SPE is Set to Become the New Standard for Industrial Automation: Here is Why

By: | February 26th, 2024

Automation is all about effective communication, especially in Industrial Automation. No matter how powerful or effective a device might be, it won’t do much if it can’t operate as part of a much larger system. This is why Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) is rapidly gaining support as the communication system of choice for industrial applications. 

As a compact, yet robust, communication solution, SPE comes with many of the benefits every industrial automation system dreams of. No cable bulk, lower weight, tighter cable bends, lower costs, power-transmission capabilities, and high transfer speeds are only some of them.

Unlike the typical Ethernet cable that makes use of four pairs of wires, SPE uses only one pair. As these two cables come with Power over data (PoDL) support, they can power up IoT devices, removing the need for power-supplying hardware.

As SPE often utilizes IEC 63171-6 connectors and shielded cabling, they are especially useful in harsh industrial environments, especially when compared to the analog RJ45 it replaced. IEC 63171-6 also supports bidirectional communication and power delivery up to 4 Amps over two wires with 100 Ohm impedance.

SPE is also highly interoperable with ix Industrial, an Ethernet cabling system designed to provide higher performance thanks to its eight wires. Ix Industrial is capable of offering up to 10x the performance of SPEs at more than twice the distance. By mixing both cable standards, automation systems can become much more flexible and efficient in multiple areas.

Despite its many benefits, SPE adoption stalled recently during the pandemic as QoL upgrades and design changes became a minor concern. However, renewed investment and research driven by rapid technological development means that SPE is in the spotlight once again, especially as the space becomes more competitive

With growing real-world use cases, SPE is projected to overcome the many uncertainties that come with cabling standards. Its great performance, reduced costs, flexibility, and space-saving features are becoming more than enough for companies to take a bet on SPE. 

Ashton Henning

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