Gigabit Speed & Power Over Ethernet

Gigabit and Power over Ethernet (PoE) are two networking technologies moving ahead in tandem as industrial users power remote Ethernet devices such as IP security cameras at 1,000 Mbps over existing CAT5 cable. The move to gigabit performance is also ramping up, in general, as users look for ways to strengthen their network infrastructures.

"The overall trends in the marketplace are the move to high speeds and Gigabit operation," Shane Duffy, fiber and telecoms product manager for B&B Electronics told Design News. "Video applications and other network consumers are playing a role in the need for speed and, with the price point of the Gigabit products coming down, it enables users to future-proof their network."

Duffy told us:

It depends on the application scenario to identify the real drivers behind Gigabit adoption, but it is pervasive at this point and most users implementing a new network will put in Gigabit products. But especially with high-definition security cameras, they are pushing enough imagery and detail that they need the higher speed to be available.

B&B Electronics, following its acquisition of IMC Networks in June 2012, has launched the next generation of its PoE and PoE+ media converters featuring gigabit (1,000 Mbps) speed. As power source equipment (PSE) devices, the new converters can power remote, high-bandwidth devices that require gigabit speed over existing copper wire infrastructure (CAT5 cable or better) concurrently with the Ethernet data stream. High-bandwidth-powered devices include pan-tilt-zoom, IP surveillance cameras, plant equipment, VoIP phones, and RFID readers.

B&B offers two product lines that support both PoE and PoE+ standards. The compact Giga-MiniMc is a standalone converter with an external power supply, while the Giga-McBasic is a 1U high, standalone chassis with an internal power supply. Both product lines are unmanaged and include plug-and-play features for easy installation.

According to Duffy, the 802.3AT PoE+ standard already in the marketplace delivers about 25W of power to the end devices, but there are devices in development that will provide up to 60W. With external TV cameras on the top of a pole, many have a wiper element on them to handle harsh conditions, a bottle of water for washing the lens on the camera, and a heater to avoid condensation issues, all of which are drawing more power.

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