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Continuing our Wired for Wireless series where our most recent installment talked about performance, this blog will discuss Power over Ethernet and its importance when deploying access points.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is typically provided for access points (APs), as well as other devices such as voice over IP (VoIP) phones, IP TVs, and video cameras. Although there are many devices that draw power directly from the switch, PoE is particularly important for APs. As such, a primary concern for customers planning an AP refresh is ensuring that sufficient power will be delivered at the switch.
Previous generations of access points could operate on a PoE budget of 15 watts of power at the switch. However, AP radios have evolved considerably and now demand more power. Today, most APs up to and including Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) draw PoE of 30 watts. However, while the latest Wi-Fi 5 APs can theoretically operate on 30 watts of power, they need just a little bit more to achieve top performance, drive all the radios, and provide power to the USB port. Next generation Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) APs demand even more power. While they operate on PoE + power, they will require more to drive their 8x8 radios for peak performance.
This is precisely why the IEEE recently defined IEEE 802.3bt. The standard outlines two additional power types to bolster PoE: up to 55 W (Type 3) and up to 90-100 W (Type 4). IEEE 802.3bt also stipulates that each pair of twisted pairs must support a current of up to 600 mA (Type 3) or 960 mA (Type 4). In addition, IEEE 802.3bt includes support for 2.5GBASE-T, 5GBASE-T, and 10GBASE-T.
Several vendors already have switches that support 60 watts, although only Ruckus supports 90 watts of power per port. Although there are relatively few devices that require more than 30 watts, more and more power-hungry devices are hitting the market with an ever-expanding appetite for more power. Such devices include LED lighting, high-end video displays, and pan tilt zoom cameras that can consume up to 75 watts and beyond.
This is precisely why we have designed our switches to deliver the power needed for dense Wi-Fi deployments, as well as for other powered devices. Ruckus switches can support Power over Ethernet (PoE) on all 24 or 48 ports with a single power supply – and PoE+ on all ports. As noted above, with dual power supplies, we are the only vendor that currently supports up to 90 watts power per port. Put simply, Ruckus delivers power to spare.