Regulatory compliance key when working with PoE

Businesses investing in power over Ethernet infrastructure need to closely stick to regulatory standards.

By Donna Donnawitz
January 25, 2012
Many businesses are moving quickly toward power-over-Ethernet technologies in an effort to simplify cabling deployments and improve efficiency. However, a recent EE Times report explained that businesses should carefully weight how they go about deploying PoE technology and ensure that they carefully follow regulatory guidelines. Otherwise, the risk goes well beyond fines, as non-compliant PoE infrastructure can create a major safety hazard.

The news source explained that the advantages of PoE are substantial, giving businesses improved efficiency, more flexibility and enhanced management capabilities by allowing them to send power over CAT 5 cabling or more advanced copper wiring infrastructure. Currently, the solution is even more powerful than it once was, as standards bodies have developed solutions that allow up to 60 watts of electricity to be transmitted over four cabling pairs. This represents a major improvement over past standards that limited deployment to two pairs.

The problem is, according to the news source, that organizations are deploying PoE so enthusiastically that many are turning to cutting edge or substandard, but less expensive, solutions that create major risks.

The report said that PoE solutions are emerging that promise to deliver 100 watts of power, with some even offering 200 watts per port. While these PoE options may represent the future of the sector, deployment models have not been standardized and there are currently gaps in the infrastructure that could create operational problems. For most technologies, businesses can deal with those issues with in-house solutions. In the case of PoE, glitches or inadequate processes can lead to fires, power surges and other major safety risks that most organizations simply cannot afford to take.

However, there is good news within all of this. The news source explained that standards bodies are already hard at work developing regulations for PoE solutions that deliver more power to end users. Instead of rushing to deploy advanced infrastructure, the report said businesses should stick to established standards for now and take advantage of higher wattage solutions as official guidelines emerge.

The benefits of PoE are substantial in a variety of operational settings. By putting power on the Ethernet line, businesses no longer have to plug devices into an electrical outlet, they only have to connect the CAT 5 or CAT 6 cable to routers, computers and other similar end user platforms. This allows organizations to more flexibly add capacity to their offices and setup operating environments in a manner established by working requirements, not cabling limitations.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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