A Look into the Evolution of Industrial Ethernet Connectors

Let us explain to you the improvements of industrial ethernet connectors to improve how we use the internet today.

The use of Ethernet network has grown in popularity in the industrial applications over the last couple of years. It has already been popular in commercial applications such as home and office environments. However, its unique ability to fulfill faster communication needs and overcome environmental challenges have made it the network of choice in demanding industrial environments.

With the increased use of the network system in industrial applications, the Ethernet connectors have also undergone certain changes in design. An industrial Ethernet connector functions as a bridge between the cables that carry data and devices that receive and communicate information.

Ethernet Connectors

Changes Brought into the Industrial Ethernet Connectors

Here’s a quick exploration of the types of Ethernet connectors to see how they have modified to meet the demands of industrial environments:

RJ45 Industrial Ethernet Connectors

The RJ45 or 8P8C connectors are the most widely known of all the Ethernet cables and connectors. The 8-pin connectors can be paired with 2- and 4-pair wiring.

They are the standard for using in office environments because of ease of use, universal connectivity, and quick connect/disconnect performance.

M12 Connectors

The connectors are available in 4-pin and two types of 8-pin variations. They are suitable for harsh environments and can handle vibration, shock, and changing temperature very well. Their external casing is rugged and highly durable, protecting the internal components from damage caused by oil, dust, and water exposure.

Based on the cable category and number of cable pairs, an M12 connector can transfer data at a speed of maximum 10 Gbps. However, the manufacturers change the 4-pin design to 8-pin to make the M12 connectors capable of handling 10 Gbps transmission speed.

M8 Connectors

These connectors have emerged into the scenario to be paired up with smaller devices. Smaller automation devices have come into the market for fulfilling the demand of smaller space applications. As a result, some manufacturers that produce automation tools and devices have started moving from M12 connectors to the smaller M8 design. These connectors can handle up to 100 Mbps data transfer speed.

Before being used as industrial Ethernet connectors, the M8 connectors were widely applied in a vast range of industrial sensor applications. Currently, they are equally utilized in both Ethernet and sensor applications, especially where space is at a premium.

Ethernet Connectors

The Shift from RJ45 to M12 Connectors

RJ45 is the most used Ethernet connector type. However, their design is incompatible with plant and factory environments. They are susceptible to water, dust, and oil damage, causing companies losing their time, money, and resources.

M12 connectors entered the scene to respond to the demand of a sturdy industrial Ethernet connector that could withstand the harsh industrial environments.

However, RJ45 industrial Ethernet connectors are still used in those industrial areas that are unlikely to be exposed to any environmental or weather conditions.