Networks today have become expansive as businesses need high-speed connectivity over large geographical distances. Many technologies such as fiber optics, PoE, and various types of network devices contribute to these advancements in networks. Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a revolutionary technology that has helped networks expand without external power supplies. It supplies power and data over a single cable. PoE helps increase speed and efficiency of the network and facilitates transmission even in remote areas that may not be on the electrical grid. Here, there are Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE) and Powered Devices (PD), wherein PSEs supply power to PDs within the network. Depending on the type of network and its geographical area of data transmission, among many other factors, you need to choose the right PoE PSE. This post discusses some factors you need to consider when choosing PSEs for PoE.
Understanding PoE Standards
Some of the most commonly used PSEs are network switches and media converters. PSEs are designed based on IEEE PoE standards, which ensures seamless integration and interoperability when deploying PoE. These standards control the maximum power and voltage specifications. The selected PSEs need to be compliant with the PDs and of the same PoE standards. Here are some IEEE PoE standards.
- 802.3af (PoE): This is the original PoE standard developed in 2003 based on which newer standards were developed later. It enables up to 15.4 watts of DC power transmission to each connected PD in the network. However, some power may dissipate when passing over a cable, due to which PDs may receive only up to 12 watts. The common applications of this standard are IP phones, basic IP cameras, and wireless access points.
- 802.3at (PoE+): Based on the earlier standard, this version was developed as an enhancement in 2009. This is suitable for networks with advanced IP cameras with PTZ features, dual-radio wireless access points, video phones, and other power-intensive devices.
- 802.3bt (PoE++): A more advanced version was later developed in 2018, which is divided into two types- Type 3 and Type 4. The former is suited for basic applications, while the latter is for power-intensive applications. The applications for Type 3, which enables power transmission up to 55 watts, include teleconferencing. Type 4 enables power up to 100 watts per device, and hence is suitable for high-performance wireless access points and data centers. The good part is that this standard is entirely backward compatible.
Common PSE Devices
Most PSEs can be a hub of power supply for multiple PDs. Here are some widely used PSE types suitable for most network applications.
- PoE Switches: Whether you have an industrial or a commercial switch, ensure you have the PoE PSE feature. While managed switches are required in large networks for automated control, unmanaged switches are used in most applications. PoE can be enabled in managed as well as unmanaged switches.
- PoE Media Converters: Media converters are used to connect two dissimilar networks such as a blend of copper and fiber optics. They convert optical signals to electrical ones and vice versa. There are many types of media converters specially designed for industrial or commercial use. When choosing one, look for media converters with PoE PSE feature, such as PoE-enabled ports. Ensure the converter has connection option for RJ45 as well as SFP. Depending on your network requirements choose the PoE wattage which may be around 500 Watts or more.
- PoE Extenders: Extenders, as the term implies, connects distantly located PD and PSE and extend the transmission distance. There are PoE extenders that facilitate power supply to PD along with data. You need to decide the number of PoE extenders depending on the distance or total length between PSE and PD. Generally, you can install one extender over a distance of 300 feet. However, this device is suitable mainly within similar network type.
Factors to Consider When Choosing PSE
Here are some useful pointers which may help you make an informed decision when choosing a PSE device.
- Number of devices: Modern networks have multiple cameras, phones, computers, peripheral devices, and a lot more. Switches are great for such complex networks. You can use extenders if required, based on the distance.
- Number of PoE ports: In most blended networks or fiber optic ones, the number of PoE ports is important because of the connectivity between two or more dissimilar networks. Check the port speed, configuration, and type against your requirements. Media converters are a great option as PSEs for blended networks.
- Power requirements: Check the power consumption of the network, and the amount of power required through PoE. Match your PSE power budget to device needs. Ensure the devices are not overloaded.
- Power management: Check for features in PSEs such as power allocation, prioritizing devices, and power budgeting per port.
- Network type: Choose switches for centralized deployments, extenders/converters for remote locations.
- Compatibility: Check the IEEE PoE compatibility based on the version of PSE and PD. It must be the same to avoid damages and functional issues.
- Size of PSE device: Form factor is a crucial aspect because of space constraints and increasing number devices in modern networks. The PSE device should fit in anywhere in hard-to-reach areas and compact spaces, or directly into the port.
If you are looking to expand your network, you may need good quality network devices with PoE and other features. Ensure you source from a reliable player. VERSITRON has been in the market for several years and has the expertise in developing and customizing POE switches and POE media converter solutions. Their team has designed and engineered devices such as media converters, switches, and extenders with PoE and varied configurations, advanced features, form factors, and more. The company offers a diverse range of PSE options, ensuring compatibility with various standards and network requirements. They offer custom options to suit your specific requirements. You can contact their team of experts to know the features, scalability and so on of the PoE devices they offer.