Why single pair Ethernet is being increasingly adopted for Smart Buildings

Why single pair Ethernet is being increasingly adopted for Smart Buildings

Single Pair Ethernet is a technology which is quickly gaining interest as a solution to support the large number of facilities management devices and sensors used in Smart Buildings. What are the benefits of a Single Pair Ethernet network and the standards developed?

Single Pair Ethernet is the transmission of Ethernet over only one single twisted pair of copper cable. This is as opposed to a traditional Ethernet transmission requiring the use of 2, up to 100Mbps or 4, from 1Gbps and more twisted pairs of a cable that always contains 4 pairs.

Mike Holmes, Channel Marketing Manager at Nexans

With network convergence in business and commercial buildings on the rise, the interest in Single Pair Ethernet comes as no surprise. Smart buildings will require many Internet enabled devices to monitor and manage the operational technology necessary to run the building efficiently. These devices, such as sensors, air monitors, and access control devices, typically function using low data transmission rates often less than 10MBps and require some sort of power supply.

Single Pair Ethernet is suited to these requirements, supporting low bandwidth data and powering devices using Single Pair Power over Ethernet, SPoE, doing away with batteries or the need for a local power supply. All this in a compact format which can be implemented over distances up to 100m, 400m, or even 1,000m in certain conditions.

There are several standards to consider for Single Pair Ethernet: the Ethernet protocol itself, the generic premises cabling, cable and connector components, and power transmission. In each of these five areas, there are variations which are intended to cater for different types of uses, considering the data rate required, the distances to be supported, the type of installation environment, and the power needs.

For smart building applications perhaps the most interesting ones are:

  • Ethernet: IEEE802.3cg 10BASE-TIL, 10MB up to 1000m
  • Premises Cabling: Amendments to ISO 11801-1 and ISO 11801-6 currently under development
  • Cables: IEC 61156-13, 14, Permanent Links & patch cord cables
  • Connectors: IEC 63171-1, LC style copper connector
  • Power, Single Pair Power over Ethernet: IEEE P802.3bu 1-Pair, Power over Data Lines

Nexans’ proposed Single Pair Ethernet setup for Smart Buildings, is expected to become an overlay network operating alongside, rather than replacing, the existing 4-pair LAN infrastructure. So how do you plan and provision for an unknown future which will likely require a mix of high and low bandwidth applications, high and low power requirements, in different parts of the building? Adding an additional Single Pair Ethernet network next to the existing LAN one would be disruptive and expensive.

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