Keeping an eye on PoE
within security end-equipment
How a new IEEE standard and easy-to-use technology are making Power over Ethernet one of the top
power management IC categories.
By Thomas Lewis, Texas Instruments
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is forecasted to experience one of the highest compounded annual growth rates (CAGR), in the power management IC category, over the next five
years, according to IHS. Driven by the demand for ease of
installation across multiple end equipment, and lifted by a
planned new IEEE standard to ensure interoperability at per
port power levels greater than 25. 5 W at the PD, the technology is poised to experience an explosive growth curve only
rivaled by the period shortly after initial introduction in the
2003 to 2007 timeframe, according to IEEE.
Power over Ethernet’s core benefit is delivering a convenient
power delivery method dealing with large scale system deployments (like WAPs, cameras and IP phones) at lower installation
costs compared with traditional AC installations. One of the
original cons of the standard, when it was first published in 2003,
was the decision to limit the current sent across the CAT- 5 cable
to 0.35A over two pairs (instead of the possible four). Combined
with other parameters of the standard, this limited the total power
delivered at the end of a 100-m cable to 13 W.
Four years later, under pressure to extend PoE’s ease-of-instal-lation to higher power levels (and given enough deployments and
data to ensure safety), the IEEE committee began work to publish
the current “at” standard which raised that level to 0.6 A. Well,
the clock continues to tick and here we are again—four years
after the last revision looking to raise power levels of PoE once
again. (Note: The IEEE is currently forecasting a publication date
Applications for engineers
In addition to forecasted growth in traditional PoE end equipment spaces of IP phones, IP security cameras and wireless access
points (WAP), the ability to push PoE power levels to 40 W, 60 W,
or even 80 W is opening entirely new load applications for the
technology. Some of the possibilities, and in many cases – early
adopters, are shown in Table 1.
Several of these proposed new applications have the same core
characteristic of their PoE predecessors—a centralized data hub
connected via Ethernet cable to 4, 8, 12, 24 or 48 system deployments of remote loads.
In addition to this call from new applications, existing PoE end
equipment continue to push power boundaries of the exist-
ing standard as new features are adopted. With IP phones, the
addition of telepresence via built-in monitors is driving the need
for power past the 25.5W limitation. WAPs, with their increased
need for higher bandwidths and faster processing times, are
becoming more power hungry as well. However, of the traditional
PoE end equipment segments, the IP Security system is the one
most excited by a proposed push through the 25.5-W ceiling.
Propelled by a strong indigenous growth of IP Security systems
in general, this market is projected to enjoy an outstanding 25-
30 percent growth in PoE IC adoption over the next five years,
according to IHS.
A remarkable aspect of this market inflection point is that
growth is forecast to come from both sides of the cable. On the
sourcing side, an increasing number of network video recorder (NVR)
vendors are recognizing the value of plug-and-play installations
and are pulling PoE sourcing capabilities into the units themselves. Dwindling in number are designs that connect cameras
directly to AC power sources and/or very expensive Ethernet
switches. As the demand for smaller video security systems
become more ubiquitous, the appeal of these turnkey systems
continues to grow.
On the delivered side, newer, power-hungry features are
finding their way into more main stream models and creating the
need for > 25.5-W loads. These new features include pull from:
1. increased analytics “at the edge” such as tamper detection
and/or motion detection;
2. higher resolution;
3. infrared capability;
4. advanced motor control;
5. internal heating elements (to prevent lens condensation).
25.5W > x < 50W Examples > 50 W Examples
Zero/thin client terminals Lighting ballasts
Point of sale terminals Wireless backhaul receivers
Trading turrets Sound systems & electric guitars
Security LCD panels Industrial controls
Network attached storage Medical monitors & test equipment
Table 1. PoE opportunities at power levels greater than today’s IEEE802.3at