PoE what is it

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology that can provide electrical power over Ethernet cables. This allows you to power network devices and connect them to the network over a single cable.

This is especially useful for devices such as IP phones, IP cameras, and wireless access points, but can also be seen in more specialized devices such as sensors, point of sale (PoS) devices, and even some small switches and routers.

PoE provides the following advantages:

  • It is immensely cost effective especially for large deployments as it eliminates the need for provisioning for mains power for large numbers of devices, and especially for devices placed in hard to reach areas, such as IP cameras and wireless access points.
  • It simplifies delivering backup power, since a UPS can be connected to the PoE source, which is typically a switch, and that in turn will ensure backup power for all PoE devices connected to that switch.
  • Traditional telephones functioned without the need for additional power sources, therefore the transition to PoE enabled IP phones, which also require a single cable, remained familiar to users and deployers alike.

PoE provides direct current (DC), and depending upon the class of device, can deliver up to 100W of power. PoE standards are always developing based on the needs of new devices.

There are two main types of PoE that can be delivered: