Three LAN trends and solutions: what we can expect in 2020 and beyond

Reichle & De-Massari (R&M), a Swiss developer and provider of cabling systems, has presented its market outlook for 2020 including trends and solutions for public, LAN and DC networks.

Cloud services, fibre to the home, 5G, IoT and smart buildings will continue to change the network landscape this year and beyond. As more 5G phones enter the market, we will see a growth in bandwidth demand as well as a boost from phone manufacturers creating WiFi 6-enabled devices.

LAN trends are mostly driven by the need for intelligent building infrastructure in which a wide range of functionalities are monitored over a converged network. Ideally, data and power are to be integrated which is possible with an ‘everything over IP’ approach.

Single Pair Ethernet (SPE): uniform, application and manufacturer-independent continuous IP-based transmission

The connectivity landscape is becoming increasingly standardised and unified with IP as a common medium for disparate systems. R&M, who are closely involved with the standardisation of SPE, see this type of connectivity as a key future technology.

Using SPE without interfaces to replace the traditional field bus can help realise high connection density required for networks of today and in the future.

SPE works with 10BASE-T1 to 1000BASE-T1, offers 15 to 1000m link ranges at Gbit/s transmission rates and can supply terminal equipment with up to 50W with Power-over-DataLine (PoDL).

SPE based on xBASE-T1 protocols uses a single twisted pair for data transmission. LAN is compressed into a thin two-core cable with miniaturised connectors, making it possible to significantly increase terminal equipment connection density. IT and field bus components are integrated, installation and maintenance are simplified and the costs of material and operating expenses are reduced.

Compared to traditional Ethernet cabling, this approach offers a significantly higher number of possible connection points.

‘All over IP’: an integrated approach to networking smart buildings

By uniting LAN and Ethernet/IP cabling with related technologies such as PoE, SPE and Wireless LAN, an ‘All over IP’ approach enables digital building automation exclusively using IP. This provides high levels of standardisation, availability and reliability.

IP devices and networks speak the same language ‘end-to-end’ and don’t need translation between servers, operating systems, cabling and end devices. Buildings can be connected and controlled digitally throughout.

Additionally, devices and systems that work with Ethernet/IP technology are comparatively inexpensive and the current IP version (IPv6) can theoretically allocate around 1,500 IP addresses per square metre.

The digital ceiling

The ‘All over IP’ approach makes R&M’s ‘digital ceiling’ concept possible. It aims to extend the data network through an entire building’s ceiling in a honeycomb fashion which makes it possible to connect devices to building automation zones with pre-installed overhead connection points.

Real estate managers or tenants can benefit from digitisation with ‘Plug and Play’, fit for purpose, without barriers, fast and low cost. All they need to do is plug in network switches, sensors, controls, WLAN access points and other distributed building services.

R&M provides products which make it possible to create this ‘digital ceiling’, it also supports a Passive Optical LAN. This fibre optics is for extended systems such as airports, malls, resorts and hotels delivers virtually unlimited bandwidth for miles.

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Reference: Connected Home