What is PoE Technology and its IoT Deployment Benefits?

What is Power Over Ethernet (PoE) and How Does it Work? 

Power over Ethernet or PoE is a system in technology that is mainly used for IP cameras but now becoming more ubiquitous with the advent of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. PoE allows for both power and ethernet to pass through on a single cable, eliminating the need for two cables on a device. The ability to use a single cable to pass both power and data stems from a phantom power technique that provides greater flexibility for data transmission speeds from: 10BASE-T; 100BASE-T; 1000BASE-T (gigabit ethernet); 2.5GBASE-T; 5GBASE-T; and  10GBASE-T. In order to create a network of PoE, power is passed through cabling from a power sourcing equipment (PSE) to a powered device (PD). There are three modes for this—Mode A, Mode B, and 4-Pair (See graphics below) Mode A is similar to the technique of phantom feeding where both power and data are carried on the same wire whereas Mode B uses the alternative wires to carry power. 4-Pair also is a new standard that uses all 4 wire pairs to carry power and data.  

3 PoE Standards and its Definitions from (IEEE-S) 

802.3af 2003 (2 pair PoE) 

  • 15.4 watts/device max and  with 12.95W available power budget to  support simple devices such as VoIP phones, simple sensors, and stationary IP cameras.  
  • Data  throughput  limited to 100Mbps in  two different modes 
  • Mode A  delivers power on the data pairs of 100BASE-TX or 10BASE-T (see Figure 1)
  • Mode B -  delivers power on the spare pairs (see Figure 1)

802.3at 2009 (PoE+)  

  • 30.8 watts/device max and with 25.5W power budget to support RFID sensors, complex surveillance cameras, biometric sensors, tablets, and LCD screens.  
  • Data Throughout limited to 1000 Mbps or 1Gbps  in two different modes 
  • Mode A -  delivers power on the data pairs of 100BASE-TX or 10BASE-T (see Figure 1) 
  • Mode B -  delivers power on the spare pairs  (see Figure 1)


Figure 1 - Image credit: berkek.us

In the last few years, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is slowly introducing and testing a new mode called 4 pair transmission or 4PPoE which provides power using all four pairs of a twisted-pair cable. By increasing the amount of power transferred, it opens the door to new applications as more devices and sensors are being connected in the growing world of IoT and intelligent smart devices. 

802.3bt  20198 (UPoE / 4 pair PoE) with Type 3 and Type 4 Power Levels 

  • Type 3:  60 watts/device max  and with 50W  power budget to support laptops, information kiosks, and office management systems 
  • Type 4:  90-100 watts/device and with 80W power budget to support laptops, computers, televisions, and video conferencing. 
  • Data throughput  is 10Gbps, 10x speed increase  
  • Mode 4-Pair – delivers power on all  four pairs of wires (See Figure 2)
  • Backwards compatible with 802.3af and 802.3at PoE standards 


Figure 1 - Image credit: berkek.us

4 Major PoE Benefits 

  • Flexibility and scalability- PoE devices only require one cable instead of two. This allows PoE devices to be placed areas without power and can easily be repositioned. More devices can easily be added and adjusted.  
  • Time and cost savings- it reduces the need for the installation of electrical power cabling and outlets. PoE can be used over existing copper telecom infrastructure, making installation even easier for scaling IoT networks. 
  • Safety- Less electricity cabling is used and PoE devices are usually lower voltage. PoE delivery is also intelligent, and designed to protect network equipment from overload, underpowering, or incorrect installation.  
  • Reliability- POE power comes from a central compatible source, rather than distributed adapters. It can be backed-up by an uninterruptible power supply or controlled to easily disable or reset devices.  

Examples and Use Cases of PoE Applications  

PoE devices can be utilized in many environments and industries. The most common PoE devices are IP cameras, which only require a local area network and not a local recording device, and VoIP phones. PoE can also be used as public address systems or intercoms and RFID and biometric wireless access control pointsWith higher power PoE, larger devices can also be connected such as POS kiosks, laptops, computers, digital signage, and touchscreens. They can be used in various applications throughout multiple industries.  

Smart Building Using PoE 

In an office setting, as outlined in this video (https://www.siemon.com/solutions/intelligent-buildings), PoE makes an office smarterSensors are placed throughout the office, controlling cameras, computers, wireless access control points, and other devices. LED lights are equipped with motion and environmental sensors and can detect natural light and room occupancy. An example of an office that has embodied PoE is The Edge in Amsterdam, whose main tenant is Deloitte. The Edge utilizes an app that connects with roughly 28,000 sensors all powered by PoE.  

Smart Manufacturing using PoE 

PoE can also be applied in an industrial setting. Sensors and IP cameras can help monitor activity in assembly lines, loading docks, inventory rooms, and other areas without power. RFID can also track shipments and vehicle fleets, optimize routes, and cut costs associated with inefficiencies in logistics. Using higher power PoE such as Class 3 or Class 4 allows for more powerful surveillance and sensors for manufacturing and logistics that will transform automation. Rugged servers and switches that enable PoE can also be utilized in rugged environment for more PoE applications in Industry 4.0. 

Smart Security and Surveillance in Bus Transit Systems  

PoE will also change bus transportation and other transit systems. By outfitting stations and buses or subways with a multitude of sensors and cameras, it will allow for public transportation to react to data in real time. Sensors can detect if maintenance is required and if the bus is not properly working, allowing for better solutions.  Sensors can also communicate with other traffic sensors and alert all types of transportation vehicles with real-time updates. Traffic lights and parking garages are also increasingly outfitted with sensors to ease congestion in peak times. Passenger safety will also increase as PoE sensors and cameras offer live video monitoring through network video recorders (NVR)The videos are also stored in a secured server that also allows for embedded metadata tagging and elastic search tools for videosmaking it easier for future video retrievalDriver access control can also be installed with PoE, verifying the driver through wireless identification facial recognition or a camera. Using RFID and sensors will allow for passenger wireless access onto the vehicle, causing less build up and more efficient filing of passengers.  

PoE in the future of smart cities and IoT 

As data become more valuable from its connected sensors, one real world application that will see immediate benefits is smart cities and its entire infrastructure development. Not only will it revolutionize public transportation but every aspect of the city from how people shop to how people eat. RFID and other sensors will soon be outfitted throughout a city to communicate with each other and ultimately communicate with individuals through smart phones and other smart wearable technology for emergency updates. These use case examples are a great area where PoE technology provides a platform to connect separate networks and allow creation of an integrated technology ecosystem that will eventually culminate into the next generations of smart cities.

PoE Modules for Industrial pc and  Rugged Edge Computers 

Premio PoE/LAN Modules: 4 port, 8 port , and 16 port

Premio’s industrial pc computers and  rugged edge computers are designed to support power over ethernet ports up to the 802.3at standard (PoE+) and can power multiple PoE devices up to 30.8 watts/device.  These compact fanless embedded computers offer a wide range  of configurations in 4 port, 8 port, and even 16 ports PoE  modules  that can  be connected to  IoT devices and sensors for a variety of computer applications.