What the Watt? PoE, PoE+ and now PoE++

By Katie Taisey, CXtec Product Manager

Power over Ethernet, or PoE, is the ability to pass both power and data over twisted pair Ethernet cabling. The first PoE standard - 802.3af - was introduced in 2003 and was quickly adopted all over networks because of its usefulness. 

Allowing a PoE telephone to pull its power from the Ethernet cable opened up one more precious desk outlet. Devices that were typically installed in inconvenient locations, such as IP cameras and wireless access points, no longer required power to be run directly to them.

Imagine if your house was actually wired with PoE capability - that cordless telephone/answering machine plugged into your phone jack with that ugly power cord dangling from it would look much cleaner! It would only need one cord. Maybe we would even still have home telephones… ok, probably not. =)

We need more power!

PoE is fantastic, but we quickly realized that it has a certain drawback. More and more devices started to come along that required more power than the PoE standard allowed. New AC wireless access points and some IP security cameras needed more than the 15W that PoE allowed.

Because of this, along came PoE+. PoE+, or 802.3at, provides up to 30W of power to powered devices. 

25.5W of power should be enough, right? Well, not so fast.

According to Wikipedia, “Standards body IEEE is currently looking at ways of increasing the amount of power transmitted. The upcoming IEEE 802.3bt aka 4PPoE (4 Pair Power over Ethernet) standard will introduce two new levels of power: 55 W (Level 3) and 90-100 W (Level 4).” 

In addition to wireless access points and security cameras, this higher wattage will allow for the support of new Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These new IoT devices include medical devices, access control systems for smart homes/buildings and even PoE lighting.

So what exactly do you need?

Wait, so... what the watt? Let’s say you are looking to upgrade your existing network switches today - do you need PoE, PoE+ or maybe even PoE++? 

This question could get you running in circles but have no fear. When you work with a quality technology partner like CXtec, you get access to engineers who can help you through the power calculations to determine exactly what you need.

And a quality partner can supply you with PoE switches, PoE+ switches and can even offer chassis solutions that might combine both PoE and PoE+ into one switch for greater flexibility and cost savings.

Think about it this way: hot tubs and saunas are cool, right? But if you're rewiring your house, you wouldn’t want the electrician to wire every breaker in your house to accommodate that sauna or hot tub you might get one day, would you? No, you'd want them to size accordingly because anything else would be expensive and wasteful.

That's what you can do with the technology infrastructure at your organization. Work with a good partner that can help you plan for just the right amount of power for your network needs!


Image courtesy of Pixabay

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