admin . May 18 . 5 min read

An Introduction to Power Over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet (PoE) was initially invented due to challenges related to powering internet protocol (IP) phones. At the time, traditional phones took their power directly from copper wires, which can carry voice calls. However, IP phones were not connected to these conventional circuits. Instead, they were taking calls using ethernet cables within a local area network (LAN) and being powered by an external auxiliary power supply adaptor because ethernet cables were not capable of carrying power.

Clearly, this was not an ideal solution because, in the event of a main power supply failure, all phones would be disconnected. So, in 2000, Cisco Systems introduced PoE, a new technology that allowed ethernet cables to power IP phones. Then, within two years, the technology began its quick evolution as other vendors took advantage of this concept.

What is PoE?

PoE allows data and power to be transmitted through the same ethernet cable, which eliminates the need for a separate electrical wire connection to power devices. Specifically, the technology enables data and a constant electrical current to be carried within the same cable without interference: Power-sourcing equipment (PSE) injects the constant electrical current into the ethernet cable and the powered device (PD) lets it out without interfering with data.

Benefits of PoE

Throughout the last 20 years, PoE has earned a strong reputation, thanks to the diverse benefits it offers, including its:

  • Time- & Cost-Effectiveness

Compared to other technologies, PoE requires fewer cables and eliminates the need for AC power adapters and other related accessories, thereby reducing costs and minimizing installation time due to the lesser amount of cabling to be laid.

  • The flexibility of Network Infrastructure

Because PoE devices don’t require any external electrical supply or sockets, engineers have more flexibility. And accessibility to design the most reliable, efficient, and scalable footprints. 

  • Reliability

The power source in PoE technology is controlled from a single point. As such, any PoE switch can be easily supported with a secondary power supply to significantly enhance its redundancy and reliability.

  • Safety

As a smart technology, PoE can also be configured to address overloading and/or underloading. For example, electrical equipment or faulty wiring is one of the most common causes of fire in a building. But, because PoE technology uses category (CAT) cable (as opposed to traditional wiring). The chance of it causing a fire caused is virtually eliminated.

. Centralization

Today, most of a building’s system components – such as phones, cameras, TVs, access control, lighting, and much more – are PoE-enabled. This creates a substantial opportunity for facility managers. And building users to centralize the power management and control all of these systems from a single console.

Deploying flexible network designs is easier with PoE infrastructure, which places future application opportunities in the palm of your hand. Plus, in the wake of the internet of things (IoT) revolution. PoE has gained significant momentum within the technology and energy fields. The continual addition of physical objects and sensors connected to the internet has anchored PoE technology within the infrastructure of all networks. And it became even more applicable upon the acceptance of the 802.3bt standard, which provided a higher power output. It’s truly the right time to take advantage of this future-facing technology – that’s already here.


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