Fiber-optic-ready EtherCAT modules

To provide optimum wiring flexibility for Industrial Ethernet applications, Beckhoff Automation released two EtherCAT modules for fiber-optic cabling—the EK1501 EtherCAT coupler and EK1521 junction terminal. The modules enable long distance networking up to 1.24 miles (2 km), as described in a September 2008 Control Engineering print edition product exclusive. In addition....


To provide optimum wiring flexibility for Industrial Ethernet applications, Beckhoff Automation released two EtherCAT modules for fiber-optic cabling—the EK1501 EtherCAT coupler and EK1521 junction terminal.

Beckhoff Automation's EtherCAT coupler and junction terminal allows extremely long-distance networking.

With the new fiber-optic EtherCAT modules, Beckhoff says extremely long distance networking up to 2 km (1.24 miles) is now possible using the 100BASE-FX standard. (Standard 100BASE-TX Ethernet cabling limits the maximum distance between EtherCAT I/O stations to 100 m, or 328 feet.)

The modules are said to be ideal for widely distributed systems, such as wind farms or high tension systems. Even cable-redundant systems with fiber-optics can be realized using the EtherCAT branch.

The company’s EtherCAT I/O terminal system is said to support all common wiring topologies: line, ring, tree and star. This flexibility is further enhanced with the ability to select different cable types.

Use of glass fiber technology is said to give users more flexibility. The EK1501 fiber-optic coupler connects EtherCAT to any number of EtherCAT I/O terminals via SC duplex sockets. Users can connect an additional fiber-optic module via a second port without an additional switch. The company says its fiber-optic interface enables conversion of the EtherCAT protocol to multimode glass fiber technology within a terminal line.

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