PoE in the Enterprise Ecosystem, Volume 1

Power over Ethernet is a technology whose adoption is expanding quickly. Why? Read this blog by Ronna Davis to find out. This post is volume one of a blog series about PoE. CommScope is also hosting a PoE webinar on December 6 to give more information. Use the link in the blog to register.

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-compBut 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.