Embedded Systems with Power Over Ethernet (PoE) | PoE Industrial Computers

embedded systems with PoE

Embedded Systems with Power Over Ethernet (PoE+) 

Oftentimes embedded systems are deployed in environments where it is difficult or costly to add power outlets for connected devices. Power over Ethernet, commonly known as PoE (IEEE 802.3), offers organizations the ability to power devices, such as sensors, cameras, and other devices through ethernet ports. That is, embedded systems are capable of transmitting data and power over a single twisted ethernet cable.

PoE is often used to power items, such as cameras, sensors, VoIP phones, and many other devices that support being powered over Ethernet. Deploying embedded systems that provide PoE can significantly reduce deployment costs and maintenance costs since there is no need to route additional power outlets to power up devices. Premio offers a number of embedded computing solutions that feature PoE (IEEE 802.3af), which provides up to 15.4 watts of power, and PoE+ (IEEE 802.3at), which is capable of providing up to 25.5 watts over a single ethernet cable. 

Premio embedded industrial  computer (RCO-6100) with add-in PoE modules for added device connectivity

What is Power Over Ethernet (PoE)? 

Power over Ethernet, is as the name suggests, the ability to use a standard ethernet connection to transmit power and data through a single CAT5 ethernet cable. PoE was originally used by Cisco before the first standard of PoE was released. PoE supports powering two types of devices, PSE (power sourcing equipment) and PD (powered devices). Powered devices is the standard we will focus on today because it is commonly used to supply power to almost any type of device that supports PoE, such as IP cameras, sensors, LiDAR sensors, VoIP equipment, and many other devices that support the standard. 

For example, if you want to install a security camera, using the traditional model, you would run an ethernet cable from the camera to an embedded computer to enable communication between the two devices, and you would run a separate power cable to the camera. However, if you have an embedded system capable of delivering PoE, you would run a single ethernet cable from an embedded system to the camera, and that cable will accomplish the tasks of sending/receiving data to/from the camera, as well as providing power to the camera, thus eliminating the need for two separate cables to be routed to the camera.

Why Should You Deploy Embedded PCs With Power Over Ethernet (PoE)? 

You should deploy embedded PCs that provide power over Ethernet if you’re connecting cameras or sensors to your embedded system because utilizing PoE can significantly reduce your installation costs since the cameras or sensors that are connected to your system are also powered by it, eliminating the need to run separate power cabling to the connected devices. This saves you a significant amount of money and time to run additional power cables and install power outlets close to the cameras or sensors. 

Additionally, since fewer cables need to be routed to sensors and cameras, this reduces the amount of equipment that needs to be maintained by an organization, saving you time and money in the long run.

PoE becomes critical in situations where DC power has to be run over long distances because it’s difficult, costly, and impractical in some situations. PoE provides a reliable and easy way to power devices without having to invest money and time to move power supplies closer to cameras and sensors. 

Premio offers a number of embedded systems that support PoE and PoE+ standards, allowing you to power devices via PoE and PoE+ ports. Some embedded systems can be configured with up to 16x PoE+ ports, offering organizations the ability to power up to 16 devices using a single embedded computer system.

Using a single embedded system with 16 PoE+ ports is great for organizations that want a centralized system where a single system manages up to 16 devices. However, embedded systems can also be used in a decentralized configuration, where a single embedded system provides PoE (Power over Ethernet) to a single sensor or camera. Both options are available at Premio.  

There are two main PoE standards that you should be aware of. The first standard is PoE (IEEE 802.af), providing up to 15.4 watts of electricity and data through a single ethernet cable. The second standard is PoE+ (IEEE 802.3at), which is capable of providing up to 25.5 watts of power and data through a single ethernet cable. There is a  third standard known as 4PPoE (4 pair power over Ethernet) IEEE 802.3bt, which is capable of providing 55 watts on level three and 100 watts on level four. That said, currently, most embedded PCs only feature PoE+, capable of providing up to 25.5 watts of power. 

What are the Benefits of PoE? 

1. Power & Data Over a Single Cable

The primary advantage of PoE is its ability to provide electric power and data over a single ethernet cable. Power can be delivered using either CAT5 or CAT6 ethernet cables. These cables are inexpensive and are easy to find in many commercial and residential buildings. Furthermore, power over Ethernet can be transmitted using cables that have a length of 100 meters or 328 feet. This distance applies to both PoE & PoE+. Additionally, no other hardware or electricity input is required for PoE ports to deliver electricity to connected devices.

2. High Data Transfer Speeds

The second primary advantage of using PoE is that it’s capable of providing up to 1Gbps over CAT5e and CAT6 Ethernet cables, allowing embedded computers to connect to things such as high-resolution cameras that will benefit from the high bandwidth to transfer high-resolution video feeds to an embedded system.

3. Flexible Deployment

Since power over Ethernet eliminates the need for sensors, cameras, and other devices to be connected to a separate power source, this provides flexibility in where devices can be deployed. Overall, the flexibility allows organizationsto deploy devices where they are needed the most, as well as enables them to be easily repositioned or moved around without having to worry about installing them close to a power outlet. Furthermore, flexible deployment allows organizations to deploy cameras and other sensors in remote areas by simply running a single ethernet cable from your mini PC with PoE to your camera for both power and data through a single cable.

4. Ease of Installation

Installing a PoE device is effortless; it’s as easy as connecting one end of an ethernet cable to an RJ45 LAN port of an embedded system, and the other end to a camera, sensors, or other PoE enabled device. As soon as the device is connected to an embedded computer with PoE, the device will determine whether they are compatible. If the device is compatible, it will automatically enable power to your device, providing power and data through a single ethernet cable.

5. Reduction in Installation Costs

Using cameras, sensors, and devices that utilize PoE will significantly lower installation costs. Without power over Ethernet, you will probably need to find a technician who will install outlets near the area where your camera or sensors will be deployed, costing you a significant amount of money to route electrical power to the location of the sensors or cameras. However, by installing a PoE powered device, you simply route a single ethernet cable to the sensors or camera, and you’re done. Power and data will flow through that single cable without you have to do anything else.

6. Safety

PoE uses a safe voltage according to UL standards. UL is the organization that certifies electronics for safety. Furthermore, PoE has built-in safety features that allow it to stop electricity if it detects a problem, only delivering power after a handshake process has been conducted.

7. Reliability

PoE offers reliability that you cannot find with plugging in your cameras or sensors to power outlets. This is so because some networks are configured with uninterruptible power supplies, so if a loss in power occurs, the PoE network will remain active, supplying your cameras with power. Furthermore, PoE has been developed and improved over the years, maturing into a reliable, cost-effective solution for organizations that want to quickly deploy cameras or other sensors indoors or outdoors.

Where Can I Buy Industrial Computer PCs with Power Over Ethernet (PoE)? 

Premio has been designing and building embedded systems with power over Ethernet for over 30 years in the United States. Premio offers a variety of different Embedded PCs with power over Ethernet (PoE) that range from low-powered devices that have 2x PoE ports to more powerful options that can be configured with up to 16x PoE+ ports. So, if you’re looking to buy an embedded computer system that supports PoE, Premio has you covered with a wide variety of solutions to choose from. If you have any questions about PoE industrial computers and PCs, please contact one of our embedded computing professionals, and they will be more than happy to assist you with choosing the option that meets your specific requirements.