The Amazing Convenience of PoE Power and Data Delivery Over One Cable

As businesses move further into the connected environment, Power over Ethernet (PoE) power and data delivery is making digital transformation more cost-effective. An exciting new lineup of powered devices (PD) is enabling technologies like display screens and sensors that provide touchless, intuitive wayfinding in a wide range of applications, such as office buildings, municipal buildings, public parks, schools, hospitals, and a host of environments where people gather.

These added technologies are keeping things well-lit, more sanitary, and more accommodating for people with accessibility needs. Though originating initially out of a desire to save money by repurposing old telephone lines in office buildings, PoE has become a mainstay in the progress of the connected environment. 

How Does a PoE Work?

With PoE technology, a network switch can transmit power and data at the same time over a single Cat5e, Cat6, or Cat6A cable. This capability makes PoE a highly cost-effective way to support a growing array of powered devices (PD), including LED lighting installations, point-of-sales kiosks, and more. 

The ability to transmit power and data simultaneously is highly cost-effective because the process eliminates the expense of installing receptacles, especially in remote settings like a park or campus entry point. PoE-connected devices like wireless access points and IP cameras in locations like these can enhance public safety and improve visitor experiences.

How Do You Power a PoE Device?

PoE works on the basic principle of injecting power into a standard Ethernet cable alongside data signals. For this process to take place, a Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE), such as a PoE injector or a PoE-enabled switch, automatically detects whether the device on the other end needs power. This begins the power transmission process.

Powered Devices (PD), such as VoIP phones or IP cameras, receive power and data through the Ethernet cable. The PSE sends a signal to determine if the PD is compliant and therefore can receive power. 

How Much Power Does PoE Provide?

In order to understand how much power PoE provides, we must mention the main standards that are in use. The main standards of PoE technology are IEEE 802.3af, 802.3at, and 802.3bt.

These standards are set and determined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This organization is responsible for nurturing, developing, and advancing the expansion of global technologies, and part of this mandate involves overseeing the interoperability of networking equipment.

There are four basic categories of PoE switches based on power output levels:

  • Type 1 – 15.4W
  • Type 2 – 30.8W
  • Type 3 – 60W
  • Type 4 – 90-95W

How Can Power and Data Travel Over the Same Cable?

PoE transmits through a process called modulation. Modulation occurs when data is converted into radio waves by adding information to an optical or electronic carrier signal.

Because electricity and data function on opposite sides of the frequency spectrum, they can travel on the same Ethernet cable. This occurs because the power signal can be transmitted without interfering with the data signal. In addition, as long as devices that can differentiate the two signals are available, the transmission will occur.

Why PoE Power and Data Delivery on One Cable Solution Is So Cost-Effective

There are several benefits of using PoE switches over non-PoE switches. The main upside is that PoE switches send electrical current to low-power devices, saving money at the outset. Additionally, installation of these technologies tends to be plug-and-play. So, building out the infrastructure is already highly cost-effective.

In a recent project by Phillips, the company developed an intelligent building by harnessing The Edge Internet of Things and subsequently deployed 750 PoE switches to connect lighting fixtures to the building’s IT network. By the end of the study, Deloitte saved €3.6m in office space expenses per annum and reduced energy costs by €100,000 per annum.

Each PoE network switch has its own power budget and provides a predetermined amount of power across the entire switch, regardless of the amount a specific port supplies to one device. Limitations like this can significantly minimize energy costs, allowing an organization to save money in the long term.

We have also noted that you do not need to invest in separate power cables while installing PoE switches. This enables you to reduce the complexity and the cost of cabling infrastructure due to lower material and labor expenditures.

Other Benefits of a One Cable Solution

The following are other factors that contribute to the convenience of PoE power and data delivery over one cable:

  • Simplicity: The installation process is relatively easy. Configuration is also straightforward since most of these network switches are plug-and-play. Standard PoE power switches also have built-in additions like VLANs, port mirroring, and QoS, thereby streamlining network management.
  • Future application: As the Internet of Things (IoT) industry advances, it will become possible to connect many more devices within your network infrastructure. PoE switches will offer much-needed convenience when this happens since they can accommodate several devices simultaneously.
  • Flexibility: Finally, you can use PoE switches to power devices that are found in areas without power outlets. This makes it possible to deploy a wide range of devices, such as security cameras, in hard-to-reach places or when living in an area with limited power.

Revolutionize Your Organization With Technology That Supports PoE Power and Data Delivery Over One Cable

In this article, we have discussed the PoE power and data delivery process and explained why a one-cable solution is cost-effective. 

There are three main takeaways:

  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) Ethernet cables can transmit data and power simultaneously using a single network cable.
  • PoE switches are dual-functional—they can serve as switches and power sources, making them ideal for areas not connected to the power grid.
  • PoE also offers cost-effectiveness, simplicity, and flexibility, and aligns with the future of the Internet of Things (IoT).