?An array of business devices such as cameras, IP phones and Ethernet clocks use a
technology called Power over Ethernet (PoE) to allow organizations to deploy and
manage them much more easily than older technologies. PoE devices offer a number
of advantages over equipment based on traditional power and communication
Running Ethernet cable to unwired areas of a building is an easy project for either
in-house or outside technicians. The same cannot be said about AC power. Electricity
is dangerous and improperly installed power cables can cause fire, electrocution or
major power failures. Building codes require electricians to make any changes to a
building's AC power supply, and these professionals come with a significant cost.
PoE devices such as commercial ethernet clocks require only a data connection since
the power they need comes over the data cable. It's easier to install and maintain one
cable network than two, and these networks are much easier to set up than electrical
grids. Legacy networks that don't support PoE can be affordably upgraded by
installing midspan devices to supply power.
It seems to be a basic law of architecture that electrical sockets are never where they
are needed. Sockets are mounted low and yet many devices such as clocks need to be
installed high up for greater visibility. Devices are installed near power sources, which
may not be the most efficient locations for the workflow. Long power cables are not
aesthetically pleasing but running electrical lines inside the wall requires an
Ethernet clocks have more options for placement. New data ports are placed wherever
they are needed and multiple ports can be placed throughout the room. The location of
the equipment dictates the location of the wiring rather than the other way around.
PoE devices are positioned for maximum visibility and usability, and network cables
are strung according to that layout.
Electricity off the grid comes in without conditioning, requiring companies to install
surge protectors and battery backups in multiple locations throughout the facility. PoE
power all comes in through the network and can be run through central power devices
before going out on the net. Centralized control means an end to surges and spikes,
and a bank of UPS devices means Ethernet power is maintained even when grid
power goes down.
Ethernet clock systems continue to keep time during power failures and don't need to
be reset when the power comes back on. In the event the outage is long enough to
drain the battery backup, the central time server resets the clocks as soon as the
system comes back up. Ethernet clocks always have the right time, a feature that is
important in any business but especially vital for hospital clocks or other time-critical
Although not every device has a PoE alternative, there is a large array of electronics
that are better served by flexible and dependable Ethernet power than a traditional
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