Is PoE+ selling itself short?

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16.6.2015

PoE+ (Power over Ethernet) is hardly a new technology but it’s one that is yet to fully realise its potential. This is partly down to the natural gap between the unveiling of a new standard and it reaching the mass market, but the main problem is that the same people who are promoting its benefits are currently holding PoE+ back.

PoE powers more than 100 million end devices and is deployed in high-volume applications such as wireless access points (APs) and Internet protocol (IP) phones and cameras. As more and more devices connect to the network, the potential for PoE is only going to grow. While the first standard was a solid starting point, the latest access points, phones and cameras all need more power than the 15.4W previously on offer. This is particularly important today, as  802.11ac APs become increasingly popular. Hitting the market now are the latest switches from the full range of vendors, many featuring PoE+ as one of the headline features. So why aren’t more PoE+ applications taking off?

Resellers are facing a problem – they want to sell the benefits of PoE+ but the equipment just isn’t there to support them. So instead we’re seeing a compromise that ultimately suits nobody. The current situation sees vendors offering PoE+, but only on certain ports – pointing to overall power savings to justify the decision. While this might work for a business with more simple requirements, it is no use to those who want to capitalise on the latest high-powered devices.

This pattern has resulted in vendors holding back a market that they are simultaneously trying their best to promote. Resellers are forced to scale back the offer of PoE+ to customers, settling for a few devices that can utilise the extra power on offer, but that are unable to offer a full suite of PoE+ enabled applications. It is also restricting resellers’ ability to expand their portfolio and differentiate with the latest cameras, APs or VoIP systems. It has also had a detrimental knock-on effect on the reseller market in encouraging new market entrants, closing off the market to companies who currently may not specialise or even offer networking equipment, particularly in the surveillance space. As the latest cameras offer PoE and PoE+ connectivity options, this presents an opportunity for these companies to start offering the switches and equipment needed to support them.

How can businesses and resellers be convinced of the benefits of the latest cameras and access points when they’re stuck with limited access to the technology needed to power them?

The benefits of PoE+ are well documented and the technology has the potential to open up the reseller market, introducing new revenue streams for resellers and vendors alike. Yet, despite all of the extensive marketing efforts behind PoE+, current switches on the market are in fact holding the advancement back. At ZyXEL we recognise this, and that’s why our latest products offer PoE+ on all ports, as part of our intelligent power management options.