Back to Basics: Single-Pair Ethernet Cabling Is the Future (Again)

The proliferation of IoT devices has spurred a new approach to Ethernet cabling that balances cutting-edge innovation with a tried-and-tested solution.

With the number of IoT devices projected to reach 10 billion by 2020 and 22 billion by 2025, the pressure is on enterprises to prepare for the needs of evolving networks. Getting ready for the IoT paradigm shift is easier said than done, however, and requires that IT specialists stay abreast of new developments that could change how they integrate emerging IoT tech into existing network infrastructures.

It may be amusing, then, for IT pros to hear that single-pair Ethernet cabling is making a comeback. While single-pair cabling has been in use for decades, especially to carry data across local area networks and to provide low-level power to certain devices, it has long since been overshadowed in popularity by the now-ubiquitous 4-pair cabling.

Now, the unique profile of industrial and enterprise IoT networks may shift that balance of power. While Cisco estimates that, by the end of 2021, IoT applications will be generating nearly 850 zettabytes of data per year, many of these devices will require very little bandwidth (or power). And with the IEEE rolling out new single-pair standards known as 10Base-T1, single-pair is being brought back in from the cold — and taking wired IoT connectivity back to the future.

Connecting an IoT Network with 10Base-T1

As network professionals confront the challenges of getting their enterprise IoT networks up and running, it’s important that they find ways to connect a wide range of sensors, cameras, and other devices as efficiently as possible. The challenge here is that the average enterprise may have hundreds or thousands of IoT-enabled devices. In order to knit them all into a cohesive network, IT staff need reliable, cost-effective solutions.

That’s where 10Base-T1 single-pair cabling comes in. Because many industrial and enterprise IoT devices need a wired link to the rest of their network, and because many also require DC power, single-pair cabling can provide dependable connectivity and power that’s easy to scale. Plus, with many IoT devices operating at the edge of enterprise networks, cabling solutions need to deliver connection speeds and power over considerable distances.

According to the IEEE, single-pair Ethernet cabling can meet these requirements with a single design. 10Base-T1, which boasts 10MB/s at up to 1,200 meters, can satisfy most use cases. Additionally, it provides the necessary power to devices at a smaller size and lower cost than 4-pair, meaning that it could cut down on congestion and make routing and wiring easier.

For enterprises, the advantages of 10Base-T1 over traditional 4-pair cabling could result in a lower total cost of ownership. Indeed, by consolidating IoT device connectivity needs into a single solution that costs less, uses space more efficiently, and only delivers the requisite speed and power, single-pair Ethernet cabling brings the benefits of tried-and-tested tech to a cutting-edge space.

Working with Industry Professionals

The emergence of the IoT — and its success outside of purely consumer-facing products — has potential benefits for enterprises of all sizes. Whether you’re a large organization beginning what may be a long-term network upgrade or you’re a medium-sized business looking to get the most bang for your IoT buck, it’s important to approach this new paradigm armed with the right information — and the right hardware.

While your internal IT team may have the expertise needed to manage your current network, integrating an entirely new technology can be a challenge — especially if your IT staff already has its hands full. That’s why enterprises of all shapes and sizes are choosing to partner with managed service providers (MSPs) that can provide the support they need as they prepare to add new layers of networking complexity.

To that end, working with an MSP like Turn-key Technologies (TTI) is a smart choice. With nearly three decades of experience in the networking space, we have the resources and expertise to help you make the most of the IoT revolution. Whether you’re looking for a network assessment to pinpoint where IoT can add the greatest value to your business, structured cabling solutions, or you’re ready to begin deploying connected devices, TTI will be just as invested in the success of your IoT initiatives as you are.

By Craig Badrick


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