Beginner’s Guide to PoE InjectorsRita Mailheau
Okay. Let’s be honest with one another. It’s summertime and the fun’s just getting started.
The last thing you want to do, is sit in front of your computer and do research. But by the same token, it’s important to be sure your networks are well-equipped and optimized to allow you some of that desperately needed R&R.
We all know how frustrating it is to get called out of a vacation day to fix a downed network. Let’s not dwell on it!
As you’re most certainly aware, picking the right equipment is a crucial first step to building any network. PoE equipment can be particularly complicated, so today we’re going to cover the basics in this guide to PoE injectors.
What exactly do they do? What specifications should you be looking at? How much should you budget? We’ll get there, stick with me!
What Are PoE Injectors Good For?
A Power over Ethernet (PoE) injector provides data and DC power over a twisted pair [Cat5e and Cat6] cable to power and network remote devices.
These devices will vary depending on your network needs, but they typically could include:
- Data Displays
- IP Cameras
- Wireless Access Points
- LED Lighting
- Smart Door locks
In fact, any low power device that needs to be set up in a location without a power outlet can be an excellent use-case for PoE injectors.
One of the main benefits of going with PoE technology is that the install process typically will not require a licensed electrical contractor to be on site. You know what electrical contractors mean right? Expenses!
Speaking of money… what is the average cost of a dedicated outlet installation anyways?
“Nationally, Angie’s List members report spending an average of $183 to install (or replace) a standard electrical outlet.” That’s the average. Add to that the cost of breaking through walls and pulling cables in the attic and your client is beginning start to rack up some serious cost.
PoE installs typically don’t require any of that additional labor. It should thus come as no surprise that everyone involved can save some serious cash when electing to leverage PoE.
Why Injectors Stand-Out to Clients
To most of your clients, two factors will reign supreme when it comes to scoping new hardware installations. Time and money.
Not having to wait on or pay licensed electrical subcontractors can also save you quite a bit of money. Let’s face it, if you don’t have to farm out some of the installation work, you can keep more of the cash for yourself.
Even if you are also a licensed electrician, it can be nice to skip the occasional standard electrical outlet install for one-off remote devices.
As per usual, the type and proposed use of the device will determine if you’ll need to do a full-on power installation.
The bottom line? Efficiency and management of power are driving this industry. Because the cost factors are much more affordable, the number of public and private sector PoE installations is increasing.
Some particularly useful features that PoE connected devices allow include the following:
- Network admins can monitor power consumption
- Smaller footprint, meaning it takes less equipment to get you up and running
- Systems are essentially plug and play
- Power conversion capability from AC to DC while also providing data to remote devices
Industrial PoE injectors/switches are particularly useful in harsh and/or extreme environments where temperature, humidity, noise, pressure, dust and vibration are known to cause equipment failure.
Some ideal places for Industrial PoE installations include the following industries:
- Marine and maritime
- Laboratory and field locations in scientific research
We have customers utilizing our PLANET industrial PoE products in all of the above industries.
In fact, one of our public sector customers recently purchased our PoE switch IGS-5225-4UP1T2S for security surveillance on top of a bridge.
The project required 4 PoE interfaces with fiber uplink to their core network. The size and durability of the switch were also of concern. It had to be able to withstand temperatures of -20 degrees F during winter and 115 degrees F during summer while encased in a non ventilated enclosure.
This is just one of the many situations in which choosing industrial grade network equipment was a no brainer.
If you’re preparing to do an installation that demands this kind of robustness, our engineering team will be happy to assist you in determining the specific models that meet your client environment and configuration needs.
What to Do When Installing Non-PoE Devices
If your customer has a device that is not PoE compatible, or a mixture of compatible and non-compatible devices, don’t worry! This is where PoE splitters can help.
PoE splitters marry power over ethernet networking cable and setups with traditional technologies. Splitters deliver data and DC power through separate connections. They can also be used to bring a 48V DC (PoE) current down to play nice with 5, 12 or 24V DC jacks.
Keep a tester handy
Testers are small, lightweight and can test for 802.3af/at compatibility at the remote end. These little devices are inexpensive and pay for themselves by preventing aggravation for technicians that may need to troubleshoot PoE equipment in tight spaces or while up on a pole.
Think long-term with your installation projects
One question we get from time to time is, “Why opt for the ULTRA?” The answer is easy. It gives you room to grow and future-proofs your installs for longer periods of time.
Ultra PoE 60 watts can fall back to 30 or 15.4 watts. As devices become more advanced, though, they will inevitably consume more power.
Opting for 60 watts gives you room to expand for the future. Nobody wants to find out six months after an installation that they need to reinstall and should have just ponied up for a more powerful model in the first place.
Final Thoughts on What Makes a Great PoE Injector Installation
When you think injectors, you’re really thinking about extension. The goal is to provide the same power over a longer distance by combining cable at the injector.
In short, you’re opening the door to placing remote devices in hard-to-reach areas with a minimal impact on existing structures and your client’s wallet.
The PoE market has continued to grow over the past decade, and shows no sign of slowing down. The technology is developing exponentially, in large part due to increasing demand.
Networking capabilities are rising and the ability to deliver more and more power and data for less money will keep the R&D dollars flowing.
But at the end of the day, sharing our opinion isn’t why we’re here talking about this. We’re covering this because at the end of the day, we care about helping you help your customers.
In the end, customers care about outcomes. Can the installation expand easily to match their growing needs? With PoE, the answer is usually an unequivocal yes.
The Internet of Things is here. You better believe people will be looking to capture every last watt and drop of capacity they can.
If you’d like specific advice about the gear you’re assembling for your next install, feel free to contact us. We love to help.