For decades, ethernet has been an integral component for industrial and commercial communications networks. Until recently, these systems were saddled with inherent limitations that drove up infrastructure costs and kept organizations from taking advantage of tech advances, especially those related to building and industrial automation. Recent advances in single pair ethernet technology have changed the playing field. Future-facing manufacturers and producers are taking advantage of new standards that are already increasing efficiency and productivity.

What Is Single Pair Ethernet?

“Single pair ethernet” is the term used to describe a single, balanced twisted-pair copper cable that delivers both power and data. This technology makes it possible for users to drastically reduce infrastructure investments and to achieve higher data transfer speeds, even across complex networks with large numbers of access points. The latest Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Ethernet standard, IEEE 802.3.cg, allows for 10 Mb/s data transfer speeds and 52 watts of dc power at distances up to 1,000 meters. SPE cables can easily achieve these speeds, and are both lightweight and flexible. SPE may represent a relatively simple advancement, but its effects are game-changing in the world of operational technology.

Why Is Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) Better?

Single Pair Cabling Is Cheaper
Operational technology professionals have welcomed the switch from 4-pair cabling setups to single-pair setups. Not only are expansions to cabling infrastructures more affordable, but SPE cables can be retrofitted into existing facilities. SPE can replace existing wired systems and is typically compatible with terminal block-style connections used by various industrial applications.

Single Pair Cabling Is Easier to Install
Fewer cables overall mean installation jobs are more streamlined and adjustments are easier to make when configurations change. Should a glitch occur, tracking down issues along the data or power grid is less time-consuming.

‌How Does SPE Benefit Industrial IoT Setups?

Real-time sensor data applications benefit from SPE, including building and industrial automation applications. Unlike antiquated ethernet approaches, SPE connects edge devices across shorter distances while linking to computers performing data processing tasks connected to faster networks. When it comes to industrial IoT, speed matters. This is particularly true for the millions of sensors, actuators, and relays used throughout manufacturing facilities around the globe. While individual IoT sensors — such as those that help manufacturers remotely monitor and adjust machinery — often use very little bandwidth, the sheer volume of connected devices impacts bandwidth dramatically. As production needs fluctuate or begin to scale, organizations without sufficient ethernet infrastructure in place will fall behind.

How Does SPE Benefit Building and Industrial Automation?

SPE also benefits automated building technology like lighting and access control, integral processes that companies need to be able to trust to run smoothly at all times, without the expense and time investment of human employees. Single-pair cabling improves performance while reducing costs in everything from robotic devices to calibration systems to audio-visual components.

Intelligent Building Applications

Beyond typical operational technology needs, such as those in manufacturing and production environments, networked devices are starting to play a larger role in office and retail spaces. There are many applications where SPE can be beneficial in these areas. It is an ideal solution for organizations that need to transfer data to digital signage, between security or access point cameras, and throughout small edge computing components. Flexible, interconnected SPE cabling can help these processes run seamlessly. ‌ Within the office environment, SPE can support the many networked devices that need to work together to handle data being sent to and from devices like network printers, cameras, and clocks. Increasingly, sensors are being attached to machines like ovens and thermostats well outside production and manufacturing environments. For example, retailers that carry high-end, perishable products like cigars or fine wine are adopting the same kind of sensor technologies used throughout refrigerated supply chains, which track temperatures as products are moved across various shipping channels.

‌SPE Will Drive the Interconnected Operational Technology Future

As networked environments become the norm across virtually every industry, we can expect to see an uptick in SPE adoption. To stay competitive, manufacturers and producers will need to upgrade to this latest advancement in ethernet technology. Hard-wired infrastructure will empower these companies to move data and power through their facilities at breakneck speeds while maintaining stable, reliable connections. Remee is staying abreast of the SPE trends and adoption of connector standards in order to provide the industry with an appropriate SPE cable solution.

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