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White Paper

Technical White Papers

The Advantages of Single-Pair Ethernet

Learn about the key market drivers and standards shaping the development of single pair Ethernet technology.

With the growth of the internet of things (IoT), machine-to-machine communications, building automation sensors and other emerging communication technologies, there is greater demand for connectivity that can deliver both power and data over longer distances to support these applications. One of the most anticipated technologies to address these trends is Single Pair Ethernet (SPE), which combines reliable, economical, lightweight and space-efficient single pair cabling with Ethernet’s non-proprietary protocols for greater interoperability.

This white paper provides an overview of SPE technology and it’s applications, including:

  • Target market segments
  • SPE cabling standards
  • How SPE coexists with 4-pair Ethernet
  • Advantages versus Fieldbus and wireless


16 pages | File Type: Adobe PDF | Size: 1.8 MB


Ethernet is one of the most widely used protocols for transmitting data between electronic devices. The concept of Ethernet was originally proposed by Bob Metcalf and David Boggs in May 1973 while working at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, CA. IEEE turned the Ethernet concept into a global standard in 1983 with the publication of IEEE Std. 802.3a™, supporting 10 Mb/s data transmission over coaxial cable. In 1990, IEEE Std. 802.3i™ was developed to support the 10BASE-T application, providing 10 MB/s data transmission over twisted-pair cabling.

Since then, Ethernet use has grown exponentially. Ethernet applications quickly migrated from coaxial to twisted-pair copper cabling to reduce cost and increase transmission speeds. At first only two twisted pairs were used, but this evolved to four pairs to achieve higher data rates. Standards were developed for the design of building cabling systems, especially for the copper cabling that served as the last link between the switches and the Ethernet device. EIA/TIA-568 (1991) and ISO/IEC 11801 Ed.1 (1995) established a maximum reach of 100 meters for twisted-pair copper supporting data rates of up to 100 Mb/s. Eventually these standards evolved to support data rates of 10 Gb/s up to 100 meters, and data rates of 25 Gb/s and 40 Gb/s up to 30 meters.