Ethernet-APL (advanced physical layer) will change the process automation world by enabling high bandwidth, seamless Ethernet connectivity to field devices. It solves the challenges that, to date, have limited the use of Ethernet to the field, including power, bandwidth, cabling, distance, and use in hazardous locations. By solving these challenges for both brownfield upgrades and new greenfield installations, Ethernet-APL will enable new insights that were previously unavailable, such as combining process variables, secondary parameters, and asset health feedback and seamlessly communicating them to the control layer.

To replace 4 mA to 20 mA or fieldbus communications with Ethernet-APL in process automation applications, both power and data need to be provided to the sensors and actuators. The distance between field-level devices and control systems in process automation applications has been a significant challenge to existing Industrial Ethernet physical layer technologies being limited to 100 m. With distances of up to 1 km required in process automation applications, combined with the need for very low power and robust field devices suitable for use in Zone 0 (intrinsically safe) applications, a new approach to realize Ethernet physical layer technology for process automation was required. Ethernet-APL is this new approach.