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Environmental considerations need to be made for PoE

By Max Burkhalter
March 20, 2012
Power over Ethernet has been gaining popularity at a fairly consistent pace during the past few years, as the technology allows for much more flexible device deployment by delivering power and data through the same cable.

According to a recent EE Times report, the technology is already being deployed for a diverse range of purposes, as its ability to make AC power outlets unnecessary in certain facilities makes it much easier to develop a more efficient layout.

The improved device deployment efficiency provided by PoE is about to get a major boost, the news source said, as recently released standards detail ways that organizations can deliver even more power through PoE connections. This allows the technology to be used for a more diverse range of functions, and also extends the range of the Ethernet infrastructure. For example, the report explained that PoE can now be used to connect security cameras that need to have enough power to tilt and pan. The power delivery system can also be used to connect wireless Ethernet devices and other connectivity tools that exist outside of a facility.

The added flexibility offered by PoE does come with some drawbacks, the report said, as the rising quantity of outdoor PoE setups leaves organizations vulnerable to energy spikes created by lightning strikes, electrostatic discharge and shorts in the AC power line.

To overcome these potential problems, the PoE system needs to be deployed using specific tools and techniques that protect the infrastructure from environmental conditions. According to the EE Times, the key to safeguarding equipment from power surges and similar problems is to understand the precise amount of power that the infrastructure is capable of delivering and the quantity of electricity needed by ports on endpoints. When this information is clearly understood, organizations can install environmental protection tools that work to limit current or self-recover electricity levels and devices in the event of a lightning strike or AC power fault.

As PoE continues to become more popular, businesses need to carefully evaluate their cabling and network architectures to ensure that they are capable not only of handling data transit and power delivery rates, but of doing so in a way that meets all electric code requirements. Taking shortcuts or pushing beyond the limitations set within a standard can be extremely dangerous when working with PoE, and understanding every aspect of the network is key to properly safeguarding the technology.

Perle provides a variety of PoE Device Servers to connect serial based equipment across Ethernet and Mid-Span PoE Injectors / Media Converters to provide a cost effect solution to power one or two devices over Ethernet while transparently connecting copper to fiber.


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