Advanced Features

If someone tells you media conversion is a commodity product that anyone can bring to market, they probably haven't looked at the extensive product suite offered by Transition Networks. With the industry's most comprehensive offering of full-featured products, Transition's media converters stand out as "the choice" among industry IT professionals.

Generally, media converters are low-level OSI model devices with no IP or MAC addresses and therefore are transparent to the network. This "transparency" makes them very inexpensive and easy to use, but also can make troubleshooting the network very difficult. In an effort to overcome this difficulty and to make media converters "visible" to network managers, Transition has designed their full-featured products to include the most advanced features on the market today, including:

Auto-Negotiation (802.3u) (back to top)
Auto-Negotiation allows devices to perform automatic configuration to achieve the best possible mode of operation over a link. Devices with this feature will broadcast their speed (10Mbps, 100Mbps, etc.) and duplex (half/full) capabilities to other devices and negotiate the best mode of operation between the two devices.

  • No user intervention required to determine best mode of operation
  • Optimal link established automatically
  • Quick and easy installation

While the inclusion of this feature is beneficial, the ability to disable it is equally beneficial. In the event of a non-negotiating end device trying to connect to a negotiating device, the mode of operation will drop to the least common denominator between the two devices (i.e. 100Mbps, half-duplex). Disabling this feature gives the user the ability to force the connection to the best mode of operation when trying to link with a non-negotiating device. Most Transition converters with Auto-Negotiation will allow you to disable this feature.

View Auto-Negotiation Flash Animation
View Parallel Detection Flash Animation

AutoCross™ (back to top)
Automatically detects and configures the twisted pair port on the converter to the correct MDI or MDI-X configuration.

  • Eliminates an entire category of troubleshooting
  • No need to identify cable type; straight-through or crossover
  • No user intervention required to determine correct button / switch settings

View Flash Animation

Far End Fault (802.3u) (back to top)
Far End Fault (FEF) is a troubleshooting feature that is generally used in conjunction with Link Pass Through to notify both end devices of a loss of link. In the event of a loss of the fiber RX signal on the far end converter the converter will automatically generate a Far End Fault signal and send it on its TX fiber port to notify the near end converter of a fiber link loss. Link Pass Through will then disable the copper links on both ends; alerting both end devices of network trouble.
(see diagram below)

  • Both end devices automatically notified of link loss
  • Prevents loss of valuable data unknowingly transmitted over invalid link
  • Allows for quick diagnosis and resolution of network problems

Transition Networks media converters that include the FEF feature do not need to be used as pictured above as they will work with other network devices that support Far End Fault per IEEE standards.

View Flash Animation

Link Pass Through (back to top)
Link Pass Through is a troubleshooting feature that allows the media converter to monitor both the fiber and copper RX ports for loss of signal. In the event of a loss of RX signal on one media port, the converter will automatically disable the TX signal of the other media port, thus "passing through" the link loss. (see diagram below)

  • End device automatically notified of link loss
  • Prevents loss of valuable data unknowingly transmitted over invalid link
View Flash Animation

Transparent Link Pass Through (back to top)
Transparent Link Pass Through will notify an end device of a link failure just like Link Pass Through. However, it uses a different method for "passing through" this information. Transparent Link Pass Through sends a link-loss signal over the fiber; instructing the remote converter to shut down the copper port thus notifying the end device, while maintaining the fiber link between the two converters. (see diagram below)

  • End device automatically notified of link loss
  • Fiber link remains up as it carries a link-loss signal

Automatic Link Restoration (back to top)
Transition Networks's converters will automatically re-establish link in all network conditions.

  • No need to reset devices
    Transition Networks's converters will automatically re-establish link when connected to switches if link was lost. With other manufacturers' converters the user must reset the converter to re-establish the link.
  • Auto-Negotiation Enabled
    Automatic Link Restoration allows the users to continue using Auto-Negotiation with Link Loss Notification features. With other manufacturers' converters the user must disable Auto-Negotiation and hard set the link.
  • Link Pass Through Activated in both directions
    Automatic Link Restoration on Transition Networks's products allows users to continue using Link Loss Notification feature activated in both directions. Many competitive solutions allow for Link Loss Notification activation only in one direction. If Link Loss feature is activated in both directions, competitive products are put in a "deadly embrace" and they cannot restore the link without resetting the converters.

Pause (back to top)
PAUSE signaling is an IEEE feature that is used to temporarily suspend data transmission between two devices in the event that one of the devices becomes overwhelmed. In the event that a device needs some time to clear network congestion, it will send out a PAUSE signal to the other end device, which will then wait a pre-determined amount of time before re-transmitting the data. Transition's converters will pass PAUSE signaling unhindered; ensuring that the message is delivered to the end device.

  • PAUSE enabled devices allowed to work properly
  • Prevents loss of valuable data transmission
  • Reduces bottlenecks and allows for efficient use of network devices

PAUSE signaling is not standardized over fiber media. Transition's media converters will communicate this signaling over fiber between the converters to pass this signaling on to the other end device.

Remote Management (back to top)
All chassis-based converters from Transition Networks, Inc. reg can be managed through SNMP. Now, select stand-alone products can also be managed through SNMP when used in conjunction with a chassis based converter. While chassis based products are generally placed in the telecommunications room, stand-alone converters are generally placed in remote locations away from network administrators. Remote in-band management over fiber allows administrators access to the remote device to check status and enable/disable features or the device itself.

  • Visibility of remote converters for network administrators
  • Allows for centralized management of media converters

Loopback (back to top)
Select Transition Networks products are equipped with Loopback. This feature puts a converter in a special mode that enables the device to loop back the signal from the RX port to the TX port on either media for testing and troubleshooting purposes. Test signals from a tester (Firebird, etc.) can then be inserted into the link and looped back as received by a device to test a particular segment of the link (i.e. copper or fiber). Loopback can be either local or remote depending on the location of the converter in the link.

  • Allows network diagnostics from local or remote location
  • Quickly pinpoints problem areas of end to end link by testing a particular segment
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Some converters have separate copper and fiber loopback functions that can be enabled separately, while others will loopback both copper and fiber at the same time when enabled. Please refer to the specific product page for details.

Bandwidth Allocation (back to top)
Bandwidth allocation is an important feature found on select converters which allows network administrators to set the bandwidth of the converter in 64KB increments via SNMP management. The bandwidth can be allocated in any multiple of 64KB from 0Kb up to the full bandwidth capability of the media converter and can be entered in either KB or Mb values.

  • Effectively manage bandwidth usage in the network to support critical processes or activities
  • Provide only the contracted amount of bandwidth to paying customers
  • Provide only the bandwidth necessary to end users
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Field Upgradeable Firmware (back to top)
New product features are continuously being added to Transition Networks's products. These improvements are also available for many products already installed in the field. Management modules and many media converters can be updated remotely via firmware upgrade. The remote upgrade feature eliminates the need to ship the products back to the manufacturer. The firmware upgrades can be performed by a user either locally via a Console port or remotely via TFTP.

The upgrades do not require the reconfiguration of the SNMP management or converter feature settings.

Source Address Change (back to top)
Select bridging media converters are capable of detecting and reporting changes in the MAC (Ethernet hardware) address of the attached equipment. This feature is very useful when administrators intend that only a particular physical device be attached to a particular port.

When the MAC address of a connected device changes (new device is inserted) the administrator receives the trap with the notification of a change.

Last Gasp (back to top)
Select Transition Networks products are equipped with Last Gasp. This feature enables the device to store a small amount of power to enable it to send out an SNMP trap to alert the management console in the event of a power failure.

  • Notification of an impending power loss before it happens
  • Allows for quicker resolution of the power loss

Single Fiber Technology (back to top)
Single fiber technology offers a 50% savings in fiber utilization. It is an attractive solution to maximize the usage of a limited number of fiber runs.

In a traditional optical link, a fiber pair consists of two uni-directional strands. The single fiber technology multiplexes two optical wavelengths of 1310nm and 1550nm into a single strand fiber. In a single fiber media converter each wavelength is responsible for either the transmit or receive function. Consequently, the bi-directional transmission is achieved by using a single strand. The converters in a single fiber scenario "match" each other's wavelengths. Converter A transmits at the wavelength of 1310nm and receives at 1550nm while the other converter transmits at 1550nm and receives at 1310nm. Therefore, converters are usually used in pairs.

Single fiber technology is available on all Transition Networks Media Converters in maximum distance ranges from 20 to 80km.