Page 75 - 2020 Interconnect Innovations eBook
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SPE supports 10 megabits per second of data transfer over distances up to 1,000 meters using a single-pair cable capable of supporting a variety of endpoints, which are sweet spots for connecting a traditional fieldbus to process analog data. On a grand scale, this provides a more direct and simplified system for large facilities.
3. Less Wiring
Nobody likes a bunch of jumbled wires. SPE eliminates separate wiring for powering devices with a streamlined cable that has just one twisted pair. According to IEEE, it can power a device up to 50 watts while simultaneously transmitting bidirectional data. This efficient and space-saving cabling will significantly reduce the complexity of system design.
4. Smaller Size
In tech, everything is getting smaller. The small form factor of SPE connectors can make scaling sensors and other devices much easier, and the reduced size of connectors and overall weight of cabling can be significant.
SPE’s compact connector design can work with small sensors by applying a two-wire platform. (Traditionally, DC circuits need at least three wires for output). This translates into space savings that can optimize devices in factory and building automation, which is where plug-and-play has the most value.
5. Easier Installation
Fewer switches, less wiring, and smaller components means that installation is easier too. SPE installations can be easily connected to an Ethernet mainframe using simple single-port or multiport applications that can also help save installation space. SPE connections also support PoDL, time-sensitive networking, and OPC Unified Architecture for maximum flexibility and security, even on a time crunch.
What Does This Mean for the Industry?
For decades now, Ethernet technology has been one of the main arteries of industrial digitalization, but connectivity in automation often still comes up against structural barriers. SPE has the potential to overcome these barriers and become a key enabling technology for Industry 4.0.
Endpoint sensor technology is rapidly evolving and the installed cost-to-benefit ratio cannot be supported by current Ethernet standards, particularly for IIoT applications. The next generation of Ethernet connections can use single-pair telecommunications to simultaneously run power and data in parallel. This could revolutionize every industry that needs fast, cheap, and reliable connectivity. And let’s face it — every industry can benefit from that.
Why Hasn’t SPE Already Been Integrated?
If SPE is so great, why isn’t it already the status quo? The answer is simple: Until very recently, there was no Ethernet standard that allowed for two-wire protocols. This gap has since been closed by IEEE 802.3, which continues to expand SPE use cases through working groups and further standardization. In addition, international standards for SPE connectors have been set by IEC 63171 to meet the various requirements of these working groups. IEC 63171- 2 is specifically designed for IP20 components used in industrial control cabinet and building installation, while IEC 63171-5 was designed for IP67 components used in industrial automation and on factory floors. But the -2 and -5 connector variations share a standardized pin pattern to simplify testing and diagnostics regardless of application environment.
Now that a standard exists, PHYs and chipsets can be made to meet that standard and build a whole new ecosystem that extends from sensors and switches on up to the cloud. To help integrate SPE into the industry, a group of technology companies with expertise in areas ranging from cables, connectors, and sensors to switches and chipsets have joined together to form the Single-Pair Ethernet System Alliance.
The alliance was founded to unlock the immense potential of this new technology and support the development of seamless infrastructure. Members are working to ensure that everything from cables and connectors to switches and the programming language communicate according to consistent standards, with the core goal of promoting the use of SPE technology and driving international standardization.

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