Power over Ethernet, or PoE, refers to a networking feature that allows network cables to carry electrical power and data through twisted pair Ethernet cabling . As a result, a single cable can serve a dual purpose by providing data connection as well as electric power to a wide range of devices. However, there isn’t a one size fits all PoE solution for every device. There are many different types of PoE switches to suit the unique requirements of different applications. Understanding which type of PoE networking switch best suits your application is essential to ensure you choose the right type to satisfy the vital power requirements of your network. If you’re wondering “what are the different types of PoE?” continue reading to learn about IEEE 802.3af, 802.3 at, and 802.3bt.
Benefits of PoE
There are many advantages of power over Ethernet. For example, PoE allows professionals to install remote or outside equipment without connecting to AC power to deliver power to several locations without installing additional electrical infrastructure or several power outlets. PoE is also highly cost-effective as it allows you to use one cable for both power and data transmission, so paying to purchase and run multiple cables isn’t necessary. In addition, PoE makes it easier to expand and install a network and is also highly efficient and responsive.
In terms of industrial environments, specifically, PoE facilitates the transfer and distribution of large amounts of data and power to key locations. It also enables the effective monitoring of automated equipment and employee behavior through sensors and IP cameras. As a result, you can better document safety compliance, better ensure accuracy, improve inventory tracking, and monitor temperature changes to ensure optimal safety and efficiency in an application. Due to these benefits, PoE applications can power a rapidly increasing amount of IoT connected devices which now exceeds eight billion devices.
Currently, there are four different PoE types: Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, and Type 4. We can categorize such types based on a variety of features, such as the standard they use, their port power, and the devices one can use them for. The power per port for the different types of Ethernet ports will largely determine which type best suits your application. Below, you will find detailed descriptions on the various nuances of each power over Ethernet type or the PoE standards.
PoE Type 1
- Name: PoE, 2-Pair PoE
- Standard: IEEE 802.3af
- Maximum port power: 15.4W
PoE Type 1, also known simply as PoE or 2-pair PoE, comes from the original IEEE 802.3af standard that came to completion in 2003. Type 1 PoE uses two pairs to connect several different types of lower-powered devices to a network. When utilizing PoE Type 1, it can provide 15.4W of DC power to each PoE port and up to 12.95W of power for each device. Examples of devices that PoE Type 1 can support include static surveillance cameras, wireless access points, and VoIP phones. It supports Cat3 cables or better.
PoE Type 2
- Name: PoE+
- Standard: IEEE 802.3at
- Maximum port power: 30W
Like PoE Type 1, PoE Type 2 also utilizes 2-pair PoE. Its basis is the PoE+ or IEEE 802.3at Ethernet standard, which the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers released in 2009. The 802.3at vs 802.3af is a very common question amongst PoE types, so this should help explain the difference. IEEE 802.3at delivers up to 30W of power at the port level over an Ethernet twisted pair cable and up to 25.5W of power to each device. It connects higher-powered devices to a network such as PTZ cameras, RFID readers, video IP phones, and alarm systems. Because it is backward compatible, however, it can support the types of devices typically supported by PoE Type 1 as well as devices supported by PoE Type 2. It supports Cat 5 cables or better.
PoE Type 3
- Name: 4-pair PoE, 4P PoE, PoE++, UPOE
- Standard: IEEE 802.3bt
- Maximum port power: 60W
Also known as 4-pair PoE, 4PPoE, PoE++, or UPoE, Type 3 PoE uses all four pairs in a twisted-pair copper cable to deliver power at the PD—unlike Type 1 and 2 which only use two pairs. This higher level of PoE adheres to the IEEE 802.3bt standard which came out in 2011. As such, it provides up to 60W of power to each PoE port and up to 51W of power to each device. Examples of devices that these higher levels of power support include multi-radio wireless access points, PTZ cameras, building management devices, and video conferencing equipment. It supports Cat5 cables or better.
PoE Type 4
- Name: Higher-Power PoE
- Standard: IEEE 802.3bt
- Maximum port power: 100W
Commonly known as Class 4 PoE, higher-Power PoE, and Type 4 PoE offers the highest power capabilities of all PoE types currently in existence. This PoE type helps satisfy the growing power requirements of network devices and IoT. Conforming to the newest IEEE 802.3bt standard, Type 4 PoE delivers 90W of power from the PSE and up to 70W of input power at the PD to each device. However, it has the potential to supply a maximum of 100W of power per port if necessary. Due to the high quantities of power that it produces, Type 4 PoE or PoE Class 4 can support extremely power-hungry devices such as laptops and flat screens. Supported cables include Cat5 cables or better.
To help your industrial PoE switch network run as smoothly as possible, Antaira Technologies offers a wide range of reliable and innovative industrial networking solutions to ensure the efficient movement of data in several different application environments. We are an industrial networking communication and technology manufacturer dedicated to continuously developing reliable, cutting-edge solutions to all the challenges your industrial network faces. Our products include PoE media converters, PoE managed and unmanaged switches, industrial wireless devices, industrial USB hubs, and other specialty solutions. For more information regarding our innovative power over Ethernet products, contact us today to learn all about our PoE devices.