Using Fiber Media Converters with HAL1x’s Expansion Bus

TP-Link MC200CM

To exceed 100 meters (300 feet) distances between daisy-chained (yes, daisy-chained) EXP devices, you need an unmanaged, Gigabit Media Converter – either single-mode or multimode. The data pulsing through Rane’s Expansion Bus is not IP (Internet Protocol) and contains no MAC Addresses. Thus, you cannot connect it to an Ethernet network in any way. No Ethernet switches allowed. You must have a dedicated connection from the HAL1x to all subsequent EXP devices – up to 32 EXPs maximum.

Here is a very simple and inexpensive multimode fiber media converter we found on Amazon. The maker is TP-Link. Model number MC200CM. You need two of these – one at each end, of course. Plus the cable. We bought the blue cable, although, we’ve heard that the green cable sounds better? You’ll have to judge for yourself. Often terminating the cable is the biggest challenge – a favorite task for IT folks.

TP-LINK MC200CM Gigabit Media Converter

TP-LINK MC200CM Gigabit Media Converter

We’ve also successfully tested the Startech MCMGBSC055 which works great.

We do NOT recommend the Trend Net TFC-1000MGA – it does not work with our bus. This is where the “unmanaged” requirement fits in. If the device tries to inspect “Ethernet” packets to, for example, keep track of MAC Addresses that come and go, this is not compatible with Rane’s Expansion Bus. Our bus contains no MAC Addresses and no IP Addresses, nothing. Some but not all Managed converters allow you to turn off such packet inspections. If you’re working with IT networking folks, make this unmanaged requirement clear to them to avoid speed bumps on the Expansion Bus.