Differentiating Factors between PoE, PoE+, and PoE++ Switches
Power over Ethernet or PoE technology finds uses in almost all industrial segments pertaining to business networks. This is because the technology enables data and power transmission over a single cable through separate lines. PoE is mainly designed for wired Ethernet as well as fiber optic networks. As far as fiber optic networks are concerned, you can connect a PoE switch and use a media converter along with it for transmission signal conversion. PoE is gaining momentum owing to the simplicity and efficiency it assures, and saves on external electric supplies for powering devices. Like other technologies, POE is administered through several PoE devices, such as PoE switches. There are different versions of Power over Ethernet switches in use today – PoE switches, PoE+ switches, and PoE++ switches. Would you like to know more about these switches? If that sounds yes, then this post answers everything about these devices. So, stay tuned.
A Quick Overview of PoE, PoE+, and PoE++ Switches
Before getting into their differentiating factors, it is important to know about each of these switches. After the initial development and implementation of PoE switches, which are still in use, PoE+ and PoE++ were developed as better versions of the former.
PoE: : Introduced in 2003 and covered under the IEEE 802.3af standard, the PoE switch has in-built Power over Ethernet functionality. These switches supply power to network devices using two out of four pairs of Ethernet cables, like the Cat6 cable. If there are distributed switches in your network, it is possible to get PoE pass-through switches. PoE switches can also pass power to end devices such as phones, cameras, and so on. Most of the 802.3af switches can deliver 15.4 watts over an Ethernet cable with a voltage ranging from 44v to 57v. These switches are used in various commercial, residential, indoor and outdoor applications.
PoE+: As the name suggests, it is an advanced version of PoE technology developed and published in 2009 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE 802.3at standard). In many cases, power devices within the network require more PoE wattage up to 12.95, and, PoE+ is the best solution that supports a higher power consumption requirement. Like a PoE network switch, PoE+ supplies power over two pairs. But, it has an additional power class that can deliver power watts up to 25.5 with a voltage range varying from 42.5v to 57v. A PoE+ network switch can supply maximum power of 30W with a voltage range from 50v to 77v. PoE+ switches are known to have backward compatibility, which means these switches will support the devices usually supported by PoE.
PoE++: PoE++ network switch is the next generation of PoE+ technology. It is designed to provide power to broader device applications. It is classified into two different types – PoE++ type 3 and PoE++ type 4. Type 3 powered switches can hit 51 watts with a voltage range from 42.5v to 57v. Type 4 switches enable four twisted pairs in a copper cable to deliver power up to 71 watts. Being an upgraded version of the PoE network switch and PoE+ switch, PoE++ can hit 60 watts on each port under PoE++ type 3 and up to 100 watts under the PoE++ type 4. These network switches are generally used for setting up management systems and making long distance calls.
Applications of PoE Switches, PoE+ Switches, and PoE++ Switches
PoE switches can be used to power a wide range of surveillance as well as audio-visual equipment in commercial facilities. This section offers a few common application examples of each of these switches. PoE switches are ideal for powering the following:
VoIP phones operated across offices
Pool pumps, cameras, lighting installations, and digital signage on the sides and tops of skyscrapers
Audio visual equipment in stadium and indoor spaces
Wireless access points for small networks, RFID readers, wireless network repeaters
Stationary cameras as well as cameras with no PTZ features
Solar power equipment in commercial and industrial spaces
Note: PoE switches are not recommended for data transfer over long distances or in applications where ambient temperature conditions may be present. Both these factors can have an impact on these switches.
PoE+ Switches are ideal for powering the following:
Office or home alarm systems
Motion tracking cameras installed in commercial premises
Remotely managed PTZ cameras
Remote computer terminals
IP telephones for voice calls, text messaging, and fax
PoE++ Switches are ideal for powering the following applications:
Thin clients (small computer)
Door access systems or gate controllers
Remote patient monitoring devices
A Quick Glance Through PoE Switches, PoE+ Switches, and PoE++ Switches
The below chart summarizes detailed specifications of PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ switches.
Switch Port Power
Maximum Port Power
Port Voltage Range
Powered Device Power
Voltage Range to Device
Max Power to Device
Twisted Pairs Used
2 Pair or 4 Pair, 4 Pair
Cable Types Supported
Cat 5, Cat 5
IEEE 802.3bt, IEEE 802.3bt
PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ - Know the Real Difference
The following are some important pointers that will help you understand the difference between these switches.
One of the major differences between PoE, PoE+, and PoE++ switches is the IEEE standards. A PoE switch is designed as per 802.3af, PoE+ as per 802.3at, and PoE++ as per 802.3bt.
Next, Ethernet cabling is an important consideration when differentiating these switches. PoE switch use two pair twisted cables, and the same goes for the PoE+ network switch. On the other hand, PoE++ uses four pairs of twisted cables.
Differences among these switches lie in the maximum power supply delivered by each port and their working mode, which reflect on their applications. PoE switches are designed to support network devices that require a power supply of up to 15.4watts. The list includes sensors, meters, wireless access points, surveillance systems, and many more. PoE+ switches support devices such as video IP phones, wireless access points with multiple antennas, and complex surveillance cameras. PoE++ switches can support devices that need higher power wattage such as video conferencing system components and building management devices, laptops, televisions, and so on.
After understanding PoE switches and their increasing use in several industrial applications, it is essential to source them from the authorized and certified manufacturers and suppliers. VERSITRON is one of the leading and trustworthy manufacturers and providers of industrial PoE switches. Over the years, the company has been offering PoE switches in different configurations. These switches support Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet applications for secure and enhanced communication links. The company also offers several other network devices for fiber optic as well as blended networks.
R.W. Tull is the President of Versitron Inc. He works closely with clients to review layout diagrams and drawings in order to ensure that the best fiber optic solution is achieved for a particular project.