Power over Etherneti

Power over Ethernet or PoEi technology describes a system to transmit electrical power, along with data, to remote devices over standard twisted-pair cable in an Ethernet network. This technology is useful for powering IP telephones, wireless LAN access points, webcams, Ethernet hubs, computers, and other appliances where it would be inconvenient or infeasible to supply power separately.

Power over Ethernet is standardised in IEEE 802.3af.

Detailed Explanation

IEEE 802.3af provides 48 volts DC over two pairs of a four-pair cable at a maximum current of 350 mA for a maximum load power of 15.4 watts, although, after counting losses, only about 13 watts are available. A "phantom" technique is used so that the powered pairs may also carry data. This permits its use not only with 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX, which use only two of the four pairs in the cable, but also with 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet), which uses all four pairs for data transmission. This is possible because all versions of Ethernet over twisted pair cable specify differential data transmission over each pair with transformer coupling; the DC supply and load connections can be made to the transformer center-taps at each end. Each pair thus operates in "common mode" as one side of the DC supply, so two pairs are required to complete the circuit. The polarity of the DC supply is unspecified; the powered device must operate with either polarity with the use of a bridge rectifier.

Before applying power, an IEEE 802.3af power source first "probes" the remote device to determine if it can accept power, and if so, which pairs should be used to supply it. Two modes, A and B, are available. In mode A, pins 1&2 (pair #2 in TIA-568B wiring) form one side of the 48VDC supply, and pins 3&6 (pair #3 in TIA-568B) provide the 48VDC return. These are the same two pairs used for data transmission in 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX, allowing the provision of both power and data over only two pairs in such networks.

In mode B, pins 4&5 (pair #1 in both TIA-568A and TIA-568B) form one side of the DC supply and pins 7&8 (pair 4 in TIA-568A and TIA-568B) provide the return; these are the "spare" pairs in 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX. Mode B therefore requires a 4-pair cable.

A popular misconception is that a load (technically a Powered Device (PD)) may choose either mode A or B. This is not so. It must be capable of using both modes (although only one can be active at any one time) to be compliant with the IEEE 802.3af standard.

The supply (technically the Power Sourcing Equipment(PSE)) can implement Alternative A or Alternative B or both (but must not supply power on both at the same time). If the supply detects either an open or a short circuit, no power is applied, thus protecting devices that do not support IEEE 802.3af.


Product overview
  • Webserver
  • Automatically Control
    • Heaters
    • Coolers
    • Humidity
    • Lighting
  • Power over Etherneti
  • Universal Input
  • Contact Output
  • New Linear Output
  • New Solid State Relay Output
  • New Autotune PIDi Control
  • AJAXi technology
  • Modbusi TCP/IP
  • Graph Plotting
  • Datalogging