Power Over Ethernet is a Useful Tool


Power over Ethernet (PoE) has a strong business case. By carrying enough electricity through Ethernet cabling to power LEDs (and other low-power equipment), planners and energy managers gain flexibility in where these devices are located. Lights, WiFi access points and other gear are freed from the need to be near electrical infrastructure.

PoE has great potential, according to Steven L’Heureux, the Chairman and CEO of PoE vendor Igor Inc. “A PoE-based intelligent lighting network can serve as the enabling infrastructure for a range of IoT implementations that go beyond lighting and energy savings such as building automation, digital workplace and vertical applications like security and safety,” L’Heureux told Energy Manager Today in response to emailed questions.

LEDs Magazine describes Cisco’s new Catalyst Digital Building Switch. The advance, the company says, is that it sits closer to the LEDs. That means that loss is reduced and even systems become even more flexible:

The proximity reduces the loss of Ethernet-borne electricity that occurs when cable travels longer distances within a facility. Such transmission inefficiencies have deterred some potential users from deploying Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) lighting, an Internet of Things (IoT) technology that transmits not only data but also electricity via standard Ethernet cable to LED lights.

Igor and Inspired LED said in November that they are partnering. Inspired, according to the press release, is contributing its LEDs while Igor will offer its PoE software.

This week, Dataprobe added to its iBoot remote power control system line. The iBoot-PoE automatically monitors and reboots any PoE device. The self-configuring product also can act as a range extender for Poe and Poe Plus systems. This, the release says, can provide the system with extra range.

PoE is a prudent approach as the focus moves more fully toward energy efficiency, L’Heureux wrote. “Building and energy managers should pursue opportunities to apply PoE-based intelligent lighting networks to consolidate, rationalize and optimize disparate building operational technology systems to achieve overall superior facility performance and utilization.”

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