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The future of Single Pair Ethernet

An interview with experts from the HARTING Technology Group
HARTING T1 Industrial cabling component
The Single Pair Ethernet connection "Tw1ster".

What is behind Single Pair Ethernet and why will this transmission technology become important in coming years? spoke to Matthias Fritsche, Product Manager Ethernet Connectivity, and Rainer Schmidt, Business Development Manager HARTING EC. The Tw1ster was chosen by the IEC as the industry standard for SPE. What in particular speaks in favour of its mating face?

R. Schmidt:

The big advantage of our solution is a uniform mating face, which we call a data container. It’s used in all versions from the IP20 version to the IP65/67 versions with the well-known M8/12 screw locks and products with PushPull and SnapIn locking. The HF design is also outstanding. We have developed a symmetrical mating face which also has room to grow for higher data rates and as a result is future-proof. Which products will you introduce around SPE in 2019?

M. Fritsche:

As per the mentioned uniform mating face, when it comes to producing products we start with the IP20 variants. We’ll use the Hannover Messe trade show in April of this year to get the topic rolling regarding the angled solder jack and the connector with crimp connection and finished SPE patch cables. As a next step, the first IP65/67 variants in M8/M12 size are planned for the SPS fair. Are lower costs the key to SPE's success?

R. Schmidt:

The potentially lower costs of cabling are certainly desirable, but they’re not the key argument for using SPE. SPE enables the universal use of the TCP/IP protocol right down to the smallest devices, i.e. miniaturisation in the context of Integrated Industry. And that drives the development of new devices and application fields, especially in sensor/actuator networks. The sensor becomes "intelligent", part of the overall network, and reduces the times for parameterisation, initialisation and programming. This is what represents the real user benefits and the cost advantages. SPE allows the simultaneous transmission of data and voltage. This is certainly crucial for IIoT, correct?

M. Fritsche:

Yes, precisely. Similar to PoE, PoDL is a powerful standard for the transmission of supply voltage and data over the same wire pair. This is the decisive advantage for all wireless systems and is the only thing that allows sensors and actuators up to 50W to be operated via SPE and PoDL. How important is the combination with TSN?

R. Schmidt:

TSN, or Time Sensitive Network, is a package of extensions of the IEEE802.1 Ethernet standards for data transmission with very low response time and high availability for real-time audio/video streams and real-time control. SPE in conjunction with TSN is the technology to push forward comprehensively with Ethernet into the field level. Via Ethernet, a continuous connection from the Cloud to the field level is possible with only one technology. What advantages does that offer?

M. Fritsche:

With integrated industrial Ethernet from the Cloud to every sensor, new services become easy to implement. Sensor technology in the Internet of Things is no longer just available to a single application, but rather is used universally. As a result, a temperature value can be used for control but can also be used for condition monitoring in the context of predictive maintenance. Of course, this is only possible with Ethernet - proprietary technologies always require gateways and individual adaptation, which in practice leads to dead ends in terms of communication technology. With Ethernet, this communication platform of Integrated Industry becomes reality, which means that the complexity in the network also decreases. Expenses are reduced for operation and maintenance.

So beginning in 2019, for SPE the user will not only have products available, but also valid standards and guidelines for installation and testing of the components. The HARTING technology partnership provides customers with support in the implementation of SPE and thus real competitive advantages.

M. Fritsche and R. Schmidt
M. Fritsche, Product Manager Ethernet Connectivity (left) & R. Schmidt, Business Development Manager.
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