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Life has never been easier with smart home technology, from lightbulbs that turn on when we step into the room to smart security devices. With the development of more and more smart devices, there is a rising demand for cheaper and faster access to the internet with less disruptions. As a result, manufacturers have shifted the supply curve towards producing PoE frameworks and their compatible devices.
To better understand PoE (Power over Ethernet), we will explain what it is, and how it works. We will also discuss the benefits and limitations of the technology. The information will help you know whether PoE is worth investing in.


What is PoE?

PoE is a technology that allows one cable to convey both power and network data. Ethernet itself is a cabling standard for printers and networking computers. The use of PoE removes the need to connect another cable for only power supply.
This is because a PoE device does not use an outlet or an adapter. Rather, it receives electric current straight from the ethernet cable connected to a Local Area Network (LAN). Power over Ethernet provides about 15.4 W DC (direct current) power on one port.

Some practical examples are:

  • Installed security cameras beside a building or on poles.
  • Wireless APs (access points) that usually hang on ceilings and walls in medical and business environments. You can click here to see more applications of the technology.

How Power over Ethernet Works

As earlier mentioned, ethernet cables convey both electric current and data. They are transmitted simultaneously through different wires in the cable. As a result, PoE devices can access both data and power from one cable.

The LAN has a switch; when it is turned on, the ethernet injector drives electricity into the cable. The device picks up the electricity, then routes it to the power supply of the device. Whenever PoE devices are connected to a LAN through an Ethernet cable, the switch automatically detects the power connection.

If Power over Ethernet is detected, power will be sent. Also, if it isn’t detected, power won’t be sent. Therefore, devices that are not PoE-enabled will only get data when connected to an Ethernet cable.

Some PoE-Enabled Devices

Many IP devices now feature PoE. The more popular devices are WAPs (wireless access points), VoIP phones, and IP cameras. Other PoE-enabled devices are:

  • LED lighting
  • Mounted radios
  • Wall clocks installed in hallways and rooms
  • Network intercom, amplifiers for hallway speakers, and public address systems
  • Network routers
  • IPTV decoders

If you want to know whether your device is PoE-enabled, check the specifications of the product or inquire from the manufacturer. You can also check out https://networkengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/14699/how-can-i-easily-tell-if-my-network-has-power-over-ethernet to find out whether your network runs on PoE.

Benefits of PoE

Although PoE means Power over Ethernet, it implies reliability, security, control, and cost-effectiveness. The devices that utilize this technology enable the creation of more automated and intelligent environments. The major benefits of PoE are:

Data Analytics

The life of a smart home is data. This makes it possible to extract information for intelligent optimizations. Because data is transmitted through the ethernet cable, Power over Ethernet software sends commands and data to devices. It also receives and analyzes data from those devices in order to provide useful insights that will further help to save costs and enhance the quality of your life.

More Control and Flexibility

After installing a PoE device, you can disconnect, relocate, and reconnect it to another PoE system without experiencing major downtimes. It also gives you more control over your smart home since data is already flowing between the connected devices. One application can control and manage several devices.


The technology saves cost as its installation is less expensive compared to traditional electrical works. Also, the cost of operation is lower when spread over the lifetime of the device. And data informs further cost-saving decisions.

Low Voltage

PoE devices can function properly even with a low voltage, usually less than sixty volts. The installation does not call for metal cladding or conduit. This makes it faster and reduces the risks associated with traditional electrical works. Overall, it reduces installation costs.

Environmental Benefits

PoE technology such as smart home lighting provides environmental benefits. It balances light colors, optimizes the level of lighting, and enhances safety. Additionally, PoE lighting drastically reduces the energy demand from devices and lights that are connected to the Power over Ethernet software. This reduces the home’s exposure to fluctuating energy costs.

A Robust and Reliable Technology

Unlike devices that rely on wireless tech, ethernet cables allow for greater flexibility and still maintain a trusted connected system. It eliminates the problem of wireless disruptions as well as permits users to include extra security features.

The Limitations of Power over Ethernet

There are a few concerns about the technology. They include:

  • Security: If the network lacks security features, hackers can easily access the devices that are attached to the network.
  • Power Failure: A single Power over Ethernet system connects to several devices. Therefore, if one of the devices experiences a power outage, it will affect the other devices.
  • Expensive Switches: The switches for PoE are not like the normal switches in homes. As a result, they are more expensive even though they save costs by combining data signals and power.
  • Wattage Restrictions: The 2003 Power over Ethernet standard limits devices to 30 watts. So, if your device requires a higher wattage, it must comply with the current standard.
  • Distance Limitation: The transmission is only possible within 100 m. if you want to connect distant devices, you must get an extender or use other methods of power supply.


Power over Ethernet is an efficient and affordable technology that is optimized for wiring devices requiring low wattages, whether the cable is carrying any data or not. PoE can save you and/or your business money and time. It also makes your IP network more flexible, thereby, reducing installation times and simplifying logistics issues.