What is Driving the Growth of Power over Ethernet?

Since its introduction in 2002, Power over Ethernet has gradually gained momentum in the market. Today, PoE has not only gained market acceptance, but is being pushed to even higher power levels, as a next generation of PoE technology is on the horizon. A new PoE standard, IEEE 802.3bt – or PoE++ — is expected to be ratified in Q1 2018, and will triple the power delivery capabilities from today’s standard.

The increased power delivery means the technology can be used to power a new generation of powered devices. However, while it will be possible to run a desktop computer or television using PoE, those applications take a backseat to several more common applications that are driving the acceptance of Power over Ethernet in the Enterprise space. According to BSRIA forecast projections from September 2015, PoE to the desktop has been and will continue to be the biggest driver. In 2014, PoE powered one or more devices on an estimated 80% of all desktops. That number is expected to increase to 92% by 2020.

PoE applications

While the highest PoE usage is to the desktop, two applications are driving the uptake in PoE usage: wireless access points and security cameras. Today, about 55% of all wireless access points are powered using Power over Ethernet. That usage is projected to surge to 80% by 2020, and as more WAPs are deployed, that will, in turn, increase the amount of power that is delivered by PoE. Also driving PoE usage are security cameras. Today, about 35% of all security cameras are powered with PoE. BSRIA predicts that will grow to 50% within the next five years.

Wireless access points and security cameras are not only driving the usage of PoE, they are also the devices that are largely driving the need for the higher power levels that will become a reality with PoE++. Cameras are becoming more sophisticated, with pan, tilt and zoom features that require more wattage to properly operate. And, wireless access points are also power-hungry as they continue to evolve to keep up with wifi demands.

The Good News

So, what does this increased reliance on Power over Ethernet mean for your structured cabling installation? For the most part, it is good news! Today’s cabling can support the new power levels. There are factors that need to be addressed … like temperature rise, but they are easily addressable using the standard copper cabling infrastructure that is on the market today. Our Technology Brief: Power over Ethernet with Panduit Copper Cabling spells out some of the common issues that need to be addressed when deploying PoE, or watch our on-demand webcast: Delivering Tomorrow’s Power over Ethernet with Today’s Cabling and Connectivity.

 

K.I.S.S. for Better Network Planning and Increased Collaboration

Collaboration between Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT) is becoming a necessity to design and deploy an industrial network architecture that follows IT best practices for security, high availability, and quality of service.

However, skills gaps still exist between IT and OT that can jeopardize effective planning and configuration of the physical and logical network fabric, especially at the switch level.  In the words of Panduit Solutions Manager Dan McGrath, “My contention is that two kinds of switches are found in many plants today: (1) unmanaged and (2) poorly managed!”

Dan makes a point worth considering, as unmanaged switches are often deployed to enable quick initial startup of the machine or process.  However, this short-term gain can turn into a long-term loss when the time comes to scale more nodes or integrate single machines into the wider factory network, in the form of increased time and materials costs.

Deploying managed switches is a definite step up, but can give plant teams a false sense of manageability and security. If managed switches are deployed as plug-and-play devices without attention to configuration and setup, IT/OT directors may be left with a network that works on Day 1 but is teetering on the edge of functionality or with major security flaws.

To update a famous acronym, I think there is a better approach that IT and OT teams can follow that will drive better network planning and increased team collaboration:  Know, Integrate, Simplify, and Standardize, or K.I.S.S.

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Increase Your Industrial Networking IQ

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”   -Albert Einstein

To capture your share of the value of the Internet of Things for manufacturing ($3.88 trillion for manufacturing), rethink how you deploy your industrial plant networks.  Too many existing industrial networks are full of security holes with poorly executed physical infrastructure that threaten downtime, quality and even safety.  The thinking about networking for the factory floor needs to evolve and simplify.

Leverage expertise and thought leadership to improve your industrial networking IQ and greatly reduce your installation time, risk and costs.  Here are three resources to help you progress: Continue reading

Internet of Things: Claim Your Share of $3.88 Trillion

Hello and welcome to the first entry of the Industrial Automation Solutions blog. We are looking forward to engaging you with perspectives of industry trends and business drivers.  We hope to discuss ideas and insights around industrial network and control systems infrastructure that can help you leverage latest technologies and design methodologies, to help you improve the effectiveness of your operations and increase your business agility and competitiveness.

Industrial IP Advantage Internet of Things (IoT) Infographic

Internet of Things (IoT) Infographic (courtesy of www.industrial-ip.org)

One of the biggest challenges faced by companies today is the ageing and obsolescence of operational systems and networks. Continue reading