Integrated Systems: The Power Equation and PoE

Many in the security industry are waiting with baited breath to hear what really is developing with the new Power over Ethernet (PoE) Plus Standard, slated for ratification sometime in 2009 (although some hint that date may change). Others express little concern as to when the PoE Plus Standard will be available but instead choose to focus on its benefits and how to leverage the technology for their users. Some believe there is a debate raging over PoE and others still are creating their own standards instead of abiding by the one that already exists. Still, there are others who do think PoE is pretty black and white—that the technology that allows users to leverage the existing network and now, accomplish more functions than ever, PTZ for cameras, etc. says it all. We’ve gone straight to the experts on this topic to give you the answers you need to know.

Is there something beyond PoE Plus?

Power over Ethernet, defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as standard 802.3af has been around since about 2003. Most recently, there has been a lot of buzz in the industry about the new PoE Plus Standard, which is supposed to provide up to 30 watts more power to each network device, up from the 12.95 and 15 Watt range that many PoE devices are using right now. The goal is to provide greater power for surveillance applications using cameras supporting PTZ, access control systems and more. At the recent ISC West show in Las Vegas, some were already speculating that the ratification of the new PoE Plus standard may end up being pushed back a year. Although there has been no formal announcement from IEEE announcing such a delay, some in the industry are not brokenhearted over the news.

“Right now, IP is viewed as more favorable in the industry than PoE,” said Alan Forman, president of Altronix, Brooklyn, N.Y. “We want to be there when it [PoE] is small so that we have time to help develop the products. And when PoE really does take off, we’re going to be ready for it.”

Some even speculate that it won’t stop there--that there will be a standard that offers even more power beyond that of PoE Plus. Increasing technological developments including card readers and door keypads, temperature and pressure sensors that are IP equipped and driven from a PoE connection will become more present into 2010, according to Bob Martin, manager of Marketing and Business Development, EtherWAN Systems, Anaheim, Calif.

What causes the misconception?

There is no denying that PoE is crucial—you need power for video on the network. Yet, it is not uncommon for the majority of manufacturers or PoE product developers to forgo the general standards when it comes to PoE. For many in the industry right now, this just adds to the confusion, causing many to misunderstand what benefits the technology offers as well as all the application possibilities.

According to Paul Koebbe, strategic sales executive-Security, Henkels & McCoy (H&M) Networks, Maryland Heights, Mo., there is confusion over PoE versus power over copper. “The folks who are running analog video over unshielded twisted pair (UTP), companies which are putting the transceivers out there that allow us to run analog video over structured cabling, are frequently putting power on that cabling as well. There is a bit of misconception in the industry that this is PoE--and in reality, it’s not,” explained Koebbe. “PoE follows a very defined set of rules that occur as the device powers itself up. One of the things that people see is power coming over that RJ45 jack in structured cabling and they automatically assume that it’s PoE, but it’s not.”

Standards are established so there is a common base to work from. But according to Joe Burke, president and CEO, Quasar Technologies, Kennesaw, Ga., the problem with those standards is that they aren’t always consistent with the requirements of the application.

“The other issue is that PoE was slowly progressing and didn’t really move fast enough for a lot of the manufacturers, so they went ahead and engineered what they thought the PoE should be,” commented Kevin Leary, director of Technology, Quasar Technologies. “They created a market and now have this huge legacy base of products that don’t adhere to today’s technology.”

Others contend there is no debate about PoE or the benefits of delivering power and data over a single structured cable. According to Altronix’s Forman, “the simplicity of installation and ability to centrally manage power for networked devices is readily apparent.”

Luckily, companies are aware that not all IP devices are PoE-enabled and are providing the solutions to power those networked devices.

Debuting their new PoE midspan solution during a press dinner at ISC West 2009, Altronix recently unveiled NetWay, a solution for IP products.

“We’re looking forward to having our products installed on the network so we can save the installers’ time and money,” said Forman as he presented Altronix’s complete package of PoE solutions to the press corps attending the function.

Netway delivers a solution for IP video systems in eight- and 16-port configurations that accommodates both PoE and conventional IP cameras, including networked PTZ devices. The Netway line-up also includes a single-port midspan injector; repeater to extend the range an additional 328 feet; and 15- and 30-watt adapters for fixed or PTZ cameras.

The overall message is clear: PoE is a solution aimed at reducing dependency on new cable and lowering overall installation costs while providing power over the network. Standards and new solutions will continue to develop—what’s certain is that integrators will be able to use them for their customers and add value to system installs.

Go Get It
Here are some selected PoE providers:

This list may not be representative of the entire PoE market.

Altronix
American Fibertek
Aventura Technologies
Ditek
EtherWAN Systems
Fluke Networks
HD Communications
Microsemi (formerly PowerDsine)
Patton
Phihong USA
Quasar Technologies
Stealth Labs
Tyco Electronics (AMP Netconnect)

 

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PoE Products

Ditek Corp., Largo, Fla., released the DTK-MRJPOE and DTK-RM12POE surge protectors for PoE systems. The MRJPOE protects single devices such as PoE cameras and access control keypads while the RM12POE protects injectors, midspans and networking equipment. It can also serve as a patch panel and wire management system with built-in surge protection. For more information, visit www.ditekcorp.com.

EtherWAN Systems, Anaheim, Calif., unveiled a line of commercial, Web-managed Ethernet switches with PoE capability. The EX17008 eight-port switch and EX17016 16-port switch provide power for IP-equipped CCTV cameras, telephone equipment or wireless access points over the same cable that carries the Ethernet signal. Both switches have internal power supplies and may be powered from 100 to 240VAC, 50 or 60Hz. For more information, visit www.etherwan.com.

HD Communications Corp., Ronkonkoma, N.Y., introduced its new In-Wall, Wi-Fi, data, VoIP and PoE device, designed specifically for the hotel, enterprise and residential markets and for locations wired for Ethernet and Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6. The HD27000 is an 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.3af PoE-compliant, wireless access point with multiple SSID’s allowing users to set up both public and private networks. For more information, visit www.hdcom.com.

Quasar Technologies, Kennesaw, Ga., released the Intelligent Ethernet Smart Switches, designed to simplify installation, provisioning, maintenance and scalability of IP networks. The Smart Switches offer Power over Ethernet (PoE) and Quasar’s “plug n’ go” multicast capabilities, provide a 10/100 or 10/100/1000 Mbps redundant optical or copper backbone. Ethernet appliances interface the network through one of the available RJ-45 ports. For more information, visit www.switch2quasar.com.

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