Last Updated: April 7, 2021.
In the past, Ethernet helped standardize the connection between servers, printers, computers, and other devices inside a local area network (LAN).
Nowadays, it’s the wired connection between all of your devices, including streaming devices, computers, and gaming consoles.
Unfortunately, Ethernet cables have their limitations, with the standard length being 100 meters, beyond which the signal is lost. If you’re having trouble connecting to a network because of this, there are ways you can extend your Ethernet cable range beyond 100 meters.
With roughly 245 million internet users in the United States alone, many of whom need the fast speeds of a wired connection, it’s no wonder many businesses still use Ethernet connections.
Ethernet can also provide a much more private network than the internet as a whole. Still, to set up a connection in your workspace or office, you might need to extend your Ethernet range beyond the standard 100 meters.
Fiber media converters
Fiber media converters offer support for many different data communication protocols including Ethernet and Fast Ethernet.
Fiber supports fast communication over longer distances than copper wiring and the two can work in tandem.
Fiber media converters extend Ethernet links by converting cables from copper to fiber, then back to copper again. Fiber refracts light which transmits data and allows for a stronger signal in comparison to copper.
Multi-mode fiber has the capability to extend Ethernet by up to 500 meters, and single-mode fiber can extend a link by up to 60 kilometers. Either option can help you to extend your cable range well beyond 100 meters.
Coaxial cable extenders
A coaxial Ethernet range extender can extend an Ethernet connection by up to 1,000 meters using coaxial cabling. It can also provide quality video transmission. Some coaxial extenders can link as many as eight networking devices, making it a popular solution for businesses.
It’s also common to find copper and coaxial cables built into the infrastructure of buildings. This helps make coaxial and Ethernet extenders quite cost-effective, since they can use existing copper lines, avoiding the costly process of rewiring a network.
Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable Ethernet extenders
Depending on the networking units, UTP cables or other types of cabling like telephone cables can help extend the Ethernet range by as much as 2,500 meters. By pairing UTP Ethernet extenders with Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, you can do things like installing internet protocol (IP) cameras in areas that aren’t even wired for electricity.
UTP Ethernet extenders convert Ethernet to DSL and then back again. They follow similar processes to fiber media converters, often working in pairs, or on their own when deployed with a compatible switch.
Wireless Ethernet extension
A Wireless Ethernet extension relies on a “wireless bridge,” which is created using two wireless access points. This option bypasses the need for using long wires that can tangle easily, which means there’s no need to hide them.
The downside is that a wireless Ethernet extension is susceptible to the same interference as other wireless networks, whether from bad weather or obstructions.
For example, the networks on either side of the “bridge” need to be in a line of sight, and there can’t be anything too large or thick between them.
It’s important to remember that the Ethernet was developed for LAN connections, so close links are the norm. Still, in the right circumstances, a wireless Ethernet extension can span a distance of several miles, making them ideal for an industrial environment or for small enterprises.
Cellular extensions work in a similar way to wireless Ethernet extensions; however, unlike a wireless bridge, the cellular extension makes use of a whole network of cell towers in order to transmit signals. Because of this, cellular extensions don’t need the same line of sight that wireless bridges do.
All told, this means that a cellular extension can bring access to the LAN to just about anywhere that receives cell phone service. Using these, you can help your employees access the network from virtually anywhere. A whole range of devices, including everything from networking equipment to ATMs and water meters, use cellular routers for their connection.
If you’re looking to bypass the limitations of the regular Ethernet cable range, you have a few options to choose from. Each has its strong points, and its limitations, so determining which is the right choice for you will come down to where your network is located and what you need to be able to do with the connection.
While many network connections these days are wireless, whether because of concerns around speed or security, wired connections can still play an important role in connecting devices to your network.