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Power over Ethernet gets boost with new certification, products

A new certification program for power over Ethernet has produced the first 37 certified products, aiming to boost multi-vendor interoperability in PoE.

Craig Chabot, manager for wireless and power over Ethernet testing services groups at the University of New Hampshire’s InterOperability Lab — which performed the certification testing for the Ethernet Alliance’s certification program — noted in a piece for Machine Design last year that PoE has essentially become a catch-all term for cabling that delivers power as well as data transmission and reception and there are many different PoE implementations, both standardized and proprietary types, that may or may not be compatible with each other.

“When it comes to how PoE works from a user’s standpoint, the general term ‘PoE’ could actually represent any number of different, incompatible technologies, which has led to considerable market confusion,” Chabot wrote. The Ethernet Alliance launched its certification program late last year to address this by putting together a baseline for interoperability and a logo to “provide a simple and easy way for users to identify what PoE products will work with each other and promote interoperability in the marketplace,” Chabot wrote.

The first test event for the program, which is based on IEEE’s 802.3 PoE specifications, was held last October at UNH-IOL (another PoE-focused plugfest is scheduled for next month for pre-standard 802.3bt, which is expected to support power delivery of up to 90 watts via existing Ethernet cabling). The initial crop of PoE certified products are dominated by Analog Devices, with 19 of the 37 offerings. UNH-IOL also certified products from Aruba Networks, Cisco, Texas Instruments, Huawei and Microsemi. The products themselves range from component-level evaluation boards to power sources to power sourcing equipment enterprise switches, according to Ethernet Alliance.

“Multivendor interoperability is Ethernet’s hallmark and an important consideration – consumers want to know their products will just work, while industry players need a way to find new partnership opportunities with companies offering certified equipment,” said Tam Dell’Oro, founder and CEO of Dell’Oro Group. “The global Ethernet PoE switch market is surging, with 750 million PoE-enabled switches and hundreds of millions of devices expected to be delivered over the next five years. With participants representing some 60 percent of PoE-enabled switch ports shipped worldwide, this program is a boon to both end users and the Ethernet ecosystem. Consumers can buy PoE solutions with greater confidence in their multivendor interoperability, and industry stakeholders have a valuable new avenue for forging critical business relationships.”

Image copyright: zeferli / 123RF Stock Photo

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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