Power Up Your Network Efficiently: Selecting the Right PoE Standard (PoE, PoE+, PoE++)

Selecting PoE, PoE+, and PoE++ solutions

In today’s digital age, the demand for efficient and simplified network management is higher than ever. Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology addresses this need by integrating power and data transmission into a single Ethernet cable. This eliminates the need for separate power supplies for your network devices such as security cameras and VoIP phones, simplifying installation and reducing cable clutter.

Did you know? PoE eliminates the need for individual power outlets, simplifying installation and reducing cable clutter. It delivers power and data over a single Ethernet cable, streamlining network management.

But with different PoE standards available (PoE, PoE+, and PoE++), choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. This guide will demystify PoE standards, helping you select the perfect solution for your network needs.

Understanding PoE Standards: Power Levels and Capabilities

Power over Ethernet (PoE) standards define the maximum amount of power a PoE switch can deliver to connected devices. It’s important to understand the capabilities of each standard to make an informed decision. Here are the three main PoE standards:

PoE Standards
  • Standard PoE (802.3af):
    • The original PoE standard, also known as 802.3af, provides a maximum power output of 15.4 watts.
    • This power capacity is suitable for basic network devices, such as standard VoIP phones and low-powered access points. It’s perfect for setups with modest power requirements or those that don’t involve high-power devices.
    • However, devices with higher power demands, such as advanced security cameras or certain types of access points, might struggle with Standard PoE due to its lower power output.
  • PoE+ (802.3at):
    • PoE+ or 802.3at is a significant upgrade from the original standard. It delivers up to 30 watts of power, nearly double that of Standard PoE.
    • PoE+ can power a wider range of equipment, including security cameras with advanced features like pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) functionality and IP phones with integrated display screens.
    • This makes PoE+ a versatile choice for various network setups, and it’s currently the industry standard for many PoE devices.
  • PoE++ (802.3bt) – The New Standard:
    • The latest iteration of the PoE technology, PoE++ or 802.3bt, is a true powerhouse that delivers a staggering up to 100 watts of power, depending on the subtype.
    • This substantial power capacity makes PoE++ ideal for powering high-definition security cameras equipped with artificial intelligence features, advanced wireless access points, and even thin client computing devices that require a significant power source.
    • PoE++ comes in two types: Type 3, which delivers up to 60 watts, and Type 4, which offers the full 100 watts. When selecting a PoE++ switch, it’s important to consider both your current and future network needs to ensure your setup can handle potential upgrades and new devices.

Also Read: The Future of PoE Networking: What’s Next for this Growing Market?

Choosing the Right PoE Standard for Your Network

Choosing the optimal PoE standard for your network is a critical decision that depends on various factors. Here’s a further elaboration on what should be considered:

Right PoE Standard for Your Network
  • Power Requirements of Your Devices: It’s vital to assess the specific wattage needs of every individual network device. This analysis will determine the minimum PoE standard that will effectively power all your devices. It’s not just about current needs – consider any devices you might want to add in the future as well.
  • Planning for the Future of Your Network: If you have plans to upgrade to devices with greater power requirements in the future, it will be necessary to opt for a PoE+ or PoE++ switch. These switches can handle the higher power needs of more advanced network devices. It’s important to keep your network adaptable to evolving technologies.
  • Cost Evaluation: While Standard PoE switches are generally the least expensive, PoE++ switches come with a higher price tag due to their increased power capabilities. It’s important to balance your budget with your power needs. Remember, investing in a more powerful switch now could save you from needing to upgrade too soon.
  • Compatibility with Existing Infrastructure: Ensure that your network devices and cabling are compatible with the chosen PoE standard. Most modern devices and Cat5e or higher cabling will work seamlessly with PoE. Compatibility checks should include not just your devices and cables, but also any software systems that your network interacts with. Always verify compatibility to avoid potential network issues.

In addition, consider the potential impact of your chosen PoE standard on network speed and reliability. Different PoE standards might perform differently in terms of data transmission rates, so it’s important to choose a standard that won’t slow down your network.

Lastly, consider seeking advice from a network professional or consultant. They can provide valuable insights into the best PoE standard for your specific situation based on their knowledge and experience.

Also Read: The Guide to buying industrial PoE switches

Additional Considerations for Designing a PoE Network

While selecting the appropriate PoE standard is critical, there are additional factors to take into account for a smooth PoE network experience:

  • PoE Switch Capabilities:
    • When choosing a PoE switch, ensure it has an adequate PoE budget – the total power available for PoE devices. This is crucial as it determines how many and what type of devices your switch can power simultaneously.
    • Assess the number of PoE ports the switch has. It should have enough ports to accommodate all your current PoE devices as well as any potential future additions.
    • Some PoE switches come with prioritization features. These features can be beneficial during overload situations, as they ensure that critical devices receive power first. These could be devices that are crucial for your network’s functionality or devices that are more sensitive to power interruptions.
    • For smaller network deployments with limited PoE needs, consider the use of PoE injectors. These devices are a cost-effective alternative to full PoE switches and allow for the addition of PoE functionality into existing non-PoE switches. This can be a beneficial solution for networks that only need to power a small number of PoE devices.
  • Network Cabling:
    • The type of cabling you use in your network is another important factor. Make sure you’re using PoE-compatible cabling, such as Cat5e or higher. These types of cables can properly deliver power to your PoE devices.
    • Cable length can impact PoE performance. The longer the cable, the more likely it is to experience power loss. This is due to resistance, which increases with cable length. If your network involves longer cable runs, make sure to account for potential power loss and consider whether you might need a higher power PoE standard to compensate.
    • Additionally, keep in mind the quality of your cables. Higher-quality cables often result in better performance and can more effectively handle the power and data transmission requirements of PoE.

Also Read: Powering Your Security Cameras with PoE: A Guide to Choosing the Right Cameras and Switches

Powering Up Your Network Efficiently

Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology provides a streamlined and efficient method for powering your network devices. This innovative approach integrates power delivery and data transmission into a single Ethernet cable, reducing the need for numerous power cords and making network management more efficient.

Selecting the most suitable PoE standard for your network — whether it’s PoE, PoE+, or PoE++ — is crucial for optimal performance and scalability. Each standard has a different maximum power output, so understanding the power requirements of your devices will help you make the right choice.

Standard PoE (802.3af) provides up to 15.4 watts, making it suitable for basic network devices, while PoE+ (802.3at) offers up to 30 watts, allowing it to power more advanced devices. For high power devices, PoE++ (802.3bt) delivers up to 60 or 100 watts depending on the type.

By choosing the appropriate PoE standard, you not only ensure that your current network operates efficiently, but you also future-proof your infrastructure. As technology continues to evolve and new devices with higher power demands are introduced, a network designed with the right PoE standard will be better equipped to handle these advancements, thus ensuring longevity and return on investment.

Also Read: POE vs. Non-POE Switches: What’s the Difference?


Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology has undeniably revolutionized network design, offering a cleaner, more efficient, and more streamlined way to power network devices. By integrating both power supply and data transmission into a single Ethernet cable, PoE standard eliminates the need for separate power cords and reduces cable clutter. This integration not only simplifies installation but also makes network management more efficient. With the correct PoE standard in place, whether that be PoE, PoE+, or PoE++, you can precisely cater to the power demands of your current and future devices, creating a network that is both scalable and future-proof. As technology evolves and new devices with increasingly higher power demands are introduced, a network designed with the right PoE standard will be better equipped to handle these advancements, ensuring longevity and a strong return on your investment.

Ready to simplify your network management and eliminate the power cord chaos?

Impulse CCTV offers a wide range of PoE solutions to meet your specific needs. Explore our PoE switch selection and connect with our expert team for personalized recommendations.

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