The maximum distance of an I2C bus depends on the capacitive loading. In typical applications, the length is limited to a few meters in standard mode. This is because a system has to be built to accommodate a maximum bus capacitance of 400pF to meet rise time requirements listed in the I2C bus specification. To achieve greater distances by operating above the maximum allowable bus capacitance, the I2C bus specification allows operating at a lower speed, using higher drive output devices, dividing the bus into segments with bus buffers, or the use of switched pullup circuits. While on the surface these methods may seem viable, they either do not meet the long-distance requirements or significantly increase the cost. An alternative is to use the DS28E17 1-Wire-to-I2C Master Bridge.
This application note provides an alternative method to extend an I2C bus. It also provides basic equations and the design philosophy to check the bus capacitance in a long line application with the DS28E17.