802.3bt and PoE

October 19, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

In 2003 the first Power over Ethernet (PoE) standard was ratified and today there are more than 100 million devices that use PoE. It is an easy to install solution that provides an integrated and safe power standard for worldwide use. PoE has been deployed in high-volume applications such a wireless access points (APs) and Internet protocol (IP) phones to allow communications equipment to be installed in locations where no AC power source is available or where adding an AC outlet would be too costly.

 

The main limitation of PoE is the amount of power it’s able to supply. Even the most recent standardized version of PoE, 802.3at, is only able to provide a maximum of 25.5 Watts of power to a device. This modest amount of power has limited PoE use in many applications that require more power. Plus, with an increasing number of devices simultaneously connecting to Ethernet networks, the need for more PoE power continues to grow.

 

To address the demand for higher power PoE, the IEEE has been working on a new standard, 802.3bt. This newest standard is slated to debut this year and aims to double or triple the power output of the current PoE standard, 802.3at. IEEE 802.3bt increases the maximum PoE power available by employing all four pairs of the structured wiring of an Ethernet cable. It delivers extended power management capabilities and enables multiple PoE classes while also being backward compatible. Additionally, the 802.3bt standard may also standardize PoE with 10Gbase-T.

 

The ability to provide higher power to end devices will drastically expand the number of applications able to use PoE. This will include high-volume applications such as point-of-sale, building management and industrial control systems. Delivering power and data on the same link with PoE will make life easier, and cheaper for design engineers who will be able to save time and money on installation when compared to running separate data and power lines. It also makes relocation of devices simple and as easy as moving a cable, rather than having to hire an electrician to move or add AC power outlets. 

 

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