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Wish I knew what advanced physical layer (APL) means!

This fascinating concept is new to process automation and in the process of standardization at IEEE. The advanced physical layer (APL) directly connects field devices to Ethernet communication and works with Ethernet/IP, PROFINET, HART-IP and IP protocols.

Basically, an Ethernet switch connects all the protocols in the field. It also supplies power to the field switches and the field devices connected to them. You can have a distance between the cable and the field switches of up to 1000 meters. The field switches provide intrinsically safe power to the devices. The maximum distance between these can go up to 200 meters.

The APL can connect devices easily to the control system and increase their bandwidth. You can have up to 10 megabits per second using less power than Fieldbus devices.

FieldComm Group, Profibus & Profinet International, and ODVA are trying to standardize this tech, but it’ll take time. They hope to have the first devices ready for hazardous areas in 2021 or 2022, according to a press release from FieldComm Group.

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