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You may have come across the term Power over Ethernet or, more likely, the popular acronym PoE when researching Voice over IP (VoIP) or any other networking topic; but what exactly is PoE? The best answer is that: Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology for wired Ethernet LANs (local area networks) that allows the electrical current necessary for the operation of each device to be carried by the data cables rather then by separate power cords.

In other words, instead of having to plug two cables into your device i.e. a network cable and a power cable, you only need to plug a single cable. The advantages of PoE include

PoE can be used to power more than just the phone on your desk. It can also be used to power other network enabled technology such as Access Points, Routers, IP Cameras, modems, switches, embedded computers etc. There is an IEEE standard which governs PoE, namely 802.3af, which means that, in theory at least, any PoE enabled device should work on any PoE enabled network.

So how do you enable your network for PoE? By installing Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE) which, nine times out of ten, will be your switch. Your switch is your network’s brain. It attaches all your devices together and makes the network work. As all of your (wired) devices are connected to your switch anyway, it makes sense to ensure that your switch has PoE. If you have a large or complex network note that the device to be powered must be directly connected to the PSE. You cannot plug a hub (or another non PoE switch) into your PoE switch and then the device into the hub and expect the device to receive power.

For a list of babblevoice approved switches and routers please see the supported routers page of the wiki. If you want to upgrade your network to PoE then please contact your reseller.

The babblevoice team

By Antoine Lever, Apr 27, 2015