PoE (Power over Ethernet) vs PoE+ (Power over Ethernet Plus)
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PoE (Power over Ethernet) vs PoE+ (Power over Ethernet Plus)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) and Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) are two technologies that are meant to simplify the deployment of network devices. With PoE, network devices can be powered directly from the Ethernet cable, eliminating the need for additional power cables. PoE+ builds on this technology, offering higher power levels for devices that require more power. In this article, we will take a closer look at these two technologies and help you decide which one is right for your network.

Understanding Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology that allows network devices to be powered through the Ethernet cable. This eliminates the need for additional power cables and power supplies, making installations simpler and more cost-effective. The power is carried over the same wires that carry data, so there is no need for separate power cabling.

PoE was first introduced in 2003 and was defined in the IEEE 802.3af standard. This standard provides up to 15.4 watts (W) of DC power through the Ethernet cable. This is enough to power devices such as IP phones, wireless access points, and security cameras. PoE is now widely adopted in many different industries, including healthcare, education, and government.

One of the main advantages of PoE is its flexibility. It allows for easy installation and relocation of devices without the need for an electrical outlet nearby. This is particularly useful in environments where power outlets are limited or difficult to access, such as in older buildings or outdoor areas.

Another benefit of PoE is its ability to provide power to devices in remote locations. This is achieved through the use of PoE extenders, which can extend the range of the Ethernet cable and provide power to devices that are located far away from the power source. This makes it possible to deploy devices in areas that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach.

What is Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+)?

Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) is an enhancement to the original PoE technology. The IEEE 802.3at standard, which was ratified in 2009, defines PoE+ and provides up to 30W of power over the Ethernet cable. This is double the power provided by PoE and can be used to power devices such as pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, videoconferencing systems, and thin clients

One of the main advantages of PoE+ is that it eliminates the need for separate power cables, which can simplify installation and reduce costs. It also allows for greater flexibility in device placement, as devices can be located in areas where power outlets may not be readily available.

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However, it is important to note that not all network switches and devices support PoE+. Before implementing PoE+, it is important to ensure that all equipment is compatible and that the network infrastructure can support the increased power requirements.

The differences between PoE and PoE+

The main differences between PoE and PoE+ are the power levels they provide and the devices they can power. PoE provides up to 15.4W of power, while PoE+ provides up to 30W of power. This means that PoE+ can power devices that require more power, such as PTZ cameras and videoconferencing systems. PoE+ is backward compatible with PoE devices, so it can still be used to power devices that only require 15.4W of power.

Another difference between PoE and PoE+ is the standard they follow. PoE follows the IEEE 802.3af standard, while PoE+ follows the IEEE 802.3at standard. The IEEE 802.3at standard allows for higher power delivery and includes additional features such as power negotiation and power management. This means that PoE+ is more efficient and can provide better power management for devices, resulting in better performance and longer lifespan.

Which devices are compatible with PoE?

Many network devices can be powered using PoE, including:

  • IP phones
  • Wireless access points
  • Security cameras
  • Network switches
  • VoIP (Voice over IP) phones

Before purchasing any PoE-enabled device, it is important to ensure that it is compatible with the PoE standard used in your network. There are two types of PoE: end-span and mid-span. End-span PoE supplies power directly from the Ethernet switch, while mid-span PoE uses a separate injector to deliver power to the Ethernet cable.

Which devices are compatible with PoE+?

PoE+ is designed to provide power to devices that require more power than can be provided by PoE. Some devices that are compatible with PoE+ include:

  • PTZ cameras
  • Videoconferencing systems
  • Thin clients
  • Panoramic cameras
  • High-power wireless access points

As with PoE, it is important to ensure that any PoE+-enabled device is compatible with the PoE+ standard used in your network. PoE+ switches are backward compatible with PoE devices, so they can still be used to power devices that only require 15.4W of power.

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The advantages of using PoE and PoE+

There are many advantages to using PoE and PoE+. Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Simplicity: By eliminating the need for separate power cables and power supplies, installations are simpler and more cost-effective.
  • Flexibility: PoE and PoE+ provide power to devices independent of their location, enabling greater flexibility in the placement of network devices.
  • Scalability: PoE and PoE+ can be easily scaled to meet the changing power requirements of a network. They can be used to power devices as diverse as IP phones, security cameras, and wireless access points.
  • Reliability: PoE and PoE+ provide a reliable source of power that is not susceptible to fluctuations in the power supply.

Limitations of using PoE vs PoE+

While there are many advantages to using PoE and PoE+, there are also some limitations to keep in mind. These include:

  • Power limitations: PoE provides up to 15.4W of power, while PoE+ provides up to 30W of power. This can limit the types of devices that can be powered over Ethernet.
  • Cabling requirements: PoE and PoE+ require the use of Ethernet cables that are capable of carrying both data and power. This means that older cables may not be able to support the higher power levels required by PoE+.
  • Distance limitations: For both PoE and PoE+, the maximum distance between the switch and the network device is 100 meters (328 feet).

How to choose between PoE and PoE+ for your network?

When choosing between PoE and PoE+, there are several factors to consider. These include:

  • The power requirements of your devices: If your devices require more than 15.4W of power, you will need to use PoE+.
  • The distance between your switch and devices: If your devices are located more than 100 meters from your switch, you may need to use a mid-span PoE injector.
  • The age of your cabling: If your cabling is more than a few years old, it may not be capable of supporting the higher power levels required by PoE+.

Common applications of PoE and PoE+ technology

There are many common applications of PoE and PoE+. Some of the most popular applications include:

  • IP phones: PoE is commonly used to power IP phones, providing an integrated solution that simplifies installation and maintenance.
  • Wireless access points: PoE and PoE+ are frequently used to power wireless access points, enabling greater flexibility in network design.
  • Security cameras: PoE and PoE+ can be used to power security cameras, eliminating the need for separate power cables and enabling more discreet installation.
  • Smart lighting: PoE can be used to power smart lighting systems, providing a reliable power source that can be easily scaled to meet changing requirements.
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Implementing a PoE or PoE+ network: What to consider

When implementing a PoE or PoE+ network, there are several factors to consider. These include:

  • Power budget: The power budget of your Ethernet switch will determine how many PoE or PoE+ devices can be powered at the same time.
  • Power requirements: Make sure that your PoE or PoE+ switch is capable of providing the required amount of power to your devices.
  • Cabling requirements: Ensure that your cabling is capable of carrying both data and power.
  • Device compatibility: Make sure that your devices are compatible with the PoE or PoE+ standard used in your network.

Troubleshooting common issues with PoE and PoE+ technology

Some common issues that can arise when using PoE or PoE+ include:

  • Insufficient power: Make sure that your switch is capable of providing the required amount of power to your devices.
  • Cabling issues: Ensure that your cabling is capable of carrying both data and power, and that it is not damaged or frayed.
  • Distance limitations: Make sure that your devices are located within 100 meters of your switch. If they are located further away, consider using a mid-span PoE injector.

Future developments in Power over Ethernet technology

Power over Ethernet technology is continuing to evolve. One of the most significant developments is the IEEE 802.3bt standard, which is also known as 4PPoE (Four-Pair Power over Ethernet). This standard provides up to 90W of power over the Ethernet cable, enabling it to power even more devices.

Conclusion: Pros and Cons of using Power over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet and Power over Ethernet Plus are two technologies that offer many advantages, including simplicity, flexibility, scalability, and reliability. However, there are also limitations to these technologies, including power limitations, cabling requirements, and distance limitations. When choosing between PoE and PoE+, it is important to consider the power requirements of your devices, the distance between your switch and devices, and the age of your cabling.