What is PoE?

PoE Camera

Let’s say you work for a security company and are installing cameras at a job site. When hooking up each camera, you would need to have a ethernet cable to connect the camera to network and a power cable to power the camera. What, though, if we could eliminate the need for two separate cables? Enter PoE. PoE stands for Power over Ethernet. It is a method of carrying electrical power through data cables. Since the power is supplied through the ethernet cable, a power cable is no longer necessary. How does this work?

All ethernet cables at Cat5 and above are made with four sets of internal wires. However, they use only two of these sets for data. The remaining two unused sets can act as conductors to carry power to the connected device. Neat, right? But what are the real benefits of using Power over Ethernet ?

The Benefits of PoE

Consider the types of devices that could take advantage of PoE: VoIP telephones, wireless routers, security cameras, etc. You can start to think of the benefits right away.

Flexibility – Is the benefit I think of the most. Since PoE enabled devices are not tethered to an electrical outlet, they can be located wherever they are needed most. Additionally, they are easily relocated when necessary.

Savings – If a non PoE device could not reach an electrical outlet, an electrician would have to come in to run new lines. This adds to the installation expense.

Reliability – With PoE technology there are fewer points of failure. These devices can be connected to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and then be guaranteed constant power delivery.

The total freedom in location and placement as well as being more reliable and cost efficient make PoE a great alternative to standard power options.