Interest in Power Over Ethernet Expands

When network managers talk about ease of use, they usually focus on software and interconnections.

However, a variation of Ethernet, Power over Ethernet (PoE), is beginning to see more interest. Power is transmitted over conventional cabling, so components can be installed in spots where it’s difficult to add a power cable.

PoE saw minimal interest in automation applications when it first came out, largely because its 12-watt power limitation was insufficient for many industrial applications. But a version that delivers 25 watts was rolled out a couple years ago, making it more viable. That’s prompting users to plan for adoption, with help from suppliers who are beefing up their offerings.

“Today, its usage is fairly limited,” says Mike Hannah, product business manager for networks at Rockwell Automation (www.rockwellautomation.com). “Most applications have been in Internet Protocol cameras and wireless access points. But interest is expanding. More people are looking at it for inspection or to monitor safety zones. We’re getting ready to launch some PoE products.”

Customers prefer PoE over wireless networking alternatives because it doesn’t require batteries. PoE also provides the reliability and speed of wired connections. That’s prompting many equipment makers to expand their offerings to meet growing demand from customers.

“PoE is trickling down into industrial applications, it really is plug and play,” says Ken Austin, Ethernet marketing specialist for Phoenix Contact (www.phoenixcontact.com) of Middletown, Pa. “We’ve seen companies go from using it first for wireless access points. Now entire phone systems are based on PoE and many RFID [radio-frequency identification] readers use PoE. We’ll be coming out with more PoE support products in 2013."

>> Read Automation World's complete coverage on faster control operations: Switching to More Efficient Networks

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Total Cost of Ownership

Sign up to receive timely updates from our editors and download this E-Book Special Report to learn how to calculate the true Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for your industrial machinery.

newsletters
Don't miss intelligence crucial to your job and business!
Click on any newsletter to view a sample. Enter your email address below to sign up!
News & Analysis
Latest Automation Products
Industrial Automation Columnists
Sponsored white papers, videos and products
Oil & Gas, Chemical and More
Improve Industry Skills
Network Application of IE
Workforce Development
Technology for Discrete Manufacturing
Automation Applications & Trends
Global automation news