Power over Ethernet got a breakthrough when the tech industry launched the first high-power POE standard. Unlike the conventional standards, the high power option delivered enough wattage to power almost all business systems, including LED lighting and point of sale terminals.

Since then, small and big businesses have increasingly used PoE to enhance efficiency, cut costs, and improve security. By 2026, technology researchers believe that PoE will have a market value of $922 million, up from 2021’s $243 million.

But is high-PoE worth it? Read along to understand what it is and the benefits of implementing it into your regular business operations.

What Is High-Power PoE?

High-PoE is the most current standard of Power over Ethernet. As the name implies, the standard delivers 100W, sufficient for power-hungry systems like video phones, computers, point of sale systems, digital signage, laptops, and LCD screens.

The Hi-PoE standard is an advancement of the traditional PoE, which delivered around 15W of power. Its limits were to power low-energy systems like wireless access points, VoIP telephones, and IP cameras.

A Brief History of PoE

Power over Ethernet is not a new technology. It has been around for several decades. However, at its initial stages, companies used proprietary hardware, an issue that limited the use of PoE to just a few corporations. Moreover, the early standards of Power over Ethernet delivered low wattage of around 15.4 watts. It was less helpful for enterprises using high-power systems.

The PoE technology got more traction around 2003 when IEEE started standardizing PoE hardware. The organization, in collaboration with PoE hardware manufacturers, set a framework to make universal PoE products that overrode the limitations of proprietary hardware.

At first, IEEE and relevant authorities standardized 802.3af, a PoE standard that delivered up to 13W of power. Businesses use the PoE standard for many applications, including door access control units, IP cameras, and VoIP telephones.

While the 802.3af standard worked perfectly, it had one limitation: The 15 watts of power were insufficient to power and interconnect heavy power consumers. As a result, many enterprises shunned it since it was less helpful.

Later, technicians developed other standards like IEEE 802.3at, which provided around 30 watts, and IEEE 802.3tb type 3, which delivered 60 watts. The two standards made PoE more popular since they powered moderate power consumers like thin clients and door access systems.

Around 2018, IEEE approved the latest Hi-POE, IEEE 802.3bt type 4 standard, which delivers up to 100 watts of power. With this standard, enterprises can interconnect and power almost all networking equipment like computer monitors, digital signage, and point-of-sale systems.

What High-Power PoE Brings to the Table

Since Hi-PoE brings 100 watts of power to the table, enterprises can run most systems that need power and data connectivity, eliminating the need for two cabling systems, one providing energy and the other data connectivity. Besides eliminating the need for two cabling systems, this PoE standard facilitates industrial automation, the Internet of Things, and digital security.

Industrial Automation

In the past, businesses shied from automating systems since they were expensive. For instance, the companies had to do separate wiring for power and data connectivity, which was costly and labor-intensive.

Businesses can power sensors, human-machine interfaces, and other systems used in automation with a single ethernet cable — no more spending huge sums of money to automate various industrial processes.  

Internet of Things (IoT)

As Grant Notman once said, “The IoT is removing mundane, repetitive tasks, enabling more people to do more rewarding tasks and leaving the machines to do the repetitive jobs.” True to his words, IoT has become a significant player in various business processes.

Enterprises use it to facilitate data sharing, automate services, and improve multi-channel communication. Hi-POE provides the power and connectivity needed by IoT-ready devices like point-of-sale devices, laptops, and IPads to function optimally.

Digital Security

Security is one of the earliest places where PoE was put to use. Businesses use it to power low-energy IP cameras and alarms. Still, today, Hi-PoE plays an essential role in digital security. It powers advanced systems like access control systems, security control systems, and ID scanners.

Enterprises prefer this technology since it reduces the need for two cabling networks, one for electricity and the other for data. The duo-purpose ethernet cable network minimizes the labor costs of installing security systems.

What Are the Applications of High-power PoE?

With a power output of 100 watts, high-PoE is great for power-hungry systems used in office settings. It is an alternative to the less reliable 802.3af standard, which produces just 15 watts.Some of the typical appliances powered by Hi-PoE include:

  • LED lighting.
  • PTZ network cameras.
  • Building access control systems.
  • Information kiosks.
  • Point-of-sale (POS) systems.

What Are the Benefits of High-Power PoE?

Besides powering and interconnecting power-hungry equipment in smart buildings, businesses, and homes, the current Hi-PoE standard offers multiple benefits over its predecessor standards. The most notable merits include:

Flexibility

Hi-PoE is not just for powering systems that consume more electrical power. But, businesses can use it to power PoE-ready network systems that consume low power, like VoIP phones, surveillance cameras, WIFI routers, and other systems that comply with IEEE PoE standards. It will not blow up the electrical appliances.

Scalability

Since high-power PoE is now standard, you can use it with any other PoE-ready switches, splitters, hubs, and extenders from whichever company. The scalability allows enterprises to shop around for better hardware deals without worrying whether they will be compatible with their existing PoE system. 

Time and Cost Saving

 Using ethernet cabling to supply power, Hi-PoE eliminates the time and money companies would have spent doing separate wiring for electric power and data collection. In addition, the cabling system reduces the clutter associated with having several cables at the workplace.

Reliability

A few years ago, enterprises thought that Power over Ethernet was unreliable. That’s because it delivered low wattage, which powered just a few gadgets. However, that is not the case nowadays. High-PoE is a reliable source of power and data connectivity, powering almost all equipment used in a standard business setting.

Conclusion

High power PoE is an upgrade of the 15-60W standards, which powered low to moderate power consumption PoE-ready devices. This current standard, IEEE 802.3bt type 4, gives up to 100 watts of power, enough to run most systems in a typical business setting.

It is ideal for powering LED lighting, access control systems, point-of-sale systems, and PTZ network cameras. Appropriately used, High Power over Ethernet enhances digital security, improves automation, and reduces business expenses.

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