Today’s enterprise network is likely a converged environment, in which not just data but voice, video and other types of traffic flow over the same IP network. In these networks, the ability to support Power over Ethernet (PoE), which provides power for IP-enabled devices via the network, is a critical requirement.
The EX2200 line of Ethernet switches not only supports PoE, it is also capable of supporting the recently ratified PoE+ standard, which delivers higher levels of power for more demanding devices.
The original PoE standard (without the “+”), defined as IEEE 802.3af and ratified in 2003, specifies the delivery of a regulated 15.4 watts at the output from a Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE) device over a standard copper Ethernet network cable. The power is utilized by connected powered devices (PDs) such as VoIP phones, wireless access points (AP) and IP-based video cameras. The ability to deliver power over the same Ethernet LAN cables used to transmit data has eliminated the need to attach PDs to electrical outlets. This not only simplifies device deployment, it also lowers the cost of deployment, provides greater flexibility, and enables remote management.
The PoE+ standard, recently ratified as IEEE 802.3at, was driven by the wide popularity of PoE and the emergence of next-generation devices such as IEEE 802.11n access points, pan-and-zoom IP video cameras, video conferencing equipment and thin clients that require more power than the 15.4 watts provided by PoE. To accommodate these PDs with higher power requirements, the PoE+ specification provides up to 30 watts of power as defined in the 802.3at standard.
Naturally, the new standard will raise questions about backward compatibility and whether IEEE 802.3af will interoperate with IEEE 802.3at. In the case of an IEEE 802.3af (PoE) PD connected to an IEEE 802.3at (PoE+) PSE, the device will operate normally but won’t be able to take advantage of the PoE+ standard’s advanced power management. Conversely, when an 802.3at (PoE+) PD is connected to an 802.3af (PoE) PSE, the device will work provided it can operate within the lower power mode, possibly with reduced performance.
The EX2200 Ethernet switch supports both IEEE 802.3af devices as well as 802.3at PDs that are becoming more prominent in today’s enterprise network, delivering a complete solution that accommodates the vast majority of branch and low-density wiring closet deployments.
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