The Evolution of PoE

The Early Years: IEEE 802.3af (2003)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) was first introduced in 2003 via 802.3af. This technology (also referred to as Type I) allowed power sourcing equipment (PSE) to transmit up to 15.4W of power to a powered device (PD) via twisted pair cabling (Category 5e). The powered device (PD) was assured to be 12.95W due to losses along the maximum channel length of 100 meters. PoE technology at the time was developed mainly to power VoIP phones over the same IP network that was now starting to carry voice traffic as well. 

The popularity of both PoE and VoIP grew significantly over the years. Frost and Sullivan estimated VoIP phone shipments in 2009 to be approximately 13 million units, most powered via PoE. As VoIP phones started to add additional features and larger screens, power requirements rose too. Additionally, new devices like security cameras started to connect to the IP network too. The ability to power new devices using the same cable made adding them easy. However, 15.4W of power was quickly becoming insufficient, and more power was needed.

The Need for More Power! - IEEE 802.3at (2009)

The IEEE stepped in with a new backward compatible PoE standard called 802.3at (PoE+ or Type II).  This new technology doubled the amount of power from the PSE side to 30W and provided up to 25.5W of power to the PD. Now it was possible to connect and power devices like pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) IP security cameras, access control, point of sale terminals, nurse call stations, wireless access points supporting 802.11n technology and more!  The advancement of PoE technology was “powering” IP Convergence and the simultaneous transmission of voice, data, and power.

And Now, Even More Power! - IEEE 802.3bt

The 802.3bt standard delivers even more power levels. The first level (Type III) doubles the power from 802.3at allowing the Power Source Equipment (PSE) side to transmit 60W and assure the Powered Device side up to 50W. The second level (Type IV) allows transmission of up to about 100W from the PSE side and assure about 80W to the PD side. This allows you to power large TVs, digital signage, advanced nurse call stations, and dozens of other devices. 

Yet, with cutting edge advancement comes new challenges. One of those challenges is the heat that will be generated from 100W. How will this affect the IP traffic on your network?

Berk-Tek is ahead of this challenge and has already developed solutions that are ready for this next wave of technology. There is much more for you to know, so we have developed a series of test reports, product solutions, and more information on PoE technology.