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Understanding Hi-PoE (IEEE 802.3bt)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a vital networking technology. PoE transmits both power and data over a single copper twisted wire Ethernet cable, eliminating redundant power lines and electrical outlets. Since the release of the first generation of the PoE standard (IEEE 802.3af), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has continually worked on upgrading  PoE technology to support higher power delivery. The latest PoE standard is IEEE 802.3bt Type 4,  called higher-power PoE or Hi-PoE for short. The use of PoE has increased remarkably in the past five years or so. And for good reason: PoE technology offers a reliable and efficient networking power system solution.

A Background on Power over Ethernet: PoE, PoE+, and Hi-PoE

The PoE (IEEE 802.3af) and PoE+ (IEEE 802.3at) were ratified by the IEEE  in 2003 and 2009, respectively. With these standards, organizations can connect and power network devices that require voltage up to 30 watts (W). 

However, for PoE above 30W, vendors began developing proprietary implementations (e.g., UPOE, PoE++, 4PPoE, and UltraPoE), which are non-interoperable, thus making vendor product solutions difficult.

The Hi-PoE standard is backward compatible with PoE (Type 1) and PoE+ (Type 2) standards and has significantly increased the demand for PoE products.

The difference between the various PoE standards are:

Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4
Name PoE PoE+ PoE++ Hi-PoE
Standard 802.3af 802.3at 802.3bt 802.3bt
Port Power 15.4W 30W 60W 100W
Applications VoIP phones PTZ cameras Mgmt. devices LED lighting

Hi-PoE Applications

The Internet of Things (IoT) market constantly demands more and more power. Hi-PoE can meet these needs with its 100W capability. Hi-PoE can be used in many high-power applications, such as:

  • Smart city/building infrastructure (e.g., LED lighting)
  • Retail point-of-sale (POS) systems
  • Vending machines
  • VoIP phones
  • Digital signage
  • Wireless access points (WAPs) supporting IEEE 802.11ac/ax
  • High-performance network devices: IP turrets, TVs, monitors 
  • High-definition pan-tilt-zoom (PZT) security cameras 
  • Healthcare networks
  • Industrial networks

Why is Hi-PoE important?

In short, smart buildings would be much more expensive to design and build without PoE technology. Before PoE, devices connected to Internet Protocol (IP) networks required two connections: one for power and the other for data. They also needed proximity to an electrical outlet. With PoE, a single cable provides both data and power levels up to 100W at a length of 100 meters (m). And with the use of two PoE extenders, that distance can be lengthened up to 900 feet. 

How is Hi-PoE different from the other PoE standards?

PoE (Type 1) and PoE+ (Type 2) standards deliver power over only two pairs of a four-pair Ethernet cable. Therefore, they use either pairs one and four or two and three, but not both.

The IEEE 802.3bt standard encompasses both PoE++ (Type 3) and Hi-PoE (Type 4). This standard uses all four pairs in the four-pair Ethernet cable.

What are the cabling requirements for Hi-PoE?

The IEEE 802.3bt standard calls for Cat5e Ethernet cables or higher; however, most experts agree that a Cat6A 4-pair balanced twisted-pair Ethernet cable must be used with power levels of 100W. Cat6A cabling provides the best thermal and power efficiency possible. They have less power dissipation than Cat5e or Cat6, which means the powered devices (PDs) connected to the network will receive more power.  In addition, Cat6A cables, in conjunction with a zone distribution architecture, will help create a futureproof infrastructure that supports Hi-PoE’s 100W power and higher data rates.

The Main Advantages Of Hi-PoE

There are three main advantages of Hi-PoE.

1. Flexibility and Scalability

The Hi-PoE network solution is an easy way to increase the power coverage for a network. Hi-PoE devices (such as a high-power PoE switch) are backward compatible with IEEE 802.3af/at. PoE standards guarantee that you will be able to configure PoE with various brands of network devices, as long as they are PoE compatible.

2. Savings of Both Time and Money

PoE means half the cabling than is needed for traditional electrical power installations, which leads to much lower installation time and expense. And the big bonus? There is no need to hire expensive electricians.

3. Reliability

As the scale and complexity of an enterprise network increase for applications such as smart buildings or IoT deployment, Hi-PoE infrastructures have remote power-management capabilities that support IPv4 and IPv4/6 addressing, which brings about reliable, simple, and efficient control and monitoring of powered devices (PDs).

FAQs About PoE

What is the main feature of PoE?

PoE technology’s most important feature is enabling a single Ethernet cable to transmit data and power simultaneously. PoE also allows PDs to be installed in locations that lack electrical outlets.

Does PoE damage non-PoE equipment?

IEEE 802.3af/at/bt has built-in safety protocols. PoE switches and injectors will not damage any devices, even if they are not designed for PoE applications.

How much voltage is PoE?

PoE is injected into an Ethernet cable at a voltage between 44 and 47 volts (v) DC; however, 48v is most typically used.

Can PoE power a TV?

Yes, but only if Hi-PoE (IEEE 802.3bt Type 4) is deployed.

Last Thoughts

Progressive end-users recognize Hi-PoE technology as a key asset when it comes to intelligent IoT applications. High-powered PoE power sourcing equipment (PSEs) will optimize smart PDs and repurpose them to meet the future.

PLANET Technology USA is a division of Versa Technology, and a provider of quality, cost-effective last-mile networking solutions. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube