When you think about the data revolution, it’s probably WiFi, not Ethernet, that comes to mind. But Ethernet as we know has come quite a long way. Where before it was limited by the size and length of the cable, and the amount of power it could transmit to a connected device, Ethernet has evolved to be able to carry not only data but AC power over a single cable to any compatible device.

In this article, we’ll go over what exactly Power over Ethernet (PoE) is, its potential applications, and how it can benefit homeowners, businesses, and manufacturers. First things first: what is PoE?

Defining Power Over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is exactly what it sounds like: power that is carried to devices via an Ethernet connection. One cable carries both data and AC power to wireless access points, VoIP phones, security cameras and other compatible devices. To create a network of Ethernet-connected devices, multi-port switches can be used to connect multiple devices via Power over Ethernet cables. Devices that act as power sources in an Ethernet network are called power sourcing equipment (PSE), and the devices receiving power are called powered devices (PDs).

Ethernet cables and devices all abide by the 802.3af (PoE) and 802.3at (PoE+) standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the standards which govern how networking equipment in general should operate in order to be compatible with other devices. Other standards have been added since PoE’s inception, as the technology evolved to allow the cables to carry more power. Originally, PoE could only provide 15.4W of power to a given device. Under the latest standard, it can provide 90-95W, giving it the capability to power computers and devices connected to the growing “Internet of Things (IoT).” Some examples of modern devices which use PoE are:

  • Security access controls
  • Lighting and lighting controls
  • Smart clocks
  • IP-enabled security cameras
  • Routers
  • Nurse call devices

How Homeowners and Business Owners Can Benefit From PoE

There are five generally accepted benefits to installing a PoE network in your business or home. We’ll go over them briefly here, then examine how PoE can improve your home or business specifically. 

  1. PoE reduces installation costs: Because PoE cables carry both data and power, you only need to run one cable at a time to each connected device without worrying about hooking those devices up to a DC power source. For example, a network of security cameras can be installed without having to run separate power lines to each camera. This cuts the cost of equipment and installation, and no custom cables are required for setup, just regular Ethernet cabling.
  2. PoE can be safer than conventional networks. Fewer installation steps and lower overall voltage in PoE systems makes them safer to be around. Conduit and metal cladding are not necessary. 
  3. PoE networks are more responsive. Since PoE networks are basically “plug and play,” using only a PoE cable and PSE equipment, sections of the network can be moved and reconnected at the switch level without the need to take down the entire network.  This simplifies Moves, Adds and Changes (MACs).
  4. PoE networks can gather data. Data gathered over a PoE network can inform analytics software when an area is unoccupied and direct the system to reduce or shut off lighting and climate control in that area, saving power. 
  5. PoE can enhance productivity. In the same way lighting and climate control can be monitored and shut off in unoccupied areas, they can be optimized in areas where employees are working, for example tuning the lighting to more closely mimic daylight. 

So how can these be applied in the home or the office? We’ve hinted at a few above, but let’s explore some applications of PoE in further detail. 

In the Home

POE networks can be used to set up “smart home” environments, where everything from door locks to the color of the lighting to a network of home security cameras can be controlled via a mobile device or computer. Smart homes also allow homeowners to monitor their homes while away, and optimize their energy use to save money on their utility bills. More advanced smart home networks are provided with virtual assistants, and allow for intuitive, optimized lighting throughout the entire house. 

In the Workplace

The energy savings of a smart home network are magnified when applied to a commercial building. A PoE network can support automated access points with bio authorization methods like retinal scanning for enhanced security. Digital signage on the side of a business can also be run from a PoE network. Older copper wiring infrastructure from landline phone networks can be repurposed for use in a PoE network for greater flexibility. 

In a manufacturing environment, PoE networks can help prevent workplace accidents by allowing for better documentation of safety compliance rules. Sensors running on a PoE network can detect changes in temperature or pressure, allowing manufacturers to protect their products during development. This also means that warehouses and loading docks can be monitored and optimized for maximum efficiency, even when no employees are there to keep track of the products. Assembly lines can be monitored and extraneous machinery can be identified and eliminated, reducing cost further. 

How We Can Help

At Remee Wire and Cable, we provide our customers with the cables they need, and that includes PoE cabling. We have standard PoE cable and we can manufacture custom PoE cables to meet your specific requirements. We provide a huge selection of cables, from standards to modified and custom design configurations.  

If you need something complex, we’re here for that too: we’re specialists in complex constructions, such as plenum, composite, bundled, hybrid, Siamese cables and more. You can speak with one of our expert staff to plan your order, and we’ll provide a production sample to make sure we’re getting it exactly right.

We take the quality of our product seriously. We boast a zero-defect average in our cables of 97 percent, and an on-time delivery rate of 96 percent.

Contact us today and see why we’re the only Power over Ethernet cable manufacturer you’ll ever need.