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An Overview Of PoE Standards: What You Need To Know About Power Over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology that enables the transmission of electrical power and data over standard Ethernet cables. It has revolutionized the way networked devices are powered, eliminating the need for bulky power adapters and separate power outlets. But like any technology, there are different standards and protocols that govern how PoE works. In this article, we will take a look at PoE standards, what they mean for your devices, and how you can ensure you choose the right one for your needs.

The Different Types of PoE Standards

There are four different types of Power over Ethernet standards, each with different capabilities. The four standards are 802.3af, 802.3at, 802.3bt, and the new802.3bt-4 standard.

The most common PoE standard is 802.3af, which provides up to 15 watts of power per port. This is enough to power most small devices such as IP phones or wireless access points.

The next step up is 802.3at, which provides up to 30 watts of power per port. This is enough to power larger devices such as pan/tilt/zoom cameras or WiFi access points with multiple radios.

The newest standard is 802.3bt, also known as PoE++, which provides up to 60 watts of power per port. This is enough to power very large devices such as 4K TVs or LED signs. The new standard also supports higher voltages, so it can be used with devices that require more than the 15 watts provided by the older af standard.

Lastly, there is the new802.3bt-4 standard which provides up to 100 watts of power per port for the latest generation of devices such as 8K TVs or virtual reality headsets.

Pros and Cons of PoE

As with any technology, there are advantages and disadvantages to using Power over Ethernet (PoE). It is important to understand both before making a decision about whether or not to use PoE for your business.


-Reduced installation costs: PoE eliminates the need to run separate electrical cabling to each device. This can save on installation time and costs.

-Flexibility: PoE can be used with a variety of devices, including IP phones, wireless access points, and security cameras.

-Improved performance: Devices that are powered by PoE can perform better than those that rely on batteries or other power sources. This is because PoE provides a stable power source that is not subject to voltage fluctuations.


-Higher upfront costs: The initial investment in PoE equipment can be higher than traditional wiring methods.

-Limited range: PoE only works over short distances, typically up to 100 meters (328 feet). Beyond this range, the signal strength diminishes and devices will no longer receive power.

-Incompatible devices: Not all devices are compatible with PoE. In order for a device to work with PoE, it must have a built-in Ethernet port and support the 802.3af standard.

What Devices Can Use PoE?

Power Over Ethernet, or PoE, is a technology that allows electrical power to be transmitted over standard Ethernet cables. This means that devices that require power, such as IP cameras or WiFi access points, can be powered using the same cable that carries their data signal. There are a few different standards for PoE, which we will discuss in more detail below.

PoE can be used with a variety of devices, including but not limited to:

-IP cameras

-VoIP phones

-Wireless access points

-Tablets and laptops with special adapters

-LED lights

While most devices that use PoE are low-power devices like those listed above, there are some higher-powered options available as well. These include things like video walls and wireless LAN controllers.

Alternatives to Power over Ethernet

There are a few different ways to provide power to devices over an Ethernet connection. One is to use Power over Ethernet (PoE), which delivers power through the Ethernet cable. Another option is to use a separate power supply that connects to the device through a power adapter.

If you’re looking for alternatives to PoE, there are a few options available. One is Power over Wireless (PoW), which delivers power wirelessly using either RF or magnetic induction. This is a newer technology and isn’t as widely available as PoE.

Another alternative is to use a solar panel to power your device. This option is best for devices that are used outdoors or in other locations where there is plenty of sunlight available. Solar panels can be connected directly to the device or they can be used to charge batteries that then power the device.

Finally, you can also use a fuel cell to power your device. Fuel cells convert chemical energy into electrical energy, making them a clean and efficient way to powering devices. However, fuel cells are still relatively new and expensive, so they aren’t yet widely available for consumer use.


In conclusion, PoE standards are a great way to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of power over Ethernet. Not only do they make it easier to deploy connected devices without having to worry about additional wiring requirements, but they also can reduce energy costs, improve network efficiency, and allow for remote troubleshooting. With their continued evolution of improved standards, Power over Ethernet is becoming an increasingly popular solution for powering all kinds of electronic devices in homes and businesses around the world.


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