Using Internet protocol (IP) technology as a communications method, security cameras, digital signage systems, lighting, HVAC and building controls, wireless access points, desk phones and access control devices are uniting on one common infrastructure. These previously unrelated, standalone systems are now connecting to the IT network. This is why we’ve declared 2017 as the year of the digital building.

There is one technology that has been instrumental in enabling this progress. Power over Ethernet (PoE) pushes us closer to achieving truly digital buildings and automating the management, maintenance and control of building systems. The biggest benefit of PoE is its ability to use a single network cable to establish an electrical connection and a network/data connection. Without this technology, efficient IP-enabled network connections wouldn’t be possible.

But the benefits of PoE go beyond simplified device-network connections. Here are seven other benefits to consider.

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1. Real-Time Information Sharing

When IP-enabled devices are connected to the network, they have the ability to send and receive information to each other and to a central location. Each IP-enabled device is a standard RJ45 plug-and-play device with its own individually addressable IP address. The data being captured and shared allows building owners to effectively manage operating expenses, monitor maintenance needs, map system trends and pinpoint potential problems.

2. More Installation Options

Before PoE, a building’s surveillance cameras, wireless access points and other devices had to be located based on the availability of AC power access, not based on the best or most practical location.

For example, using conventional methods, locating a camera on the ceiling, up high on a wall or even outdoors could be difficult and time consuming. By removing the need to locate a device close to an AC power outlet or power supply, you experience greater flexibility in terms of where your equipment is located. The benefits of PoE allow you to make the most of your technology investments instead of compromising their performance by placing devices in less-than-desirable locations just to meet AC power needs.

And because AC power isn’t involved, IP-enabled equipment can be installed by the cabling installer.

3. Easier Scalability

Compared to conventional methods, one of the benefits of PoE is that it allows for simpler installation and distribution of network connections – which means easier scalability.

Deploying Ethernet cable and RJ45 connections is faster and more cost effective than adding additional AC outlets, meaning that more devices can easily be added whenever – and wherever – they’re needed. Want to start with a small surveillance system, but plan to add to it during a building addition in a few years? Not a problem with PoE.

4. Central Control of Devices

By using PoE to connect to the network, IP-enabled devices can be centrally and remotely controlled and managed, just like anything else on your network. Temperature, lighting levels, color temperature, digital signage content and more can be managed from a single location based on data and trends.


5. Fast-Tracked Moves, Adds and Changes

With the benefits of PoE, the days of downtime or delays due to network modifications and upgrades are gone. PoE-enabled switches and devices allow for fast, efficient moves, adds and changes with no interruption. As business expands and network requirements shift, changes can easily be made to accommodate those fluctuations.

6. Simple Set-Up of Temporary Networks

Sometimes a temporary network deployment is needed – but it’s not feasible to spend lots of time installing more power to temporarily support more devices. PoE enables fast setup and management for temporary classrooms, meetings, tradeshows and conferences, jobsite trailers and temporary office space.

7. Easier Backup

If your building’s power goes out, it’s possible that the IP-enabled devices connected to your network will lose functionality – unless an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with battery backup is deployed. PoE allows one centrally managed UPS system to back up your IP-enabled devices in the event of power loss.

Preparing Your Network for PoE

As power demands for IP-enabled devices grows, so will the demands placed on your network infrastructure. The current PoE standard, IEEE 802.3at, allows for 30W of power at the source to deliver 25.5W of power to a powered device. The future standard, IEEE 802.3bt, allows nearly 100W of power at the source to deliver 71W to a powered device.

Belden can help you design and implement a network that can support IP-enabled devices and PoE, as well as reduce downtime, improve user access and prepare you for the future. Learn more here.