Power to the cables!

More powerful PoE standard being readied

A task force of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has completed a draft of a new standard for Power over Ethernet (PoE) that would provide more electrical power to end devices over Ethernet cabling.

The draft 3 of IEEE P802.3at has been submitted to the working group overseeing the 802.3 family of standards for technical review. Balloting on and approval of the new standard could be completed this year.

PoE allows electricity to be carried to networked devices over the same Ethernet cabling that carries data signals. The original standard, 802.3af, helped enable the use of voice-over-IP networks by providing a means of powering telephones and other end devices. Wireless access points and other devices also use this service. The new standard, dubbed PoE Plus, is intended to provide as much as 24W of power via Category 5 cables for the use of power-hungry devices, such as video phones and high-end video cameras with pan-tilt-and-zoom capabilities.

The IEEE Standards Association oversees the development of industry standards that companies use to help ensure interoperability between products by different vendors. The 802.3 working group created the PoE Plus study group in November 2004 to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of increasing the power delivered via Ethernet cabling and approved creation of the task force to develop the standard nine months later.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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