Power over Ethernet (POE) for your computer network

What is Power over Ethernet (POE)

When connecting computer systems, two factors for consideration in siting equipment are power connectivity and data connectivity (the network).

In most modern day networks the cabling that is in use is usually Cat5 (Category 5), Cat5e or Cat6.  All of these cables contain 8 individual wires (4 pairs).

Only 4 of these wires are required for carrying the data in a network between devices. This leaves 4 wires sitting there that could be put to better use.

POE is the technology that enables these wires to be utilised for carrying power between devices, so that extra cables are not required for powering equipment.

Benefits of POE

The main benefit of using POE is the elimination of extra cables for powering devices. Also it means that the placement of items is not restricted to being close to a mains socket, so it gives more freedom for situating items.

Typical scenarios for POE

As the cable can only carry limited power, the POE capability is often used with smaller equipment, such as VOIP phones, network cameras and network access points.

A scenario where we find POE in use often is in extending a wireless network to provide coverage in buildings and offices. In order to extend the wireless coverage we typically use Wireless Access Points.  These Wireless Access Points need both data and power connectivity so using POE means only running one cable to them.  It also allows more unobtrusive placing of the Access Points, for example on a ceiling. This also adds to the security as they are less likely to be tampered with if they are not easily accesible.

POE Equipment

The equipment at both ends of the cable needs to have the capability for receiving and providing POE, it is not enough simply to have a device which will run on POE.

For example if you had an Access Point which could receive power over the Ethernet cable, you would also need a device at the other end of the cable to push the electricity down the cable.  This can be a specific injector, or a switch capable of providing POE.

If you would like to install POE equipment for your business, contact us to find out more.




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