Tech basics: What is PoE and how can it help in my office?

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Tech basics: What is PoE and how can it help in my office?

There is a potentially cheaper way to run cables to Internet gadgets in your home office, like a wireless access point or VOIP telephone. Here is a basic introduction to Power Over Ethernet.

PoE, or Power Over Ethernet, is a way of delivering power to devices connected to your network by using network cabling rather than a connection to mains power.

Not every device is designed to get its power via PoE. However, I have a couple in my office that can take advantage of this useful technology.

My VoIP telephone and office security camera both rely on their Ethernet connection to be useful. In the case of the security camera, the cost of running power as well as data makes the installation more complex and expensive. However, running a single Ethernet cable is much easier and less costly.

Similarly, with the phone, being able to run it from a single cable makes installation easier.

Many wireless access points can also be operated using PoE.

In order to use PoE you need two main elements.

  • Devices that can receive both data and power through their Ethernet port
  • A network switch that can deliver power

If you're looking to use PoE it's important to understand that not every network switch supports this feature. Also, PoE switches use more power than similar, non-PoE devices but the overall energy can be lower than if your other peripherals use their own mains power supplies.

And while PoE switches are dearer than standard ones, the additional cost is offset by the reduced cost of needing to run power cabling to your devices.


What is PoE? Power over Ethernet delivers power to devices over your network cabling.


  • Easier cabling
  • Reduces clutter
  • Overall cheaper deployment as no power to run


  • Switches can cost more


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