In my ecosystem role for CommScope, I have the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with some of the most innovative organizations in the network technology industry. It’s exciting and always a learning experience. One topic that consistently comes up in our ecosystem discussions is Power over Ethernet (PoE). PoE is not a new technology, but its adoption is expanding quickly, and PoE standards continue to evolve. Consider this blog post as volume one for a series about PoE, and why it is generating so much interest.

Cat6a-cable-compAlso consider joining an upcoming CommScope webinar that will examine the latest PoE standards, the implications of PoE application in buildings and how our imVision automated infrastructure management solution can help realize its utmost potential. “More power to you: How PoE is shaping modern networks” will be presented on Wednesday, December 6 at 10 a.m. EST with Cisco’s digital building architect Luis Suau. Registration is free.

But what is Power over Ethernet? PoE technology sends electricity along with data over twisted pair cabling. It allows you to power and communicate with a network device with a single low voltage data cable. Most people know PoE in the form of VoIP telephones; VoIP telephones were the first devices to utilize PoE.   

If PoE sounds great, it’s because it is! Not only can it eliminate the need for more expensive AC (alternating current) power utility at the device, it provides a manageable DC (direct current) power source. The benefits of PoE can include better designed electrical safety features, better device management and lower cost of installation and maintenance. 

PoE today is categorized into four types that identify the wattage supported by the power sourcing equipment (PSE) and provided to the powered device (PD). The PSE is typically a PoE-enabled network switch or mid-span power injector equipment. The powered device is your PoE-enabled network appliance, like your VoIP telephone, surveillance camera, or WiFi access point.


Type 4 PoE, which is under review and expected to be completed in 2018, supports up to 74.8 watts for powered devices. Take a look around your building at what devices utilize less than 75 watts of power. Probably most of them do. Those could potentially be PoE devices in the future.

More and more devices are offering PoE as a possible power source, which means your building’s infrastructure needs are evolving rapidly. In my upcoming posts, I’ll talk about preparing your network infrastructure to support PoE and introduce you to PoE solutions that can make your workplace smarter and more efficient. In the meantime, please join us on December 6 for the “More power to you: How PoE is shaping modern networks” webinar. We’ll cover a lot of the information that I’ll be presenting in these blog posts.

About the Author

Ronna Davis

Ronna Davis is a global enterprise ecosystem leader for CommScope based in Nevada. She has been with CommScope for 11 years. In addition to her current role, Davis held positions on field sales team and in the global partner organization.

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