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Power over Ethernet – Electrifying your data

If data can be carried over power lines, why not transmit electrical power over networking lines? This was probably the thinking that led to the development of Power over Ethernet (PoE).

PoE seems to have gathered momentum lately with IP telephony kicking in, which might explain why there are quite a few articles and products out there looking at combining these two technologies.

PoE is useful, for example, when it comes to powering small appliances like IP cameras and desk telephones. Instead of having several cables running here and there and everywhere, it is more economical and reliable to have just one cable perform both functions; either power cable or network cable.

However, unlike Power Line Communication, which we saw previously, PoE is geared towards the corporate world with prices beyond the reach of average consumers.

“Cable-Less” cabled devices, as Linksys calls one of its products, will probably appeal more to companies and firms which want the flexibility of cabling and the appeal of wireless.

As always do a thorough TCO analysis before jumping on the bandwagon. But getting it right has the potential to save you a bundle and, depending on your existing infrastructure (e.g. if your offices are in an already networked building), will make expansion a painless task.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.