Power over Ethernet technology, or PoE, describes a system to support both the electrical power and the data over a standard network cable. This technology allows users to remotely control and power a device via one single cable. It is flexible, reliable, safe and cost-effective. In 2003, the first PoE standard IEEE 802.3af was introduced and quickly adopted by the market. The technology can most often be found in small devices such as security cameras, a wireless LAN access point, or VoIP phones. The first iteration, IEEE 802.3af (also known as AF standard) provided up to 15.4W of DC power, but only 12.95W power was assured to be available to the end device. In 2009, however, a new standard IEEE 802.3at (AT standard or PoE+) was introduced to the market, and supports up to 30W of DC power (up to 25.5W of power can be available to the end device). This means the AT standard can power a PoE all-in-one panel PC with a single network cable.
A traditional HMI system (Human Machine Interface system) typically require 2~5 different cables: power cord, Ethernet cable, HDMI/VGA, USB data cable, etc. While the maximum length of a USB cable is only 5 meter, the maximum length of a standard CAT5/6 cable is 100 meter (328 feet). With the cable length flexibility, a PoE panel PC can be mounted wherever they are needed and the installation is not limited by the location of the computer or the position of the electrical wall outlet. Imagine the convenience of installing an interactive scheduling device next to the conference room for the hundreds of rooms in your office building with only one cable to support each device, how convenient is that! PoE panel PC definitely offers the best flexibility.
A Safety First Solution
PoE devices are proven to be extremely convenient, robust and reliable, but one of the most important benefits they offer is increased safety. Electrical cords always present a safety hazard if damaged or used improperly. In order to prevent fire hazards, the NEC (National Electrical Code) even requires power outlets to be available within 6 feet of every point along the wall to reduce the need of extension cords. OSHA regulations also have strict rules about the usage of power cords and power strips for safety reasons. A PoE panel PC, which eliminates the use of additional power cords, obviously lowers the risk of tripping, fire or electrical shock hazards in public areas.
Cheaper and Easier Installation
Installation and distribution of the PoE panel PC is easy and fast, as it is powered by a single network connection and no additional electrical power cables are needed. The installation benefits don’t stop there, though, this technology also reduces the overall construction cost of installing wall outlets and embedded power lines in the wall or underground. And, most important of all, PoE devices reduce the cost of getting a city construction license for changing/adding power lines, which can be the most costly and time-consuming item in the project budget.
What this PoE Technology Means for the Future
A PoE panel PCs are extremely versatile and can be installed in an office, hotel, hospital, retail store or even campus for automation and works with both HMI or interactive digital signs (currently available in screen sizes 10”~15.6”). If you are looking for larger screens, the release of the “Ultra PoE”, which has the potential to provide 60W power, is coming soon. As the Ultra PoE technology advances, we can expect to see PoE panel PC with larger screen sizes to become available in the near future. We can also expect that the PoE All-In-One panel PC is going to greatly change the way we design, install and use panel PC in the foreseeable future. Cord clutter is an issue we experience in many elements in our lives. Be it behind our TVs at home or in the equipment in our offices, having an excessive amount of cords is an annoyance. In a business setting, though, there are real financial, space and time-saving advantages to doing something about it. For questions about how you can get started implementing PoE in your business, contact us now