Simplicity: PoE uses standard CAT 3 or CAT 5 Ethernet cables and is no different than installing a typical network – the only specialized equipment needed is a PoE-compliant switch. Powering devices over the network eliminates the need for separate data and power cables, significantly simplifying the installation and maintenance of networked devices. In addition, a centralized power supply for the power sourcing equipment (PSE) eliminates the need for each powered device (PD) to have its own AC-to-DC converter or uninterruptable power supply (UPS).
Flexibility: With the option to install virtually anywhere, PoE technology allows for a scalable and flexible networking infrastructure. Using PoE, you can place PDs where they are needed, which may or may not be near existing power sources. Because devices no longer need to be located near an AC outlet, individual devices and even entire measurement systems can be moved and adapted to suit the changing needs of an application.
Cost Savings: PoE cuts expenses on two fronts: network installation and energy management. Taking into account materials, labor, and installation time, wiring costs can vary between as much as tens and hundreds of dollars per foot. You can potentially cut this cost in half by requiring only one wire (or cable) to be routed to each device. However, you can realize even larger savings through effective energy management. Most enterprise class PoE switches support the simple network management protocol (SNMP), which gives network administrators the ability to remotely monitor and manage power consumption of PSEs. For example, PSEs and PDs may be put into low-power or sleep modes during off-peak hours during the night or weekends. Rather than have a separate power supply for each device, centralized dynamic power control in a PoE network is analogous to a mini smart grid – you can design for power efficiency.
Reliability: PoE enables centralized power back-up solutions using UPS, which ensures the reliability and availability of powered devices. When each PSE is combined with a UPS, a network is fully optimized for continuous operation, virtually eliminating power interruptions and downtime. During a power failure, a UPS continues to provide power to the PSE, which in turn continues to power the PDs. Furthermore, a combination of SNMP and control logic can troubleshoot, restart, shutdown, or put measurement equipment into a safe state if the need arises.