Single Pair Ethernet accelerates Manufacturing Digitalization

Single Pair Ethernet accelerates Manufacturing Digitalization
Interview with
McKenzie Reed, Technology Manager, Standards Development

Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) is an important building block redefining industrial automation system architecture to achieve integrated digital manufacturing for higher productivity and profits. SPE brings industrial automation into the mainstream of innovative technology leveraging computing and IoT standards.

Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) 10BASE-T1 is a two wire 10 Mbps Ethernet physical layer network technology under the IEEE  802.3cg specification. SPE ethernet-based technology supports multiple protocol transport for established industrial Ethernet protocols including PROFINET, Ethernet/IP, HART-IP and MODBUS TCP/IP. SPE leverages Internet Protocol (IP) communications common in the computing and Internet of Things (IoT) world to communicate data and information throughout enterprise and to cloud applications. This closes the last critical communication gap to achieve complete manufacturing digitalization to be more competitive and profitable.


The SPE two wire design lowers installed cost with over 75­ % smaller cable diameter, reduced weight, lower cost, smaller connector size, and 30 % more bend radius than CAT 5. In this way, SPE is also a very sustainable way to contribute to the sustainability of communication technology with extremely reduced use of raw materials such as copper and plastic.


SPE is an enabler for intelligent field devices including sensors, actuators, vision sensors, robots, controllers, contactors, vibration monitors, and motor drives. These intelligent devices perform control at the edge and communicate non-control operations data including quality measurements, production efficiency, asset monitoring, diagnostics, and predictive maintenance advisories directly to manufacturing operations, business enterprise and cloud systems. System-on-Chip (SoC) technology makes immediate processing in any field device practical due to lower cost with high-performance since they are being used in volume products such as smart phones and personal health trackers.


The Power over Data Line – PoDL (IEEE 802.3bu) standard further improves installation efficiencies supplying power to field devices over the communications wires. The specification includes options for 12, 24, and 48-volt operation; 12 volt is convenient for battery-powered and mobile applications, while 24 volt is a common voltage for control panels and controllers.


The 10BASE-T1S part of the specifications provides collision-free, deterministic Ethernet-based transmission over a multi-drop network without Ethernet switches achieving even greater installation cost savings.


The SPE IEEE802.3 protocol landscape already offers speeds from 10 Mps up to 10 Gps and can use in a wide range of industrial applications up to high definition vision sensors, lidar or laser scanners needed for collaborative robotics or autonomous logistic systems.


IEC 63171-6 is the international standard for Single Pair Ethernet interfaces in industrial applications. The T1 Industrial style mating interface described in the IEC 63171-6 standard was included in standardization by HARTING in 2016 and is now the internationally standardized default interface for SPE networks in M3I3C3E3 environments (industry). IEC 63171-6 (Industrial Style) is a complete standard document with all necessary specifications and test sequences, which is incorporated into current SPE cabling standards of the published ISO/IEC 11801-3 + AMD 1 and coming ANSI/TIA 568.5 for industrial cabling. The standard included a wide range of possible interface variants for different cable diameters and special applications from IP20 up to M8 / M12 for IP65/67 with screw and PushPull locking.


In 2019 HARTING and 6 other founding companies formed the SPE Partner Network e. V., a global organization to increase the development of all components that support Single Pair Ethernet to educate the industry about this new technology and benefits to implement integrated digital manufacturing. SPE brings industrial automation into the mainstream of innovative technology leveraging computing and IoT standards.


The Single Pair Ethernet Partner Network e. V. foundation now includes more than 50 companies from all parts of the world. The common goal of all member is to bring the SPE ecosystem to life. To this end, all members contribute their competences to jointly advance international standardization, develop all the necessary individual components and devices and thus bring the SPE technology to the market. In this way, the SPE network illustrates the benefits of industrial collaboration, joint development and close cooperation for the benefit of industry and future users of this technology.‑

Get in touch
McKenzie Reed
Technology Manager, Standards Development