Single Pair Ethernet, the future of connectivity

Harting’s Ethernet communications expert, Matthias Fritsche, and global product manager, Marian Duemke, introduce readers to the benefits of Single Pair Ethernet 

Previously, industrial Ethernet could only reach the control level before it needed to switch to bus systems via gateways. Single Pair Ethernet (SPE), delivered via Harting’s T1 industrial interface, lets field devices connect directly to the Ethernet network.

SPE technology is fast, space-saving, cost-efficient and ready to implement in integrated industrial and IIoT applications. To discover more about the T1 industrial interfaces and SPE, Electronics Sourcing quizzed, Harting’s Ethernet communications expert Matthias Fritsche and global product manager Marian Duemke.

Harting’s global product manager, Marian Duemke

Q: What is the idea behind Single Pair Ethernet?

A: Matthias Fritsche: “SPE is about conveying the Ethernet protocol with another physical layer using only a single pair of wires. So just as one is currently using four-pair copper cables, fibre-optic cables or radio today, SPE is another form of physical layer, designed for communication down to the field level.”


Q: What are the benefits of SPE?

A: Marian Duemke: “SPE means Ethernet interfaces can now be integrated onto simple sensors, cameras, reading/ID devices or similar miniaturised equipment. As a result, there is immense potential in the T1, which can supply both data and power across a single pair of wires in an IEC 63171-6 industrial interface.”


Q: Which markets and industries could benefit from SPE?

A: Marian Duemke: “Within transportation, an Ethernet cable currently weighs approximately 4.6kg per 100m, whereas an SPE cable only 3kg. Over an average train carriage lifetime, each kilogramme of saved weight delivers fiscal savings of around £12,300. If you consider how many carriages the average train has and how many miles of cable are found in the train, it soon becomes apparent how great the savings potentials are.”

Harting’s Ethernet communications expert, Matthias Fritsche

Q: How was the Harting T1 Industrial connector developed?

A: Matthias Fritsche: “For the concept, we examined the trends of recent decades and what the ideal plug connector should look like. To do this, we looked at the pain points of the RJ45. We decided on a pin and socket system as these are already established for many industrial connectors. We also enabled a safe interlock so that shocks and vibrations don’t interrupt the data transmission.


Q: What is the SPE Industrial Partner Network?

A: Marian Duemke: “The SPE Industrial Partner Network is an association of companies working together to promote Single Pair Ethernet technology as the basis for the IIoT. The aim is to offer an SPE ecosystem by not only pooling the knowledge of infrastructure providers, but also by bringing people together on the device side.”


Q: What does SPE’s future look like?

A: Matthias Fritsche: “Companies are starting to understand its benefits and are working on projects already. This has shown us that we are on the right track and that people understand that this is not just some kind of new Ethernet interface. It’s a completely new world that harbours an incredibly great potential.”