Power over Ethernet (PoE) is ideal for supplying a variety of networking, AV and computing devices without the need for an outlet or adapter. It also reduces the amount of building material required to power and connect a device to a network by allowing a single cable to provide both services.
No longer confined solely to VoIP phones and security cameras, powered devices are increasingly calling for PoE connections; and these devices are requiring higher power levels. Wireless access points, digital signage, videoconferencing systems and laptops all require an increasing amount of power running through their cables. In fact, a new PoE standard, IEEE 802.3bt, supports up to 100 W of power per cable.
However, higher power levels running through a cable can cause performance issues by making the cable hotter; and when the cable gets hotter, insertion loss increases. This increases the chance of a business experiencing productivity-draining downtime and may also damage the cable itself.
The type of cabling selected can make a major difference in terms of how heat inside the cable is managed, as well as how it impacts performance. Category 5e and Category 6 cable can be used to support PoE devices, but Category 6A is preferable for a number of reasons.
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