Power Over Ethernet Explained
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a modern technology which allows for electrical current to be passed over wired Ethernet LANs (local area networks) In traditional systems you would have two connections: A network connection which would transmit the images to video and monitor devices and an electrical connection which would send the necessary electricity to power the system.
With PoE this electric power is delivered through the same cables used to transmit the data over the Ethernet connection thereby reducing the number of wires required in the system. As a result PoE systems are typically seen to demonstrate greater efficiency, both in running costs, installation and maintenance. They also tend to offer a much more versatile system as they are not required to be hooked up directly to traditional electrical wires.
We’ll take a greater look at these perceived benefits here.
Increased Productivity / Reduced Costs
It stands to reason that, by eliminating the requirement for traditional electrical cabling, you are going to make a saving on material and installation costs. PoE systems don’t, for example, require an electrician to hook the system into the mains power supply. This means that in terms of both installation and maintenance you are spending less time and, by consequence, less money on your system.
As the units don’t need to be hooked up directly to an electrical outlet you can have much greater flexibility with your CCTV cameras. As the cameras are connected to the system over an IP network rather than electrical source, if you have robust Wi-Fi then you have the ability to position your cameras wherever you like, with the additional benefit of being able to quickly and easily re-position as required.
As the power for the entire system comes directly from the same, compatible, central source, as opposed to a series of connected adapters, the chance of system failure is greatly reduced. In addition, with data transferred directly across the network you have the facility to routinely backup your files so that data can be stored and protected even in the event of a malfunction.
In most advanced PoE systems there is the extra safety element in-built to the system which will shut the system down if a fault is detected in order to prevent over-loading or over-heating of the system and ensuring greater reliability when protecting the data collected.
How Does PoE Work with an IP Camera?
In order for the PoE to work you need to ensure that the electrical current and the data don’t interfere with each other when transmitted along the same cables. In order for this to happen the electrical current enters the system at the power source via what is known as an injector. This is a small component which allows the electric current to flow through the cables whilst not intruding on the flow of the data.
If all the devices (cameras, recorders etc) are PoE compatible then the system will run smoothly without any further addition or modification. If, however, a component part is not compatible – quite possibly due to the fact that you might be upgrading the system retaining some older equipment – then this can be overcome by installing what’s known as a picker which will draw off the electricity at the device location.
For those who are seeing the manifold benefits of upgrading their surveillance equipment to high definition and with the increased move towards networked CCTV systems such as you would use with an IP Camera then adopting PoE is the logical step with which to take; allowing for a more efficient, reliable, cost effective system with ever greater clarity in the images and data being collected.