The Need for Next-Generation Power Over Ethernet Copper Cabling Systems

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Power over Ethernet (PoE) is quickly becoming a widely accepted datacom networking protocol and is rapidly expanding. This expansion is enabling a range of PoE applications across the enterprise with easier and more cost-effective power solutions.

PoE represents one of the most impactful technologies to hit the enterprise network infrastructure market in recent history. This technology reduces installation costs and time by allowing power and data onto a single twisted-pair cable. PoE is installed by a single low-voltage contractor and eliminates the need for a separate electrical cable (within conduit) to each device. Additionally, PoE is a lot more cost-effective – fewer elements to install and maintain equals a lower cost.

Today, there is a vast range of PoE over twisted-pair copper cabling solutions to fit the needs of virtually any application. From trading floors to operating rooms, classrooms to storefronts, PoE over copper cabling provides the infrastructure needed to support networks and applications of all shapes and sizes.

This article assesses the need for PoE and Next-Generation PoE or PoE++, along with some key elements of this cutting-edge data communications network protocol.

The Emergence of Next-Generation PoE

In the pursuit of adding more power to broader device applications, the IEEE 802.3 standard is required to upgrade its PoE+ technology to next-generation or PoE++ (IEEE 802.3bt standard); IEEE Standards were ratified in 2018.

PoE++ can be classified into two types: Type 3 and Type 4

  • Type 3: Enables two or all four twisted pairs in a copper cable to deliver power at a powered device (PD) up to 51W.
  • Type 4: Up to 71W at a PD over four twisted pairs in an Ethernet cable.

PoE++ Connectivity

As we have learned, sometimes the hard way – when it comes to PoE++, as with any data communications network, it’s not just the structured copper cabling that counts. Having PoE++ compatible jacks, patch panels, and patch cords are essential. A network is only as strong as its weakest link. Having an end to end PoE++ compatible network components is a must to guarantee network performance and retain critical certifications and warranties.

For PoE++, the recommended standard structured copper cabling is Category 6A – that means 6A category cabling, jacks, patch cords, and patch panels across the PoE++ network. While PoE can certainly work across lower category cabling (i.e., 5E and 6), there are several reasons why Category 5/6 is not a reliable long-term solution.

Here are two reasons to keep in mind:

  • Conductor Diameter Gauge: Larger conductor diameter gauge reduces resistance and minimizes power waste because it enjoys lower temperature increases as compared to smaller-gauge Category 5e and Category 6 cables.
  • Power Loss Reduction: Less power is dissipated in a 23-gauge Category 6A cable, versus smaller Cat 5E or Cat 6 cable gauges. This means that more power is being transferred through the cable versus being used, improving energy efficiency and reducing operating costs.

6A structured cabling and connectivity next-generation PoE++ solutions ensure organizations can efficiently and reliably meet future data transmission needs. For example, with certified performance to the ISO 11801 Class EA, IEEE 802.3an-2006, and ANSI/TIA-568.2-D Category 6A standards, IEEE compatible connectivity systems can support high bandwidth applications like 10GBASE-T and HDBaseT. These applications are ideal for running next-generation PoE++, and with the ever-increasing demands of smart building construction and retrofits, this has seemingly never been more important.

PoE++ Application: Connectivity in Smart Building Networks

Additional benefits of the latest PoE++ compatible copper cabling connectivity components for smart building solutions include:

  • Alien crosstalk suppression
  • 100% performance tested
  • Shuttered and angle termination versions available
  • Interoperable

Cost Benefit Analysis

Upfront costs are greater when comparing a PoE++ network to a non-PoE++ network. However, when viewed from a total cost of ownership over time perspective, the comparative costs of PoE++ network deployment comes in at a very respectable level.

The cost of future-proofing your network will pay significant dividends for many years from both a hard cost and network viability perspective. The demands for network bandwidth and in-network powered devices will continue to expand at an ever-increasing pace – growing the need for next-generation PoE. When considering the deployment of a next-generation PoE network within a smart building or across your enterprise, make sure you select a manufacturing partner that has the rich history, expertise, depth, and breadth of next-generation PoE solutions upon which you know you can rely.

Get to know Panduit’s Mini-Com TX6A 10Gig UTP Jack Modules with MaTriX Technology

An end-to-end solution, ensuring network bandwidth needs are met today and tomorrow. Benefits include:

  • Alien crosstalk suppression
  • 100% performance tested
  • Shuttered and angle termination versions available