How a 10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY Simplifi es Low-Power Processor Ethernet Connectivity

Maurice O’Brien, Strategic Marketing Manager, and Volker E. Goller, Systems Application Engineer, both from Analog Devices, explain how to connect to an increased number of low power field or edge devices with a 10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY. It will also detail when to use the MAC-PHY vs a 10BASE-T1L PHY and how these systems meet the requirements of tomorrow’s Ethernet-connected manufacturing and building installations

in common – with no integrated Ethernet MAC, they don’t support an MII, RMII, or RGMII media independent (Ethernet) interface. A traditional PHY cannot be connected to these processors.

Figure 1: A 10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY significantly reduces the power and complexity of devices with advanced packet filtering


ingle-pair Ethernet 10BASE-T1L use cases, including Ethernet-APL, continue to expand across process, factory and building automation applications driven by the requirement to connect more devices to Ethernet networks. With more connected devices, richer datasets are made available to the higher-level management systems, leading to signifi cant increases in productivity while reducing operating costs and energy

8 June 2021 | Automation

consumption. The vision of Ethernet to the fi eld or edge is to connect all sensors and actuators to a converged IT/OT network. To achieve this vision there are system engineering challenges, as some sensors are limited in power and space. There is a growing market of low power and ultra low power microcontrollers with signifi cant internal memory capabilities for sensor and actuator applications. But most of these processors have one thing

Why use a 10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY? To enable long-range Ethernet connectivity to an increased number of lower power devices, a 10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY is required. With a 10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY, Ethernet connectivity is provided to a processor via SPI, reducing the burden on the processor by removing the need for an integrated MAC. The MAC functionality is now integrated directly with the 10BASE- T1L PHY. A 10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY provides device architects increased fl exibility and choice by enabling a variety of ultra low power processors. By optimising the application partitioning, a 10BASE- T1L MAC-PHY enables lower power fi eld devices for Zone 0 intrinsically safe deployment through what is referred to in the process industry as Ethernet-APL. Within intelligent building applications, a MAC-PHY will enable more lower power devices to be connected to an Ethernet network. Intelligent building applications include HVAC systems, fi re safety systems, access control, IP cameras, elevator systems, and condition monitoring.

10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY advanced packet filtering

The integration of the MAC functionality with a 10BASE-T1L PHY provides new features to optimise Ethernet traffi c on the network. A 10BASE-T1L MAC-PHY with advanced packet fi ltering will signifi cantly reduce the overhead of handling broadcast

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