Long-reach PoE is stretching cable distances beyond the classic PoE 100m, and it’s also stretching cable choice. Twisted pair—Cat 5e, most prevalent from earlier installs, and Cat 6—no longer needs to be the only choice.
Existing coax and new installations of fiber also offer infrastructure compatible with present day PoE money-saving solutions.
Using extender kits and converter technologies, designers, installers, and IT admins are deploying long reach to achieve these longer cable distances.
What benefits is long reach bringing to the deployments?
- Fewer switches staged farther apart
- Emphasis shifting to quality, not quantity; better devices handle bigger loads
- IT closet and server room real estate recaptured for other use
Designers and manufacturers have begun adapting switch designs to respond to the move toward hybrid approach to Ethernet networks. This article discusses what is changing with long-reach PoE.
1. Fewer switches required in a network
Because Ethernet power can reach further, you don’t need so many “stops” along the way. Switches can be spaced farther apart to reach the same devices in far reaching networks.
One important reason for having fewer devices is to lessen the burden of network management. Through the introduction of other cabling options, signals are carrying farther [extended to 2k for multi-mode fiber, and up to 120k for single-mode fiber or WDM fiber].
Even with copper, long-reach PoE is achieving distances of 200m [with PoE+ output (656 feet)], 400m [with PoE output (1,312 feet)], and 1200m [with 0 PoE output (3,937 feet)] without the need for additional power.
Networking professionals can actually deploy fewer switches with more ports because, simply put, cables can reach farther.
Ethernet extenders for coax and midspan injectors also maximize distance. Transmission of 30W and 60W camera signals over RG59 coax extends from 100m to 200m. Long reach PoE is ideal for remote installations of IP cameras, wireless access points, digital signage, kiosks, thin clients, and sensors.
2. More purchasing budget per device
The same amount of budget can stretch a lot further when you have fewer switches to maintain. And because you’re combining loads, you’re going to want a better quality switch.
Because fewer switches are needed, IT decision makers can take the same money and invest in better equipment. High-quality managed switches with larger capacity and more ports make sense in this type of deployment. Choosing a 16-port makes more sense than an 8-port when combining far-flung LANs on campus, in an office complex, a residential complex, or manufacturing facility.
NOTE: Power consumption loads will need to be considered, i.e. 30W and 60W per port. Look at the overall power ratings of the switch, not just at port level. It’s always better to leave a little room at the top and not overtax the switch.
3. Expanding on-switch features
To expedite the oversight of remotely located switches, monitoring them at one central point becomes critical for 100% network uptimes. Managed switches, at least one primary per switching location, are an essential tool.
Switches like the LRP-1622CS are equipped with a built-in Web-based management interface. This one is platform-independent, meaning the switch can be managed via any standard management software.
The switch can be accessed through Telnet and the console port, for text-based management.
Security features include remote management by supporting SSH, SSL and SNMP v3 connections which encrypt the packet content at each session.
That also means that built-in port-level converters have become mainstream for both managed and unmanaged switches.
4. Less network to manage
Topology features on your monitoring software lets you have a quickview of all network connections.
Fewer well-placed switches to monitor and control helps simplify matters for super-busy IT admins. We always want to have redundancy measures in place, but not necessarily in the same city. Cloud storage and backup in different geographical locations has proving the best solution to protect critical data.
5. Repurposing of former IT real estate
Reducing the number of closets also reduces the amount of heat generated and cooling required. Not much else needs to be said here. Having more room for offices, common spaces and labs will take the pressure off employees.
Fewer switch locations lessens the need for supporting physical, electrical, power and security infrastructure. That translates to fewer equipment rooms and closets, UPS units, door controls, racks, and patch panels.
Because we’re sending power over longer distances our networks have taken on a new flexibility. We’re no longer controlled by the type of legacy cable we find in a building’s architecture. As in the datacenter, hyperconvergence simplifies integration, so long reach is streamlining cable choice and integration. The IoT is after all about connect devices.
Hybridized networks through the re-use of Cat5e, coax and fiber is the way of the near future through long reach PoE deployments.
We’d love to hear about long-reach challenges you’re seeing, and any fixes you’ve come up with. As always, thanks for stopping by. Follow PLANET on Twitter.