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Senior Editor

Ethernet Alliance study finds Power over Ethernet issues

News Analysis
May 13, 20203 mins

Reliability, connection issues, failure to deliver power traced to interoperability issues with Power over Ethernet.

Network Networking Ethernet
Credit: Martyn Williams/IDGNS

Four out five users experience challenges with power over Ethernet (PoE) deployments, according to a new survey of nearly 800 Ethernet designers, manufacturers, resellers, system integrators, network operators and others.

Conducted by the Ethernet Alliance in January, the study  found a number of key PoE insights, including:

  • Four out of five users experienced issues, including support, reliability, or connection challenges.
  • The top three PoE installations are cameras and phones, as well as computing and storage devices;
  • Of customers planning to implement PoE 63% said they would need 30w; 47% would need between 30-60w and 27% need greater than 60w.

With the global market projected to grow to $2 billion by 2025, PoE remains a wellspring of lucrative opportunities for designers, systems integrators, and solutions providers, David Tremblay, chair of the alliance’s PoE Subcommittee, and system architect for Aruba, said in a statement. “Despite this good news, there are significant challenges that could threaten PoE’s growing adoption.”

According to the survey those chief PoE challenges include, vendor support, unreliable power or operation, long repair times, and first-time connection issues.

The Alliance reported that while 78% of respondents experienced difficulties with PoE deployments, 72% expect improvement with products certified through the Ethernet Alliance’s PoE Certification Program. The study found 84% said they expect certified PoE devices would be more likely to work the first time, and 85% expect those devices to be more reliable.

“Lacking a registered trademark, the use of the term ‘PoE’ is not formally regulated, allowing any vendor to freely describe products and solutions as PoE-enabled. Additionally, terminologies such as ‘PoE+’, as well as non-standard PoE implementations are causing confusion with device interoperability among technicians, designers, and end users,” the Alliance stated.

Experts say the single greatest challenge for PoE  is assuring interoperability.  Multivendor interoperability is Ethernet’s hallmark and it’s an important consideration for consumers who want to know the gear will just work, while industry players need a way to find new partnership opportunities with companies offering certified equipment, the Dell’Oro Group said.

“With the diversity of application, come interoperability problems which dictate the need for testing and certification,” said Sameh Boujelbene, Senior Research Director for Ethernet Switch market research at Dell’Oro.

Certified Ethernet Alliance products range from component level Ethernet evaluation boards, to power-sourcing equipment, enterprise switches, and adapters.

Ultimately the Ethernet Alliance’s Power over Ethernet (PoE) Certification Program is the place customers should look to enable faster PoE installations with zero interoperability issues, Tremblay said.

A number of key Ethernet vendors including Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Analog Devices, Texas Instruments, Microsemi and others are part of the certification program.

Details about certified products are available via the program’s public registry.