The Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer

The key to successful digitization in the field of process industries


Ethernet-APL—Digitization Reaches the Field of Process Industries

Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things have been standard in the manufacturing industry for years. In the process industry, there was so far no network standard capable of quickly transferring large amounts of data from the field level to the information level of the Industry 4.0 architecture.

With the Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer, Ethernet-APL for short, Pepperl+Fuchs and other companies set a major milestone: It is the key technology and the only way to bring digitization into every corner in the field of process plants. Ethernet-APL includes long cable lengths, explosion protection, and interoperability, enabling continuous and transparent communication across all hierarchy levels. Learn more about the pioneering technology that is paving the way for demanding IoT applications in the process industry.

Available now: The Ethernet-APL rail field switch for DIN rail mounting, the latest FieldConnex® innovation and the first switch in process automation to connect common communication technology with Ethernet-APL.

Do you want to learn more? Our Ethernet-APL experts are happy to introduce the future-proof technology, and to discuss the next steps with you. Simply contact us

Highlights—Why Ethernet-APL?

Fulfills all central requirements for process plants
For the first time ever: modern Ethernet technology applicable in hazardous areas
Designed for Intrinsic Safety
Efficient plant modernization
High transfer rates
High degree of interoperability


Efficient Communication across All Levels

Efficient Communication across All Levels

Ethernet-APL enables the direct connection of field devices to higher-level systems, allowing a uniform communication infrastructure across all process management and company levels for the first time. At 10 Mbit/s, enormous amounts of data are transmitted over long ranges at least 300 times faster than with current technologies such as HART or fieldbus.
Increased Plant Availability

Increased Plant Availability

In addition to pure process values, modern field devices provide valuable additional data. With Ethernet-APL, plant operators can make the most of the devices in real time, centrally monitor the status of their components, and identify maintenance requirements early on. This avoids unplanned downtime and increases plant availability significantly.
Simple, Cost-Effective Plant Modernization

Simple, Cost-Effective Plant Modernization

Ethernet-APL supports the trunk-and-spur technology established in the process industry and is applicable to any industrial Ethernet protocol such as EtherNet/IP, HART-IP, and PROFINET. This simplifies integration for planners, plant designers, and plant operators since existing installations and infrastructures can still be used and investments are protected.
Flexible Use Worldwide

Flexible Use Worldwide

Based on the established IEEE and IEC standards, the new Ethernet advanced physical layer allows communication that can be certified in every region of the world. In addition, the testing and certification of products ensures interoperability, so that even devices from different manufacturers work together without issue.

Shaping the Future of Process Industries: Basics, Terminology, Topologies

The Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer—Ethernet-APL for short—enables the fastest and most efficient communication of large amounts of data from hazardous areas to the cloud. Learn what Ethernet-APL means and which aspects need to be standardized to get a fully comprehensive definition of a physical layer.

Ethernet-APL includes long cable lengths, explosion protection, and interoperability, enabling continuous and transparent communication across all hierarchy levels. The trailer offers a glimpse of this pioneering technology ... 

The Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer fits any process plant as the installation architecture provides flexibility and explosion protection for all types of hazardous areas. The video illustrates typical topologies for process automation …

How to Realize Intrinsic Safety with Ethernet-APL

See this video to learn how easy it is to realize intrinsic safety with Ethernet-APL. Ethernet-APL borrows the concept known from FISCO, but allows higher performance and greater distances between switch and field device. For the verification of intrinsic safety, an additional chapter was included in the well-known IEC standard (IEC 60079). This concept for intrinsic safety of Ethernet APL connections is called 2-WISE for Two-Wire Intrinsically Safe Ethernet.

Thus, 2-WISE is not completely new after all. The majority of users who today have to use the entity concept to prove intrinsic safety for device technology with analog signals will be relieved when using Ethernet APL.


Intrinsic Safety without Any Calculations

Intrinsic Safety without Any Calculations

In order to simplify the test process for validating the intrinsic safety of Ethernet APL devices and cables within APL segments, a new system concept has been standardized in IEC TS 60070-47 (2-WISE). It specifies universal limits for defining intrinsic safety in APL circuits.

The manufacturer of an Ethernet-APL compatible field device guarantees compliance with the required limit values according to 2-WISE. A distinction is made not only between different zones, but also between divisions. The user must select the devices according to the desired zone, ensure a suitable cable and document the installation. Time-consuming own calculations are therefore no longer necessary. 

Operate All Generations of Field Devices

The Field Connex® Ethernet-APL field switch offers a dual function for PROFIBUS PA instruments. In addition to Ethernet-APL, it automatically recognizes the Profibus PA fieldbus protocol and maps the data from the instruments to PROFINET for the control technology.  This function is defined as "Proxy" in the standards for Profinet and Profibus. The most important element of this technology is that this transfer is handled for all protocols and devices commonly in the engineering station and is very clear for planners and operators. 
Seamless device integration into the control station and the engineering system is achieved via the PA profile, which is standardized for Profibus and Profinet. It defines the measured values, configuration parameters and collective messages of the same field devices, even from different manufacturers. It also saves effort during the engineering of a large number of measurements and device replacements.

Great Variety with the SR Series

Ethernet-APL in SR Housing

Designed for use in hazardous areas and harsh environments, the SR series offers different sizes and dimensions for a variety of different Ethernet-APL applications. Any accessories, such as flange plates, hinges, mounting brackets or lid security can be integrated according to customer specifications. The SR enclosures are manufactured from brushed AISI 316L stainless steel and all fixings are manufactured from A4 grade stainless steel as standard to provide excellent tarnish and corrosion resistance.

The Cost-effective Solution: GR Enclosures

Ethernet-APL in GR housing

The GR enclosure series consists of carbon-loaded, glass-fiber reinforced polyester with stainless steel cover screws. The enclosure series provides an anti-static, UV stabilized and corrosion resistant solution. Many attributes simplify installation and handling such as dedicated pry points for opening, a foamed gasket for IP66, and special protection for the sealing edge. With an expanded operating temperature range down to ­-60 °C, the GR enclosure series can serve as a cost-effective choice for many installations that would otherwise require stainless steel enclosures.

Contact Us

Do you have any questions about the Ethernet advanced physical layer (Ethernet-APL), or do you want to receive more information? We are happy to help! Simply fill out the contact form and send us a message.