains now is only to insert the POF cable in the Optolock (Trade name from Firecomms – http://www.firecomms.com ) connector of the dongle. Finally the lock must be pressed.
The only rule is that the lighting end of the POF cable pair must be inserted in the dark hole (the receiver side of the dongle) and pushed softly until the bottom of the socket. The dongles can stay always supplied – they have power saving mode if no connection is detected.
When more nodes must be connected in the network, than an POF optical router/switch is needed. It normally has one Ethernet interface, which connects to the modem/server/router and 4-24 optical interfaces.
The switch can be simply configured, when needed, connecting a PC to its Ethernet port.
From the other side of the connection, the mentioned above dongles should be used.
POF is an excellent solution for multimedia and intelligent home networks. In particular, POF is suitable as network backbones to mutually interconnect TV, set top boxes, NetTV, gaming, PCs, network attached servers (NAS), internet and VoIP. Carrier Networks POF is an attractive solution for telecommunication companies, cable networks and infrastructure providers to offer a completely optical solution (Vertical installations GOF (glass optical fiber), Horizontal (floor level) POF).
When the POF cables are inserted in the walls, another elegant solution proposed by the company Casacom ( http://www.casacom.ch ) can be used – All internal links embedded inside the walls are performed by POF. The optical cables connect to a small router sized as standard wall socket, having external Ethernet connectors, which can connect directly with the PC.
Dongles, switches, POF cable can be ordered on the e-mail address:
firstname.lastname@example.org . Additional information can be found at http://www.innodul.com
Dongles, switches for home and office use and wall mount modules can be ordered also at the internet site of casacom : http://www.casacom.ch or e-mail address : email@example.com .
When companies are interested in their own POF modules design, they can order the necessary chips at the Innodul website. The “Optolock” optical transceiver is unique product and can be ordered at Firecomms (http://www.firecomms.com).
Finally I want to present another unusual application of the POF cable. It can be used for very beautiful lighting decorations and effects (see the pictures).
P.S. I am receiving a lot of mails and comments. I can not answer all of them. I want to resume my answers:
I do not claim that the POF is the best universal solution. It is new technology in development. Not many companies are involved in the project. They are mainly Swiss, making the development, some placed in China, making the devices and the cable, and the only one producing the optical transceivers is Firecomms (Ireland).Some of the speeds reported in the text are reached in laboratory conditions. Currently the dongles work at speeds of 200Mbits/s. and distances to 50m. This shall be enough for home appliances. I hope that in the fist half of 2013 devices with speeds of 1Gbits/s will be available. I hope also that soon a dongles with USB2 and USB3 interfaces (instead Ethernet) will be available. I expect that internal PCI-E cards with optical interfaces will appear as replacement of the dongles.
I wrote this instructable with the purpose to present another alternative (not full replacement of the existing techniques) for the home user to build their PC networks in the easiest and health friendlily manner. Nowadays the increased radio field strength can be reason for lot of diseases (cancer, migraine, leukemia...). WLAN is nothing else as additional radiation, independently how small the power is, but in combination with all the other electronic devices (GSM, DECT, Microwaves...) it increases the normal electromagnetic field strength, sometimes to dangerous values.
The presented decorations are pure DIY - they can not be purchased. You can buy the POF cable, to strip it and everything else lies on your fantasy and creativity.
About the costs of the devices and cable - please, do not ask me - I do not know the prices. Use the e-mail addresses above to require them.
P.P.S Now the dongles can be ordered at Conrad : http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/product/409984/Conrad-POF-Heim-Netzwerkkabel-Starter-Kit-20-m?ref=searchDetail or here: http://www.conrad.ch/ce/de/product/987082/