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Introduction to PoE standards

PoE standards define the methods used for transmitting electrical power over twisted-pair Ethernet cabling. The most common PoE standard is IEEE 802.3af, which was released in 2003 and provides up to 15.4 watts of power per port. Other PoE standards include 802.3at, which was released in 2009 and provides up to 30 watts of power per port, and 802.3bt, which was released in 2018 and provides up to 60 watts of power per port.

PoE standards are important because they ensure that devices that are powered by PoE can receive the correct amount of power and operate safely. They also ensure compatibility between different devices and equipment from different manufacturers.

The Different PoE Standards

PoE comes in a few different standards. The most common are 802.3af and 802.3at, but there are also emerging high-power standards like 802.3bt. Here’s a quick rundown of the different PoE standards and their advantages:

802.3af: The original PoE standard, ratified in 2003. Provides up to 15W of power per port. Advantages: Widely supported by network equipment vendors; low cost. Disadvantages: Limited power budget may not be enough to power some devices; can cause interference with sensitive electronic equipment if not installed properly.

802.3at: An improved version of 802.3af, ratified in 2009. Provides up to 30W of power per port. Advantages: More than doubles the power budget of 802.3af; can provide enough power for even the most power-hungry devices. Disadvantages: Higher cost than 802.3af; can cause interference with sensitive electronic equipment if not installed properly.

802.3bt: The latest and greatest PoE standard, still in development (expected to be finalized in 2018). Provides up to 60W of power per port, using new “Type 3” connectors and cabling. Advantages: Can power even the most demanding devices; no risk of interference with sensitive electronic equipment. Disadvantages: Not yet widely supported by network equipment vendors; higher cost than earlier

Which Standard is Right for Your Network?

When it comes to Power over Ethernet (PoE), there are three different standards that are commonly used: 802.3af, 802.3at, and 802.3bt. So, which standard is right for your network?

802.3af: This is the most common PoE standard and is supported by a wide range of devices, including many phones, cameras, and access points. It can provide up to 15W of power per port.

802.3at: This standard is also known as PoE+ and can provide up to 30W of power per port. It is compatible with a limited number of devices but offers twice the power of 802.3af.

802.3bt: This is the latest PoE standard and can provide up to 60W of power per port. It is only compatible with a handful of devices but offers four times the power of 802.3af.

So, which PoE standard is right for your network? If you have devices that require more than 15W of power, then you’ll need to use either 802.3at or 802.3bt. If you have devices that require less than 15W of power, then you can use any of the three standards.

Advantages of Using Power over Ethernet

There are several advantages of using Power over Ethernet, or PoE. Perhaps the most obvious is that it can provide power to devices that are not near a power outlet. This can be especially beneficial in locations where power outlets are scarce or difficult to access, such as in outdoor settings.

Another advantage of PoE is that it can simplify installation by eliminating the need to run separate power cables. This can save time and money, as well as reducing clutter and making for a neater installation overall. Additionally, because PoE delivers power directly to the device, there is no need for an external power supply, which can further save space and reduce costs.

PoE also offers greater flexibility when it comes to powering devices. For example, if a device needs to be moved to a different location, it can simply be unplugged from the PoE port and plugged into another – there is no need to reconfigure or install new wiring. This flexibility can be particularly useful in dynamic environments such as classrooms or conference rooms where furniture arrangements often change.

Finally, PoE can provide a measure of redundancy and reliability since it delivers power directly to devices rather than relying on an external power source. If there is a power outage, devices that are powered by PoE will continue to operate as long as there is an active Ethernet connection – something that cannot be said for devices that rely on AC power.


Power over Ethernet has changed the way we think about powering devices. Understanding their different standards and advantages is critical in order to make an informed decision when purchasing network gear, as each standard offers unique benefits depending on the application. We hope this article provides a helpful overview of PoE and it’s various standards so you can select the perfect one for your needs.

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