Meeting the Challenges of PoE with Network Infrastructure
We’ve long promoted the benefits of Power over Ethernet (PoE): simple installation, by a low-voltage contractor, using the same cabling infrastructure that is already delivering data to the connected device. It simply makes sense. PoE, however, is not without its challenges. With cable, the main issue is heat rise, which can impact channel performance, but is easily addressed by using cable that is engineered to dissipate heat. With connectors, the key challenge is arcing. Like heat rise, arcing can affect network performance, and its also easily addressable by using jacks that correct for arcing.
What is Arcing?
When a twisted-pair channel is running PoE and the plug is removed from a jack, an arc (or spark) occurs between the plug contacts and the jack contacts at the point of disengagement. This is normal and happens in all PoE systems. And, because this occurs inside of the jack, it poses no danger to the technician who is unplugging the connection.
Arcing causes carbon scoring at the point of disengagement. Carbon scoring can interfere with the connection between the plug and jack, causing the link to not function if there is too much carbon build-up. The increase in current with newer PoE++ levels (960mA with PoE++, compared to 600 mA with PoE+), can lead to more severe carbon scoring. There are two methods of mitigation to combat this effect, which are depicted in the image below:
- Ensure that the disengagement point of the plug (red) is different than the location where the jack and plug mate (green).
- Or, ensure that there is sufficient ‘contact normal force’ on the jack. Contact normal force is the amount of force the jack contacts push on the plug as it is inserted. Panduit jacks are rated to 100g normal force. This ensures that as the plug is inserted, the abrasion of the plug against the contacts will remove any carbon scoring. The plug and jack contacts effectively clean each other as the plug travels from its initial contact point (red) to the final engagement point (green).
Third-Party Certification on PoE Arcing in Jacks
Panduit prides itself on developing the world’s highest quality and highest performing network connectivity products. We readily utilize third-party certifications to ensure that our customers understand that our claims are real and not just “marketing fluff.”
An official test on arcing is governed by the IEC 60512-99 series of standards. This test essentially validates that the carbon buildup does not create too much resistance after multiple insertions and removals of the plug under PoE load.
In August 2016 – more than three years ago – Panduit saw where the new PoE standard was heading and sought third-party validation that our jacks would meet the new PoE++ standard. However, at the time, the 60512-99-001 standard did not validate for PoE++, because PoE++ wasn’t in place yet. Because we’re always engineering for the future, we collaborated with the testing house to validate our jacks under the 60512-99-001 standard, but at an elevated current load that corresponded with the PoE++ currents.
Today, PoE++ is a reality, and 60512-99-002 was recently published, citing PoE++ current loads. We are excited to announce that our existing third-party certification has been updated to reflect the new 60512-99-002 standard (Test schedule for unmating under electrical load, Edition 1.0, dated March 2019).
Panduit as a Market Leader in Power over Ethernet
Panduit has been a leader in developing the industry’s best cabling infrastructure products to support Power over Ethernet. We believe in designing products that not only support today’s technologies but will also support the technologies our customers will be running in the future.
This update on our certification shows that we effectively had a third-party certification on 60512-99-002 since August 2016 – two and a half years before the official standard published! We are continually looking for ways to ensure that Panduit’s customers have the industry’s best products.