Molex to preview single pair ethernet offerings

9th November 2022
Beth Floyd

Molex, a connectivity innovator, has announced Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) technology as a new offering in its future product portfolio.

Molex will preview the offering at the Smart Production Solutions (SPS) 2022 Showcase in Nuremberg, Germany on the 8th to 10th November.

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

Current IIoT networks are often incomplete, containing 'islands' of devices connected only indirectly through bespoke, analogue or proprietary gateways. SPE delivers Internet connectivity and power directly to essential devices, eliminating the need for fieldbus configurations. Open IP protocol through SPE enables industrial operations to bridge the gap between the cloud and remote systems.

Certified for high speed in long cable lengths

SPE 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) -- with an output of up to 50W.

This latest evolution of Ethernet technology is transforming data accessibility and device control for intelligent industrial applications. Compliant SPE solutions include connectivity for IP20 and IP67 ratings.

The future product releases will meet Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards for up to 1km of cable length. SPE can achieve 10 Mbps per IEEE 802.3cg, 1Gbps per IEEE 802.3bw. Molex plans to reach 10Gbps for a newly developed standard IEEE 802.3ch. It is expected that SPE use in these categories can replace almost all existing fieldbus types.

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. 

A smaller, lightweight design for Industry 4.0

“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.”

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 product design features slimmer cables and compact connectors to fit cabling into tight spaces and rugged exteriors for long-term survivability in factory conditions.

Forging SPE technology and adoption

The new standardised 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 the ecosystem, Molex has helped develop SPE with an eye on widespread adoption.

All members have committed to following interoperable standards, including using a standardised mating face under IEC 63171-6/-7. Thanks to the combination of excellent performance and standardisation, 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.

Smart Production Solutions 2022

Molex will be joining other industrial automation leaders at SPS 2022 in Nuremberg, Germany, 8th to 10th November, Hall 10.0, #110.

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