When TCP/IP networking moves out of the home and office environment and into the real world, the 100-meter range limitation of copper Ethernet cable becomes a problem. The remote sensors along an oil pipeline, for example, are going to require a bit more range than that. Fortunately, there are ways to provide it. With conversion and extension, networks can cover distances that are measured in kilometers rather than meters.
The Ethernet Extender
One easy solution is the Ethernet extender. An Ethernet extender uses DSL technology to extend range up to 1900 meters; or nearly two kilometers. (See Fig 1.) And they’ll work with all sorts of copper wire, which makes them very cost-effective. The labor and cabling involved in a network installation normally represent a significant part of the expense, but Ethernet extenders will make use of any legacy cable that is already in place, like Cat5 cable or even old telephone lines. The savings can be substantial.