Power Over Ethernet (PoE) Explained

Power Over Ethernet – Early Signalling and Power

Before Ethernet communications, devices like cameras required a signal cable to transmit the image back to a recorder and a local power supply to provide power. Because cameras and similar devices are often installed in locations where local power may not be available, companies started running a mix of signal and power cables with a power supply transmitting power from the head end recorder location. Through further development into signalling and power technologies, cameras started using multi-pair UTP cables, like CAT5, to send a mix of signalling and power. Signalling was sent on one or two of the four pairs of a CAT5 cable, and power transmitted on the remaining two pairs. This helped to simplify installations, as fewer cables were required to accomplish the same task. When endpoint signalling moved away from analog transmissions to IP, this capability was lost until 2003 when Power over Ethernet was created and standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, also known as IEEE.

What is Power Over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is the process of sending electrical power and data over copper wire. The combination of data transmission along with power supplying hardware onto the same RJ45 Ethernet connector allows for the transmission of power over network cabling. PoE networks can source power at the network switch side or at a PoE Injector to add power to an existing data line.

Power Over Ethernet Standards

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the governing body that creates standards for Ethernet and other data communications. The first governing document created for Power over Ethernet was 802.3AF, which states that compliant PoE switches deliver 15.4W of power to guarantee a delivery of 12.95W at the endpoint. Improvements to this standard came in the form of 802.3AT, also known as PoE+, which sates that Power Sourcing Equipment can provide 30W of power to ensure 25.5W at the endpoint. To guarantee a successful negotiation, both the switch and the endpoint device must be IEEE compliant. However, some device manufacturers have created their own implementations of PoE.

Maximum Distance for Power Over Ethernet

Over the past 30 years, Ethernet and PoE technology has seen incredible innovation. Initially, one of the primary downsides of Power over Ethernet was the limited reach of 328ft (100m). However, new PoE innovations, like those from NVT Phybridge, are pushing the limits of PoE transmission over several cable types. For example, the NVT Phybridge CLEER24 is an enterprise-grade 24-port PoE switch that delivers power and data up to 6,000ft (1,830) over a single Coax cable. That’s 18 times farther than a standard reach PoE switch.

The enterprise-grade 24 and 48-port PoLRE® switches deliver power and data over a single pair of UTP cable (also known as Category 3 cable or voice-grade cable used for telephone wiring) with up to 1,200ft (365m) reach. The NVT Phybridge FLEX24 switch delivers power and data over 2 or 4-pairs of UTP cable (Category 5/6 cable) with up to 2,000ft (610m) reach.

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Advantages of Power Over Ethernet

Endpoint devices require two connections: data and electrical. The data connection allows communication with the network while the electrical connection powers the device. Installing both connections separately is costly and unnecessarily complicated, especially when considering the number and location of the devices across the organization. Power over Ethernet provides both connections using a single wire. Many companies will install a PoE switch fabric when modernizing from older, analog voice and security systems, or when deploying a new system. NVT Phybridge PoE switches provide numerous benefits:

  1. Lower infrastructure costs
  2. Fast and simple deployment
  3. Improved LAN design
  4. Environmentally responsible

Lower Infrastructure Costs

Businesses looking to modernize from analog/digital devices to IP already have the most important requirement, a proven and reliable LAN infrastructure. This cabling can be leveraged using NVT Phybridge PoE technology to support IP endpoints. Organizations have been doing this for over 10 years to ensure simple VoIP and security upgrades. Companies are saving millions of dollars in network readiness costs while avoiding the unforeseen challenges that come with an enterprise-wide network overhaul. These cost savings are realized through significantly reduced labor, cabling, and construction costs, which are often reallocated into devices and applications to improve return on investment.

The extended reach capabilities significantly reduce IDF closet requirements – including space, power, cooling, and backup power – to reduce cost, network complexity, and to simplify network management. NVT Phybridge PoE switches are simple to deploy, configure, and manage. Deploying devices across multiple locations is easy, thanks to the repeatable, predictable, and scalable deployment methodology.

Fast and Simple Deployment

PoE deployments are quick and easy, especially when leveraging network infrastructure that is already in the building. Simply install the PoE switch in the MDF closet, connect to the new or existing network cabling, and connect the device at the endpoint location.

Improved LAN Design

Organizations have the freedom to establish/maintain a physically separate PoE network, or centrally converge to the core network using a single wire in a highly secure and controlled manner. This applies to both Cloud and on-premise solutions and significantly improves network security and performance. Quality of service is improved while ongoing network management is simplified as IT teams continue to manage the core business network while voice/security teams can manage these separate networks.

Additionally, as core business applications and data terminals (employee computers, Wi-Fi access points) continually require more and more bandwidth, network equipment will generally evolve every 3 to 5 years. By physically segmenting your PoE network, you can make changes to your core business network without impacting or disrupting your communication, security, and other systems.

Environmentally Responsible

By repurposing existing infrastructure and reducing/eliminating IDF closet requirements, organizations are significantly reducing the environmental impact of their digital transformations. Far less cabling and equipment e-waste is produced. NVT Phybridge PoE switches are built with PowerWISE technology to ensure low energy consumption, power redundancy, and hot-swappable power supplies.

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