EYE on NPI – Harting Single Pair Ethernet #EyeOnNPI #DigiKey #Ethernet @DigiKey @HARTING @Adafruit

Eye on NPI

This week’s EYE on NPI (video) is a new twist on an old familiar classic – cables and components from Harting for a new implementation of Ethernet connectivity called “Single Pair Ethernet“. We’re interested in this because we have found that a lot of devices could benefit from a powered/wired network capability but Ethernet jacks are kinda huge and stiff – a single twisted pair cable could make wiring IoT devices easier and a lot less expensive because we don’t need nearly as many conductors – wire is not cheap! – and we don’t need a separate power adapter.

Ethernet was invented in the 70’s, and although it has been improved greatly, the underlying connector and cabling has not changed much. SPE is designed to be compatible with existing Ethernet installations, there’s going to be a translator chip, but the upper transport layers like TCP/IP will be the same. We’re actually big fans of Ethernet compared to WiFi – since there’s physical access you don’t have to deal with SSIDs, passwords, or enterprise management. That makes it ideal for IoT because one thing that’s super annoying about IoT products is deploying and updating when the WiFi credentials change. While we do see some IoT devices with Ethernet, it’s not as common as dropping in WiFi support. Perhaps, given that you still need to plug in power, SPE can make some headway into the industry.

The specifications allow for up to 1000 meter long cables, 1 Gbps data rate and 50 W power transmission. Not all at once though, for example 1 GBit/s is only up to a distance of 40 meters. There’s going to be some interdependence on those three stats that depend on the transmitter, receiver, and cabling quality. So there will probably still be 8-conductor Ethernet cabling for high speed + long distance configurations. In fact, when you look at the expected customer base from Harting, there’s a lot of infrastructure, robotics/automation, and monitoring, but no home or office computing.

Eye on NPI

The biggest customer right now for SPE is industrial automation – basically getting factories all wired over IoT. Factories don’t want to depend on a wireless network – heck we don’t even rely on WiFi when streaming our video show. SPE could be a nice upgrade from CAN where you’re still using 2 wires, but you get the benefit of Internet compatibility.

We think another group of products that will be popular with SPE is IP cameras, especially once one big vendor makes SPE products. Every facility has dozens of security cameras, and by definition they’re going to be really spread out over the building and grounds. That means the powering and wiring is going to be really annoying. With SPE, you can get power and data anywhere, over long distances.


Another really nice thing that SPE consortium came up with – you know how that little tab on the RJ-45 cable always breaks off? The connectors for SPE range from basic to waterproof varieties, and all of them are designed for secure latching with durable metal tabs!

Eye on NPI

Cool stuff to check out, specially for engineers working in automation and industrial technology, you’ll want to take a peek at the SPE specifications. There are many companies that are part of the SPE design specification, so you can be confident it will be a well-supported new spec.


Get started by picking up some cables and connectors at Digi-Key so that you can design SPE into your next product: visit https://www.digikey.com/short/zrvt71 to order Harting SPE connectors and have them in hand tomorrow!

Also see Harting’s video on SPE below.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.