PoE May Take Bite Out of Networking Costs

As the focus on wireless infrastructures grows, the issue of how to power the devices on those networks will become more of a challenge, both from a cost and an ease of installation standpoint. One way to do that is gaining a lot of interest: Power Over Ethernet (PoE).

Add to the trend to go wireless the new data capture technologies being made available and customer mandates to adopt radio frequency identification (RFID), and you can see why many end users are looking for more efficient ways to move information between back office systems and other areas in their four-wall operations. That's why the market for PoE solutions is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.

According to a recently completed report by Venture Development Corporation, "Power Over Ethernet: A Global Market Demand Analysis," the worldwide shipments of PoE-enabled ports will nearly double each year between 2003 and 2007.

The connection between the growth in wireless solutions and PoE is pretty clear to Gil Bautista, principal of warehouse mobility solutions for Symbol Technologies.

"With the advent of WiFi [wireless fidelity] networks at the consumer and commercial levels, 802.11 has become the networking standard, and companies are moving from traditional narrow band and spread spectrum to 802.11b and eventually to either a or g," he notes. "As we do that, we realize we're populating the ceiling with access points and ports that need to be powered. With narrow band and spread spectrum we'd have base stations up in the sky [ceiling level]. Cabling those with power could cost a pretty penny. And if we wanted to back those up we'd have to have those types of backup systems in place, which would require more electricity and cabling. As the focus on wireless infrastructures grows, the issue of how to power those becomes more of a concern. One way to do that is through PoE."

As new generations of 802.11 product come out, they'll incorporate the necessary board technology to support PoE. This will give consumers another way to reduce the cost associated with powering those devices.

For further information about VDC's study, "Power Over Ethernet: A Global Market Demand Analysis," contact Marc Regberg, vice president, VDC, 508-653-9000 ext. 111, or e-mail him

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