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‘Last-mile’ technology stretches Ethernet range to 1.7km

18 June, 2021

The semiconductor manufacturer Analog Devices (ADI) has developed a technology that stretches the distance over which industrial Ethernet can operate to as much as 1.7km. ADI says the development will allow previously unavailable data to be accessed across networks, and used to assess data such as asset health, raw material usage, and process parameters, enabling cleaner manufacturing.

The technology – an addition to ADI’s Chronous portfolio – supports the 10Base-T1L physical layer Ethernet standard, allowing data streams from edge nodes in remote and hazardous locations across process and building facilities. It will bring long-reach Ethernet connections from the edge to the cloud and enable real-time configuration, cut energy consumption, and increase asset utilisation.

Data and power are both transmitted via single twisted-pair Ethernet cables – known as Single-Pair Ethernet (SPE) – helping to reduce space, weight, and cost. The cables are lighter and more malleable than traditional Ethernet cables, and allow existing cabling infrastructure to be re-used, cutting commissioning costs and complexity.

The new technology will be available in two options: MAC PHY (ADIN1110) and PHY (ADIN1100). The first is claimed to enable industry’s lowest power systems, simplifying the retrofitting of Ethernet to field sensors or actuators, and preserving existing investments in software and processor technologies. The second option supports standard Ethernet interfaces and can be used in more complex designs, such as field switch developments or building controllers.

ADI’s industrial Ethernet technology can transfer data over 1.7km to achieve “last-mile” connections

“Many process plants and buildings are struggling with constant manual local intervention required by service personnel and limited ability to optimise assets at an enterprise level,” says Mark Barry, Analog Devices’ general manager of automation and energy. “By providing long-reach industrial Ethernet solutions that adhere to the 10Base-T1L Ethernet standard, we’re making it possible for our customers to achieve reliable communications over much longer distances, covering the last mile in connectivity. This truly enables the benefits of digitalisation through seamless access to edge data and improved control of remote assets.”

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