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Senior Editor

Empowering the network

Mar 12, 20032 mins
MobileNetwork SecuritySmall and Medium Business

* The IEEE's proposed 802.3af standard

Is there an easier way to link your IP phones or wireless access points to the corporate LAN? Lots of people think that a proposed standard making its way through the IEEE will do just that.

The IEEE 802.3af specification defines a method for supplying power over Ethernet cabling that should ease deployment of IP telephones and wireless access points, and reduce the cost of powering the devices. Powering an IP phone or wireless LAN endpoint over a Category 3 or 5 Ethernet cable should help make business IP telephony phone systems more resilient and make it easier to set up an 802.11X LAN, because it eliminates the need to run power and network lines to wireless LAN endpoints, experts say.

Currently in draft status, the standard is expected to be ratified by June.

According to our Technology Update author this week the IEEE’s proposed 802.3af standard involves delivering 48 volts of AC power to small networked devices – such as IP telephones, wireless LAN endpoints and networked kiosk terminals or video cameras – over four- and eight-wire unshielded twisted pair cabling.

Traditionally, IP phones have required two connections: one to the enterprise LAN and another to the electrical AC network. Other network devices, such as wireless LAN access points, laptop computers and Web cameras, also have required both types of connections. Given the increasing quantity of LAN devices being installed in corporations, wiring AC connections for each of them is a costly task.

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