New PoE Standard Will Deliver More Power, Efficiency and Speed
Power over Ethernet delivers electrical power to PoE-enabled devices using your CATx network cables. Because you don’t need to run electrical wiring, PoE saves money in materials and installation time. It’s also flexible, especially for remote applications, since it doesn’t require a nearby electrical outlet. These and other benefits have led to a sharp increase in PoE’s popularity in recent years. However, the limiting factor has always been power.

The current IEEE 802.3at standard allows for up to 30W of power at the source. That’s sufficient power for devices such as VoIP phones, wireless access points, and security cameras. But it’s not enough for technology like flat screen displays, LED lighting, or retail POS terminals.

To meet the demand for higher power, the IEEE is set to release a new PoE standard to significantly increase capacity. IEEE 802.3bt will allow for up to 60W to 100W of power at the source by providing power over four pairs of wires (compared to the previous technology’s ability to power over just two pairs). This increase in power allows you to use PoE for a greater range devices and applications. As an added benefit, the new standard will boost energy efficiency by minimizing power loss in the cable—potentially cutting power loss in half.

PoE Type 3 and Type 4

Previous PoE technology included Type 1 and Type 2 powered devices and power source equipment. With the new standard come two new options: Type 3 and Type 4 (known as 4-pair PoE, 4PPoE, or PoE++). Type 3 provides 60W of power at the source and is ideal for video conferencing equipment and building management devices. Type 4 offers the highest power capabilities—potentially up to 100W—and can support flat screens and workstations.

In 2014, Cisco released a proprietary solution in advance of the new standard that could deliver up to 60W of power over all four pairs of wires after negotiation. This technology, called Universal Power over Ethernet (UPOE), will likely remain an option even after 802.3bt is approved.

Speeds Supported

The new standard will include support for 2.5GBASE-T, 5GBASE-T and 10GBASE-T, while existing standards have a maximum speed of 1 gigabit. This new support will create intermediate data speeds between existing standards.

Even though the new standard has not yet been ratified by the IEEE, Type 3- and Type 4-compatible products are already on the market. Contact Black Box to learn more about how you can take advantage of the new higher-power capabilities of PoE.
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