From clocks to automobiles, the number of devices and components living on edge nodes, both in products and within autonomous networks, continues to increase. Single-pair Ethernet, or SPE, provides the connection to this final frontier when weight, speed, and the ability to deliver power matter. Remee is proud to offer the ability to extend an Ethernet network by connecting every device and component with lightweight SPE cables for manufacturing and commercial applications.

What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing allows processing to occur in physically logical locations over existing decentralized networks. An edge device connects components such as sensors, chips, computers, and machines to your main network or the cloud, allowing them to perform work on site.

Edge devices such as microcontroller boards and mini PCs perform a limited number of calculations within an edge node. The node may process information from different types of sources.

However, these edge devices and components are generally proprietary and are not interconnected with the main Ethernet network.  SPE now allows users to connect their edge devices to the Ethernet network.

Power needs in an edge node are not as great as those in a more traditional computer network. The TI SensorTag C2650 requires less than .24 mA to run. Small internet-enabled microcontrollers such as the Raspberry Pi only require a five-volt power input.

Edge Devices in the Industrial and Corporate World

Edge computing is part of a larger trend. An increasing number of network-enabled devices exist within offices, products, and manufacturing facilities.

These electronics are part of a broader system, even when not connected to the internet. The computers used to process edge node data may also autonomously control machines in a manufacturing facility or manage fleets of robots while empowering vehicle owners with diagnostic information or backup cameras.

Automated systems exist in many products and industries. Security and service robots work in malls and hotels, while specialized machines manufacture cars, planes, computers, and more. Even smart home products make use of these networks.

How do Manufacturers Complete Their Networks?

Industrial and commercial Ethernet networks provide a consistent and relatively inexpensive way to interconnect systems or devices. The cost is particularly low for manufacturers whose operations include the use of machinery and spaces not well suited for Wi-Fi.

A CAT 5e cable transfers data reliably up to 100 meters. Others reach over 1000 meters. Lower band 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi only transfers data up to 45.7 meters away. However, the average warehouse now spans 25,000 to 50,000 feet and many factories are much larger.

Completing networks requires obtaining enough IP addresses to accommodate a large number of devices. Ethernet is an important way to limit interference in an interconnected world, especially among edge nodes in close proximity.

Benefits of Single-Pair Ethernet

The diversity of wiring solutions used for edge nodes and automation presents a significant challenge for industry. Maintaining systems using disparate wiring products is costly. It may become necessary to rebuild an entire network as discontinued products age.

Single-pair Ethernet promises:

  • Standardization
  • Cabling that is easy to retrofit
  • Speeds of up to 10mbps
  • The provision of up to 52 watts of power

SPE cables that follow the IEEE 802.3 SPE protocols use one pair of wires to transmit data. Single pair cables are flexible, lightweight, and sufficient for most sensors, machines, and networked electronics. Upcoming products from Remee will allow integrators to increase functionality at nominal installation costs.

How Fast Is Single-Pair Ethernet?

Single-pair Ethernet offers speeds up to 10 Mbps, and up to 1,000 meters. Edge nodes, sensors, and IoT devices connected in close proximity often do not require the bandwidth of a server with a larger processor.

Bandwidth needs will grow as microcontrollers and small devices improve. Experts expect to produce cables capable of transferring up to one gigabyte per second soon.

The IEEE is in the process of creating two new standards for single pair wires that will increase their speed and reach. IEC 61156-13 and IEC 61156-14 outline symmetrical cables with transmission at 20 MHZ and lengths of up to one kilometer. Each specification pertains to transfer rates of up to 10 Mbps.

When Should I Use SPE With My Industrial Ethernet?

Manufacturers wishing to benefit from building or industrial automation and real-time sensor data should consider using Single-pair Ethernet. SPE cables connect to edge devices over short distances while computers performing data processing typically connect to faster networks.

Beyond the facility, many automobiles contain single-pair wires. Unshielded cables support audio-visual devices, sensors, and calibration systems. Speeds are high enough to conform to protocols created by the IEEE Time-Sensitive Networking Task Group.

SPE As a Commercial & Industrial Ethernet Solution

There is a growing need to connect networked devices in office and retail environments as well. Transferring data to digital signage, between cameras, and among other small edge components requires flexible cabling, all interconnected on the same network.

A 10 Mbps network is capable of handling many common tasks. You can download and send files to printers, receive data from cameras and clocks, and obtain information from sensors attached to systems that track everyday devices such as ovens or thermostats.

In an industrial environment, there are multiple proprietary interconnects reaching varying distances. It’s important to note that longer distances reduce speed, as do different connection types. Currently, these legacy cables include:

  • Profibus Fieldbus DP at speeds of 9.6 Kbps to 12 Mbps and a maximum distance of 1200 meters
  • Profibus PA Fieldbus at speeds up to 31.25 Kbps and a maximum distance of 19,000 meters
  • DeviceNet Fieldbus at speeds up to 500 Kbps and a maximum distance of 500m
  • CC-Link Fieldbus at speeds up to 10 Mbps and a maximum distance of 100m

Remee plans to enter this physical infrastructure space with new SPE cables to expand their extensive product offering of Activate™ Powered Cabling Solutions, which provides usable bandwidth and low voltage power for extended distances.

This will give integrators the ability to connect different types of systems and edge devices in a single Ethernet network.

Preparing for an Interconnected Future

Networked devices are increasingly common. Edge nodes, products, and automated systems require cables that provide the necessary bandwidth when longer distances between network devices are required. Single-pair Ethernet fills. the gap that has, up until now, existed in Ethernet networks.

Remee plans to release cables with up to 10 Mpbs of data transfer to serve alongside our existing line of audio-visual, fiber optic, and specialty wiring solutions. Read more about how we serve our community with quality products.