A Revolution in Human Interaction: PoE

Innovation. Cutting edge. Game changer. Revolution. No matter what you call it, the inception is the same: Someone had a thought that was different.

These are exciting times… we’re witnessing a revolution in human interaction. Mobile devices, web connection nearly anywhere at any time, information literally at our fingertips. This onset of availability has spawned a reality in which network is the new utility.

But the truth about this reality is that it moves fast. It must; people everywhere crave and demand mobility. As an industry, we have no choice but to keep up. In fact, keeping up is probably too slow – we have to think bigger, better, more creatively. We have to envision what could be in almost any circumstance. We have to think differently.

Power over Ethernet, or PoE, is a critical element in the coming revolution. In a nutshell, PoE allows users to simultaneously send electricity and data along the same pathways. Imagine that: simplifying the system to accomplish more complex tasks. PoE saves time, money, space, and a fair number of logistical headaches. The keys are planning, and annexing the right materials.

No doubt, this is an advantageous system for network convergence and remote powering. Devices such as IP telephones, wireless access points, cameras, point of sales displays, and remote switches operate beautifully within this framework. When ratified, the new IEEE 802.3bt standard will utilize all four pairs, and deliver up to 49 watts of power to devices.  To do this, however, the right cabling system is required. The current standard of CAT 5E will only support a minimal PoE due to the limitations for powering high wattage devices; CAT 6 or 6A should be used for optimal performance.

I’m proud to say that Wisconsin is home to some impressive examples of PoE in action, including a major Milwaukee hospital that is already buying PoE Cisco switches for its entire campus.  This decision provides them the ability to provide PoE on demand, at a moment’s notice.

A number of fine businesses around the state embrace the future with our help. It’s definitely a team effort; Capital Electric partners with three of the leaders in cabling infrastructure that supports PoE: CommScope, Hubbell Premise Wiring, and TE Connectivity. Each produce the full array of parts necessary for a complete and seamless system… in fact, this is why we feature them. ‘At Your Service’ means we do the legwork, and provide the best solutions for your network development or expansion.

Watch for spotlights on these solid industry vendors in the weeks to come. I think you will be intrigued by their forays into the PoE market. I hope, like me, you will also be impressed. But most of all, I want you to think differently. Together, we just may revolutionize the way Wisconsin works.

— Mike

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