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Old April 16th, 2018, 08:27 AM   #16
cardosocea
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I would go with fibre any day of the week... in fact, I'm planning that right now.

I would not terminate the fibres directly onto the device they'll be connected to. Instead, I'd terminate them in a box near the end receiver and install a patch cable from there to the receiver. Should that particular connector type disappear, the patch will be easier to replace than mess with the fibres.

Run a lot of spares... These will be used up for both new additions or replacing bad cores.

The good thing with fibre is that it will also support plenty of protocols... sure we're talking about Ethernet now, but what if for some reason you need a profibus or something like that? fibres will do. (I know the likelihood of that happening are 0.001%, just making a point).

The fibre converters are useful... but bear in mind the application you're using them on. For the majority of applications it will be fine, but for some it will be less than ideal.

Also, it wouldn't surprise me if copper would become second choice for remote IO compared to fibre. I'm looking at installing field IO now and it's going to suck having a switch or converter just so that fibre can go into copper for the IO module. Also, I'm fairly sure it will be simpler to certify optical cable comms for Ex environments... which could be helpful in that transition.
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Old April 16th, 2018, 09:47 AM   #17
mbartoli
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I will throw my hat in for fiber as well. We have large campuses where the concentration of PLC hardware is spread out over a large area simply out of the range of copper (>300 ft.), and a lot of it in or near hazardous locations. Our control rooms for hazardous operations are 3-5 miles away. We use multimode fiber and Ethernet through Cisco managed switches for the close clusters, and single mode for the long haul backbones. As others have said, run plenty of spares; easier and cheaper to implement initially than to add later, and you always seem to find a reason that you need more.
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Old April 16th, 2018, 12:22 PM   #18
Pete.S.
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Fiber for sure, it's used everyday for industrial use. But don't run multimode for new installations. Just use singlemode for everything. It better and not more expensive these days.

Always terminate the fiber in a fiber patch panel. Either rail, wall or rack mounted. Then run a small fiber patch cable from the fiber patch panel to a media converter or to a SFP on a switch to transform the fiber into copper. Some switches have fiber directly on the switch but I would advice against it. It's not future proof.
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