What is Power over Ethernet (PoE)?
Power over Ethernet is a technology designed to safely deliver both electrical power and data to remote devices. It uses standard Ceategory 5/6/6A UTP cable in an Eethernet network. Power and data co-exist on copper conductors and do not affect each other* (BICSI, Ty Estes, 2015).
The Power over Ethernet trend is growing. By 2020, experts predict that 80 percent of wireless access points, 90 percent of voice-over IP devices, and about half of other data device applications will utilize PoE. Those applications include phone, security cameras, LED lights, building infrastructure and life safety systems.
Power over Ethernet delivers power and data over two- or four-pair category cable. Today’s common applications are less than 60W, so heat-rise concerns are minimal in most installations. However, power levels are increasing. For example, PoE may deliver up to 100W using all four pairs. The increase in power levels is motivating code and standards organizations to define limits.
To future-proof today’s installations for tomorrow’s PoE, contractors and infrastructure owners should be thinking about cable bundle size, minimum bend radius, and other critical factors that impact the data cable pathway.
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