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Optical data transmission: 100Mb/s Ethernet at the speed of light

12 July 2015

When a cabled data network is too expensive or simply not feasible, then wireless is an alternative. However, if line-of-sight is possible then an optical system can offer more reliable and secure connections over longer distances.

Pepperl+Fuchs' optical data transmission units use a combination of modulated laser and infra-red light to pass data seamlessly between themselves at distances of up to 300m.

Configuration of the units is unnecessary beyond the connection and alignment of the units. The devices are protocol independent and transparent to the network, allowing up to 100Mbits/s of data to be transferred via any protocol including Ethernet/IP, ProfiNet, Fast Ethernet, Powerlink and EtherCAT.

A typical application for this technology is in Automated Storage & Retrieval Systems in high bay warehouses where it is well proven.  Yet demands on technology are always increasing, and so the latest LS682 units offer faster speeds, greater distances and easier set up.

Faster data speeds (especially consistently fast data) open up new application possibilities such as:

- Transfer of video signals for remote inspection
- Visually supported remote maintenance or diagnosis
- Transfer of large amounts of plant data

The LS682 units have the additional option of increased ranges of up to 300m, and so simplifying the alignment process over such a long distance during installation was a key design priority. To this end the signal strength is displayed on both devices, meaning only one person is needed to quickly align a pair of data couplers, saving time and expense during commissioning.

Watch an application video here.

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