New SPE devices help lower the cost of implementing all-Ethernet industrial networks

The growing use of Single-Pair Ethernet (SPE) technology is substantially changing the architecture of industrial networks. The low cost and simplicity of network installations based on SPE cabling makes the financial case for ā€˜Ethernet everywhereā€™ much more attractive: now, Ethernet can connect every device, from the server room and desktop PCs of the enterpriseā€™s Information Technology (IT) systems right through to sensors, actuators and other edge devices on the factory floor, where they form part of the Operational Technology (OT) system. This all-Ethernet architecture makes it much easier to share real-time data across the enterprise.

Now Microchip is supporting this SPE trend with the introduction of new controllers and switches for devices at the edge of industrial networks. These new products help to lower the cost of connecting edge devices to Ethernet networks, and provide new options for implementing real-time time-sensitive networking (TSN) technology.

The new LAN8650 and LAN8651 10BASE-T1S integrated Ethernet controllers, which combine a Media Access Controller (MAC) with a Physical Layer Transceiver (PHY), simplify the implementation of SPE by enabling edge devices such as sensors or actuators to use a basic microcontroller. Higher-end MCUs that have a built-in MAC are more expensive, and often provide more features and capabilities than are required in an edge device. The LAN8650 and LAN8651 connect an edge device into a standard Ethernet system all the way to the cloud over simple twisted-pair wiring, while enabling the use of a lower-cost MCU.

For TSN applications, the Microchip LAN937x and LAN938x Gigabit Ethernet TSN Switches with integrated 100BASE-T1 PHYs include hardware time-stamping features for supporting IEEE 802.1AS (gPTP) and IEEE 1588v2 (PTP) time synchronization, as well as other TSN functions. Energy-efficiency features include ultra-deep sleep power-down with remote wake for battery applications.

Microchip has also launched an industrial-grade version of its LAN8770 100BASE-T1 Ethernet PHY that provides 100 Mbits/s Transmit and Receive capability over a single Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable.

Each of these products provides developers of SPE equipment with new options for achieving their design objectives.

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