Ethernet Alliance Launches Building and Industrial Automation Industry Focus

The Ethernet Alliance, a global consortium dedicated to the continued success and advancement of Ethernet technologies, has announced the launch of an industry focus around Operational Technology (OT) networks found in building and industrial automation, the company said.

With development of Single-Pair Ethernet (SPE) creating new opportunities for solving challenges in OT networks, the Ethernet Alliance is seeking to connect with more expertise in the building- and industrial-automation industries.

One of the key roles that the Ethernet Alliance plays is supporting the deployment of Ethernet technologies into markets not traditionally served by Ethernet. OT networks, which control manufacturing processes or provide occupant comfort and safety in a building, historically have been siloed from Ethernet-based IT networks.

Legacy, built-for-purpose protocols have instead dominated OT networking. In recent years, however, cybersecurity issues related to those protocols have grown more glaring, and generational transition in the workforce is creating a shortage of expertise to manage and maintain OT networks based on the legacy protocols.

SPE is a crucial technology development for allowing OT networks to become part of a seamless, Ethernet-based network. Defined in IEEE 802.3cg™, IEEE Standard for Ethernet–Amendment 5: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for 10 Mb/s Operation and Associated Power Delivery over a Single Balanced Pair of Conductors, which was published in May 2020, SPE substantially boosts the performance, security, flexibility and manageability of the OT networks on which the building- and industrial-automation industries depend.

The Ethernet Alliance is a global consortium that includes system and component vendors, industry experts, and university and government professionals who are committed to the continued success and expansion of Ethernet technology. The Ethernet Alliance takes Ethernet standards to market by supporting activities that span from incubation of new Ethernet technologies to interoperability demonstrations and education. The organization´s plans for 2020 may be found on the Events page of its website.