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What does Power over Ethernet (PoE) have going for it?

What does Power over Ethernet (PoE) have going for it?

What does Power over Ethernet (PoE) have going for it? PoE is a seemingly innocuous innovation that will have a

huge impact on the way we design, purchase, install, and manage our networking infrastructure. PoE allows us to power small network-ready devices without a separate power supply. Instead, power is provided by an "injector" (external or built into a switch) over unused wires in the Ethernet twisted pair cable.

PoE has a lot going for it including accessibility where there are no nearby AC outlets (nor the need to pay to have one installed), elimination of unsightly cords and transformers, a UPS at the injector source (one UPS on a PoE ready switch can cover dozens of devices), ease of moving access points, on so forth. With the advent of the 802.3af standard, PoE is taking off like a rocket.

There are a huge number of components available for PoE from chips to injectors to RJ-45 jacks with integrated web servers. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg for plug-n-play products. A sampling of PoE-ready devices include VoIP phones, 802.11 access points and bridges, web cams, card access systems, a clock that synchronizes to NIST and provides local time services via Telnet, and a low-power XP- based flat-panel computer.

This was first published in September 2004

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