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PoE Defined and How to Avoid Common Issues

PoE “Power over Ethernet” has become a very common technology in today’s enterprise environments. As the demand for PoE increases, the demand for increased power goes up as well. The current standard of 802.3bt provides up to 71W. It’s important to validate that the expected Power is being supplied by the PoE.

Today, PoE is powering many mission-critical devices, including VoIP systems, Wi-Fi networks, surveillance systems, alarm systems, IoT devices, etc. In many cases, PoE is tested during deployment by simply plugging in an AP or phone and determining if the LED’s came on. The problem with this method is it does not consider infrastructure issues. Most of which could be avoided and resolved before the network becomes active.

Some of the most common PoE issues include:

  • Cable Type is incorrect 802.3bt requires at least CAT5E
  • Bad Cabling (Opens, Shorts, Split Pair, Crossed, etc.)
  • Misconfigured PSE (Power Sourcing Equipment) i.e. Switch
  • Incompatible technologies
  • Vendor specific vs. standards compliant
  • PSE PoE budget limitations many PSE’s have a limit on how much power they can provide
  • These issues can all be eliminated during rollout of the PoE network. Various tools can help resolve these issues and headaches before they even become an issue.

Download our free PoE Reference Flyer for powered devices including the IEEE 802.3bt specifications and more.