Power over Ethernet is in your future: Special Report

By Paul O'Shea, Editor, Power Electronics News


Imagine arriving early to work and you walk into your office and the door automatically unlocks and the lights in the hallway that lead to your desk light up and your computer starts bringing you to where you left off the night before. Well, we aren’t quite at that point but we are getting closer especially with the implementation power-over-Ethernet (PoE). The PoE technology is barely a dozen years old becoming a standard about 2004, but it has blossomed into a significant technology since its inception. What does it do? It’s a technology that enables the transfer of electrical signals and data over cables, thereby avoiding the usage of separate power cords. Power is supplied through two or more differential pair of wires seen in Ethernet cables. The PoE chipsets help transfer data signals and save the cost for setting up separate network of cables. These chipsets target voice-over-IP (VoIP) phones, proximity sensors, Ethernet switches, wireless radio access points, and pan-tilt-zoom security cameras.

Typical PoE devices

Typical uses for PoE



Presently, security cameras and IP phones are showing tremendous growth, while wireless LAN access points are also showing growth because of the ability to connect without needing wired connections to AC outlets. Increase in adoption of IP telephony has driven the demand for PoE chipsets, according to the report, Global Power over Ethernet chipsets Market. Rise in the deployment of network security cameras and Ethernet-based RFID readers will further boost the global PoE chipsets market. Introduction of industrial Ethernet PoE solutions is expected to contribute significantly toward the expansion of the market. The overall market has an opportunity to grow in the near future, with the rising popularity of PoE for digital signage. Introduction of upgraded PoE plus is anticipated to propel the applications of PoE in high-power devices. Deployment of PoE technology could be slowed down because it doesn’t come free, and can require high capital investment infusion for electrical and data infrastructure. Lack of awareness about the benefits of the technology and insufficient power requirements can also impede the global PoE chipsets market. On the upside, when integrated into application and switching infrastructure, the PoE technology offers reduced deployment costs and increased control and monitoring capabilities across large enterprises and businesses. The global PoE chipsets market is increasing at different rates across the four key regions of Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. Due to the availability of technologically advanced infrastructure, North America has been contributing significantly toward the growth of the market. In the near future, according to the report, Asia Pacific is expected to emerge as a potential market for PoE chipsets, as a large number of players are operating in the region.


This PEN special report takes you from a macro to micro view of the PoE industry with an interview with the experts from Linear Technology, a specific use case from Cree about providing lighting in buildings, and the selection challenges for semiconductor devices used in PoE and IoT devices.


Other possible uses for PoE



The PoE experts weigh in  

The transition to a new IP infrastructure is creating opportunities for advanced technology that didn’t previously exist. Listen in as Heath Stewart, Design Center Manager and Jeff Heath, PoE Product Line Manager for Linear Technology, Santa Barbara, CA, provide you with a historical background to PoE and then drill down to specific applications and the standards that support them. The LTC managers get into the need for higher power, the challenges faced by PoE designers, and even touch on the possibilities of PoE for automotive applications.



PoE leads to better connections

Building structures often have several network silo systems that operate independently – fire, HVAC, lighting, video cameras, wireless access points, and others. Often, each system operates on an individual network, requiring an individual language and expert to manage and control. With new advances in IP infrastructure, isolated networks no longer have to be the norm. Cree discusses the evolution of intelligent lighting and how Power over Ethernet (PoE) unlocks the potential of what can happen when information technology and operational technology converge, particularly in new construction. PoE uses standard Ethernet cables to carry both power and data, which can replace more expensive AC wiring infrastructure while networking LED lights and a complement of sensors. This creates a convergence that allows multiple building systems to unite into one network. The transition to a new IP infrastructure is creating opportunities for advanced technology that didn’t previously exist. Find out what the future possibilities of connected lighting will be.




Ensure power transfer safety and performance

As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a mechanism for power delivery as well as data, editor Steve Ohr say we would do well to remember the role played by galvanic isolation. Essentially it serves a barrier between one power domain and another ― and a safety net for new applications requiring higher voltages and currents. Isolation ICs protect circuits from high common-mode transients and faults and eliminate ground loops. They are commonly used in industrial communications and medical applications, as well as in computer servers (power supplies) and switching networks. Digital isolators are replacing optocouplers in many applications because they offer the same signal isolation capability while reducing power requirements and using less board space.

To get better efficiencies for power many designers are looking at wide band gap technologies like GaN and SiC, which enable higher frequencies, smaller designs, and higher densities, but at a price – high-speed switching transients. Learn what several manufacturers are doing to minimize the effects of transients, and why you should care when developing solutions for PoE designs.




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  • Steve Taranovich

    I remember when PoE came about in the early 2000’s when I was at TI. We had a physically huge reference design to demo the concept as Marketing engineers did a demo at Lucent Technologies in New Jersey.
    As in any new technology architecture, the engineers wanted to know what other large companies were considering it for possible deployment, but the new technology definitely piqued their interest.