Molex previews Single Pair Ethernet product offerings

Nov. 8, 2022
As a premium member of the SPE Industrial Partner Network ecosystem, a consortium of over 50 networking companies, Molex has helped develop SPE technology with an eye on widespread adoption.

Molex has announced Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) technology as a new offering in its future product portfolio and is previewing its forthcoming SPED products at the Smart Production Solutions 2022 (SPS 2022) showcase in Nuremberg, Germany from November 8-10.

The company notes that SPE technology's higher data rates on long cable runs eliminate transmission bottlenecks in field-level network operations and industrial internet of things (IIoT) infrastructure. The single pair cable connection solution on display goes beyond conventional Ethernet capabilities to expand IP connectivity in automated factory settings.

The manufacturer noted that current IIoT networks are often incomplete, containing "islands" of devices connected only indirectly through bespoke analog or proprietary gateways. In contrast, SPE delivers Internet connectivity and power directly to essential devices, eliminating the need for fieldbus configurations.

Meanwhile, open IP protocol support through SPE enables industrial operations to bridge the gap between the cloud and remote systems.

Certified high speeds in long cable lengths

SPE technology delivers Ethernet transmission via a single copper-cable pair. In addition to data transmission, it also supports the simultaneous power supply of the end devices through Power over Data Line (PoDL) -- similar to Ethernet-over-Line (EoL) -- technology with an output of up to 50 W. As the latest evolution of Ethernet technology, Molex notes that SPE is transforming data accessibility and device control for intelligent industrial applications. Compliant SPE solutions include connectivity for IP20 and IP67 ratings.

The company said its future SPE product releases will meet IEEE standards for up to 1 kilometer of cable length. SPE can achieve 10 Mbps per IEEE 802.3cg, 1 Gbps per IEEE 802.3bw. Molex also plans to reach 10 Gbps for a newly developed standard IEEE 802.3ch. It is expected that SPE use in these categories can replace almost all existing fieldbus types.

The manufacturer contends that SPE offers industries faster, easier and less expensive input and output (I/O) installation to reduce new build costs and a clear path of migration from legacy networks. Devices, sensors and actuators can be easily integrated into the existing Ethernet environment without additional interfaces.

Streamlined design for Industry 4.0

As further noted by Molex, in contrast to conventional Ethernet, which requires two or four pairs of wires, SPE only requires one pair, which reduces cost, bulk and weight. The company says its new products' design features slimmer cables and compact connectors to fit cabling into tight spaces and rugged exteriors for long-term survivability in factory conditions.

"The new SPE from Molex has passed the verification and certification stages. This means it will soon be ready for deployment, marking a key milestone in the evolution of industrial IoT," said Mark Schuerman, senior manager of business development in Global Market Segments, Molex. "This product is intended to close connectivity and control gaps in industrial networks, making it essential in the implementation of IIoT strategies, prompting Molex 's commitment to SPE as the new Ethernet model."

SPE technology adoption support

The manufacturer stated that its new standardized Ethernet platform has received support and investment from a wide range of industry leaders via the SPE Industrial Partner Network, a consortium of over 50 networking companies. As a premium member of this group, Molex has helped develop SPE technology with an eye on widespread adoption.

All SPE Industrial Partner Network members have committed to following interoperable standards, including using a standardized mating face under IEC 63171-6/-7.

"Thanks to the combination of excellent performance and standardization, it is expected that SPE can replace almost all fieldbus types, making it the ideal technology to help establish a migration path to Industry 4.0," concluded the company's statement.

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