What is PoE? PoE vs PoE+
Network Switch Configurator

Choosing the best ports for your networking device is vital for establishing a connection that works for you. Many choose to include a PoE, or Power over Ethernet port as part of their switch to help power connected devices, such as IP phones or access points.
However, with PoE ports you do have options to choose from and selecting the correct port for you and your device is an important decision. We will talk you through the pros, cons and characteristics of PoE, PoE+ and UPoE ports to help you make the best choice for you.

What is PoE?

Power over Ethernet ports provides power to your connected devices. Each different type of port provides a different level of power and a different level of control to allow for full customization of your network. A PoE port is an open standard, also known as the 802.3af Standard.  802.3af is the old standard for PoE ports issued by IEEE ( The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and provides a power level of 15.4 watts to any connected device, such as an IP phone. PoE ports will always provide 15.4 watts, regardless of if the connected device requires that level of power.
PoE ports are great for VoIP (Voice over IP Phones), as well as WIFI devices. These ports are generally cheaper and are a great choice for networks where the demand for power is lower.

PoE+ Ports

PoE+ ports are the updated standard, 802.3at. This new standard was released in 2009 and provides up to 30 Watts of power to up to 2 connected devices per port. This allows your switch to provide power to devices that require more energy, and power two devices simultaneously, allowing for greater customization in your device. The PoE+ ports also allow devices to negotiate the power levels required, providing the level of power needed for a device to function without wasting unneeded energy. This feature makes PoE+ ports more efficient than the earlier model.
Despite featuring the new standard, PoE+ ports are still compatible with 802.3af devices, making them a versatile choice for any business and providing flexibility to your network. PoE+ ports are great for powering alarms, cameras and Video IP phones as they provide more power to the connected devices. PoE+ is generally a more expensive choice for your network, however, the extra cost may be necessary depending on the devices you are looking to power.

What is UPoE?

UPoE stands for Universal Power Over Ethernet, however, this term can be misleading as UPoE ports are developed and owned by Cisco, meaning that they are solely compatible with Cisco switches. However, if your network runs on Cisco technology, it may be worth considering this switch as an option.
UPoE ports provide up to 60 watts of power to any connected device. They are also capable of powering laptops, IP phones and access points, creating an overall flexible networking option. Similarly to PoE+ ports, UPoE ports only provide the necessary voltage to a connected device, saving energy and improving efficiency.
UPoE ports are perfect for powering alarms, cameras, laptops, Video IP phones, access points and WIFI devices.
The PoE port you need is dependent on the power you need for your connected devices to function, as well as the size and scalability of your network. If you are needing a powerful port that offers the opportunity to scale your network, it is worth investing in a more advanced PoE option, such as PoE+ or UPoE (where compatible).

Techbuyer's Network Switch Selector 

You can configure your networking device to meet these needs by using our network switch selector tool which allows you to set your device requirements and select the perfect device for your business. For more information on this topic or networking in general, get in touch with our team of experts who can talk you through your options.
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