Spotlight: Power Over Ethernet

October 21, 2016

Power over Ethernet, or PoE for short, is a technology that is decades old. Ethernet cable has been around for over 40 years now. PoE refers to when both data and low voltage DC power are provided over the same Class 2, Category 5, or better, ethernet cable. The techniques for delivering power over ethernet have been standardized via the IEEE 802.3 family of standards. The newest standard, still under development, is intended to provide for greater energy efficiency and delivery of up to 100 watts. So why are so many people talking about PoE lately?  

There are a number of factors:

1. PoE offers substantial cost and labour savings

2. More power than ever before can be delivered over ethernet cables

3. There are more low power devices than ever before on the market, including LED lighting

4. These devices are sensing and controllable

5. These devices can be networked together

6. The data these devices generate can be uploaded into the cloud for further analysis that can return both greater energy savings and operational business efficiencies

Taken together, all of these advancements represent a huge business opportunity for electrical contractors as the world moves towards an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).  

What sort of devices?

Here is a list of 10 types of devices that represent work opportunities for electrical contractors:

  1. sensors
  2. controls
  3. lights
  4. Wi-Fi systems
  5. Li-Fi systems (data communication through light)
  6. network routers
  7. communications
  8. audio
  9. video
  10. security

What sort of functions? Here is a list of 10 functions that PoE devices can provide:

  • lighting
  • temperature
  • humidity
  • data
  • safety
  • access control and threat detection
  • occupancy
  • energy efficiency
  • operational effciency
  • location services

It’s not too late if you haven’t begun looking into low voltage work opportunities. Low powered device offerings and related services will continue to rapidly grow over the coming years. 

 

For more information on PoE, see the following online resources listed below: 

The last two articles were published in 2008 and are a bit dated, but they are still a useful primer.

 

This article was first published online by National Electrical Contractors Association, Business Development: www.necanet.org/contractor-resources/hot-topics/topic/article-view/neca-bizdev/2016/08/16/spotlight-power-over-ethernet.

 

 

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